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Perspectives on entrepreneurship, startups and venture capital from K9 Ventures.

Category archives: Startup Life

Seed Is The New A – #PreMoney 2015 Talk

Here is the video recording of the talk I gave at  500 Startups‘ PreMoney Conference in San Francisco on 12 June.  Seed Is The New A: What The Seed-Stage Explosion Means For Founders, GPs & LPs And the deck from my talk Thanks to 500 Startups  #PreMoney     As always I welcome your thoughts […]

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The Seeds Have Changed: An Epilogue

  Note: This is a long post and it’s based on reflecting on a couple of years of observations in the venture industry. It’s a work-in-progress and I expect to update (last update 10 June) and refine the content, especially in the next week as I prepare for a talk I’m giving at the PreMoney […]

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Startup Revenue Milestones

At K9 we invest in companies which have a clear/direct revenue model and typically don’t invest in companies that follow the Ubiquity first Revenue Later (URL) revenue model made famous by Eric Schmidt in 2007. In my discussions with K9 portfolio founders about scaling revenue, I very often end up drawing the same picture:   […]

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Fundraising is for CEOs

  I’ve been on the receiving end of many many pitches by this point both via email and in person. One of the patterns that I have seen is that for pre-seed and seed stage companies (could be for later stages like Series A and B as well, but once a company is mature, some […]

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Solo Co-founders

The title of this post is an oxymoron — but it is intentional as it most succinctly captures the essence of this post. Conventional wisdom in the startup world dictates that two founders are ideal for a startup. There are lots of famous pairs of duo co-founders: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Jerry Yang and […]

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Finding a Problem Worth Solving

  When we started in the PhD program in Computer Science at Stanford, Prof. Rajeev Motwani, who was the “default PhD advisor” for all incoming PhD students told us that our only priority should be to find a research topic that we care about.  In fact, Prof. Motwani was so adamant that this was the […]

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Manu Kumar in discussion with Joe Beninato

Last fall,  Joe Beninato interviewed K9 Ventures founder and Chief Firestarter, Manu Kumar, on his weekly webcast FounderLine Manu talks about the history of K9 Ventures including the origin of the firm’s name. Joe and Manu also talk about K9 Ventures’  investment focus (hint: new technology/new market), investment stage (hint: frighteningly early), teams (hint: need a […]

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If I had a hammer…

If I had a hammer,I’d hammer in the morningI’d hammer in the evening,All over this land. So goes The Hammer Song by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays. Well, most VCs have just one tool in their toolbox. And yes, they use the tool to hammer in the morning and hammer in the evening. That tool […]

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Hope and Numbers

The seed round happens on hope. The Series A happens on a combination of hope and numbers. And the Series B and beyond, happen largely based on numbers.

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On Geography

Put simply: “What happens in Silicon Valley, simply doesn’t happen anywhere else,” and, “If you want to be an actor move to Hollywood.”

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Founder Liquidity

My recommendation is that founders should consider selling between 5%-10% of their stake once a company gets to a high-priced Series B or a Series C.

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Ideas Matter

The idea is the seed. It is the kernel that is the start of something new.
Ideas are powerful because they invade the mind. Once you are introduced to an idea, you cannot get it out of your head.
Ideas are what provide that little twist of ingenuity that can make or break a company.
Sometimes ideas are not revolutionary, but they get the ball rolling and without them, that wouldn’t happened. The best ideas are often simple ones. Maybe that is what a revolutionary idea is — an idea so simple that it sparks a revolution.

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Startups: Just say NO to outsourcing, contracting, and distributed teams

If you are a tech startup, where the technology is your business and not just supporting your business, then you shouldn’t be relying on any outsourcing, contracting, or distributed teams for developing your core product. I believe that the chance of success of a team is an order of magnitude higher when the entire team is local, in one room and working closely with each other. Bottom line: “When you stick a couple of smart people in a room together good things happen”

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The investment that didn’t happen

The story of Modista.com — a young startup that was forced to shutdown before it even really got going because of a patent infringement lawsuit by Like.com.

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#20tweets (updated)

Here are the slides from a talk I gave at a Carnegie Mellon Alumni event in the Bay Area today. #20tweets is tweet-sized advice for founders of tech startups. In the presentation I went into more detail and provided some rationale/anecdotes behind these tweets. For now, here are just the tweets: #20tweets by @manukumar View […]

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My story and support for the Founders Visa

  In the past few days there has been a lot of discussion on the topic of a Founders Visa. The credit for starting this fire goes to Paul Graham from Y Combinator, who wrote a great essay titled The Founders Visa in April 2009. Brad Feld (Brad is an advisor to K9) from the Foundry Group was instrumental in keeping the flame alive by […]

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Tips for TechCrunch50 DemoPit companies

Yesterday, while attending TechCrunch50, I tweeted some tips for the companies presenting at the conference and those participating in the demo pit. By popular demand, I’m aggregating these tweets in a blog post:

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Incorporate ‘yesterday’

Ever since I found the blog Startup Company Lawyer, I’ve had a high regard for its author, Yokum Taku, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Yokum’s posts are always chock-full-of-good-information. His most recent post was on the topic of When do I need to incorporate a company? I’ve spent some time thinking about this before, and, in […]

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Insane Perseverance in the Face of Complete Resistance

  It was 2:00 AM and I was still sitting in ‘The Cave’ — the name we affectionately gave to the cubicles in the bowels of Wean Hall  at Carnegie Mellon. It was called ‘The Cave’ because it’s all under ground, with no natural light portals whatsoever. The cave was kinda like Vegas — once […]

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The Case Against FREE

  I’ll start by admitting up front that the purpose of this post is to hopefully incite a discussion, to start a fire, and to get you, and your startup to think really hard about what your business model should be. The title for this post ‘The Case Against FREE’ is a throwback to Chris Anderson‘s cover […]

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