September 27, 2007

Launch Magazine: Must-Read Article on Cap. Tables

Grow Utah Ventures, an early-stage venture organization here in Utah, released a new regional entrepreneurial magazine about a year ago called Launch Magazine. This magazine is different than most magazines in that it focuses on the very early-stage entrepreneur.

The latest issue features an article on Cap Tables that every entrepreneur should read. Brent Hawkins, an entrepreneur-friendly lawyer (and good friend of mine), writes an excellent article on the nuts and bolts of a capitalization table.

It’s been my experience that most people that are trying to raise money are clueless when it comes to the cap table. I’m no expert, but I was lucky to be able to learn the foundation of cap tables in my Financing New Ventures class at BYU (taught by adjunct Professor Greg Peterson — amazing class).

Make sure you give it a read and you’ll understand why it’s so important to know the details about your cap table before you ever approach an investor.

September 26, 2007

DEMOfall: DimDim is in the house

The standout presentation for me this morning was DimDim.  This is a new web conferencing provider which isn’t exciting in and of itself, but there is something that is exciting about it.  It is free.  Not only is the software free, but their hosted service is free.  The service is built on top of an open source project and has been load tested at 500 users.  This could be a huge disruptor in this space.  Additionally, they are currently building a recording and archiving feature that will be released in the near future.  Other companies in this space need to watch out for this.

Stayin’ Alive

David Cohen made a great point in his webinar a couple of weeks back that is worth a second look.

“Most companies just don’t stay alive long enough to figure out what the heck they’re doing.  Don’t assume you know what you’re doing and go spend a bunch of money.  Spend as little money as you can over time so that you have longer to figure out what you’re doing wrong –  because you’re probably doing something wrong.

  • Have you raised enough money to last you through Version 1 (the version that usually flops) and Version 1.5 (the one that flops less and provides you the capital you need to stay alive until Version 2)?
  • Are you spending money like there won’t be a Version 1.5?  Will you run out before you get there?
  • Do you have a systematic method of gathering information from your customers that will tell you what Version 1.5 should look like?

One of the best ways for your company to stay alive is to be as frugal as humanly possible.  If possible, have your team work from home.  Trade services with lawyers, accountants and other service providers that are crucial to your startup.  Buy used office furniture and equipment.  Do everything you can to avoid spending money.

What else can you do to save money and keep on stayin’ alive?