While preparing for my Keynote next Tuesday at #FSMU, I almost want to change the title to "Stress Test, Surviving Silicon Valley". Startups are hard enough without all the strange stuff Silicon Valley tosses at you. I presented to a white-shoe venture fund a couple of weeks ago. They’ve invested in several social media companies and loved what we are doing here at FohBoh. They loved our business model, how we’ve evolved a social media insights and web analytics company, our products and services we offer, our strategy, the communities we’ve built and overall direction. What they didn't like was our domain expertise. Sorry, but we have a lot of Foodservice domain experience. Silly me thought that was valuable, since we are a Foodservice social media company, and all? I am never amazed at what they’ll hurl at you.


NYC is way different than Sandhill Road and it shows. I'll talk a little about that next Tuesday as well. Simply, it falls into two categories: apps versus businesses, digital media versus social networking and attitude. It's really interesting how venture finance works. My background is private equity and VC's probably don’t like the fact that they are really just an asset class of private equity. It seems like just by saying that reduces their value and puts them on the defensive. But, truth be told, there can be a lot of value to having a venture capital investor, potentially. As long as they remember that they are not entrepreneurs. Why? Most VC's suck at being entrepreneurs and most don’t have experience actually starting a company unless they became a VC after the fact. Most do bring significant experience in business because they are in the game. Being on boards, participating in early-stage business matters, corporate development, access to resources (like accessing LinkedIn or even FohBoh) and may also be active in strategic planning. These all have relevance and you pay for this value add. Finding a VC match takes effort and an enormous amount of time. Basically running a start up and raising capital at the same time is an oxymoron. One will suffer. And, you have time against you.


Maybe this was just a tough few weeks. Summer is coming to a close; kids back at school, Labor Day and lazy days and OMG, pumpkins at Walgreens! Really? Ok, I digress. Let me get out my corporate finance calendar. Private equity shuts down between November 15th and January 15th. Interestingly, they also shut down in August. So, if you are to properly finance your company between now and then (January 2011) you really have just 57 days from #FSMU. Or, wait until March. This is the Silicon Valley Stress Test that requires tenacity, temerity and mental toughness to win.


Views: 170

Tags: FohBoh, Start-ups, Startups, sillicon Valley


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Michael L. Atkinson on October 6, 2011 at 8:57am

Thanks for the comments! Just now able to reconnect after FSMU...what a great time.


Yeah, it's part of the drill, this fund raising thing. Just had a meeting with a VC Catalyst...a sort of venture coach with purportedly good contacts with the "A" Firms on Sandhill Road. It was an interesting meeting and he was brutally honest. That alone gave him creds. His big message to me was our growth vision (ruling the planet) needs to be presented before our current strategy (owning a vertical, like Foodservice social media). According to Art, we are thinking too small, after all Foodservice only has a $1.7 trillion economic impact and employes more than 1:10 people in the US...twice the size of tech. So, ok, I guess I need a shot of confidence and "focus" is less important today than say, the last VC meeting I had.


Norbert, thanks for the link. Very good article on a well seasoned entrepreneur.


Ivan, let me know how it goes for you!


Libby, as always, you amaze me with your tenacity...a solid attribute for a successful entrepreneur.

Comment by Libby Tucker-beer2buds/promobomb on September 16, 2011 at 2:42pm
I second the oxymoron, it's tough! - re. trying to balance raising funds while focusing attention on bringing in sales and revenue.  2 full time jobs.
Comment by Norbert Marrale on September 15, 2011 at 11:17am

Both of you (Ivan & Michael) should take a look at Rand Fishkin's recent blog post: Misadventures in VC Funding http://randfishkin.com/blog/128/misadventures-venture-capital-funding


Norbert - DineMonkey.com

Comment by Ivan Collins on September 14, 2011 at 5:38am
Interesting Michael.  We're actually raising money at the moment and I've been working on slide decks and pitching to crowds of VC scouts.  OK, just one crowd so far, but I feel ya.  Heading to NYC in an hour to get a fresh round of signups there and then dashing back for another round of pitches.  The whole thing feels like a major distraction to the major rollout we're releasing tomorrow that adds a gaming layer to reservations.  Now you're telling me I have 57 days left and wonder if NYC client dash is a major distraction to raising money.  It feels like juggling cats trying to keep the priorities in focus.  Good luck with yours:)




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service