How to Get Great Shareholders in Your Company


If you have ever received multiple rounds of outside investment into your business, you will have realized that not all investors are equal. Some shareholders are supportive partners who have good advice, and go out of their way to make introductions and help your business. Others are always hassling you, and force you to waste your time dealing with them and justifying your business decisions, rather than letting you run […]

Getting a Yes in your Investor Presentation

When I first started work as a management consultant (yes, I have a sordid past), I was taught how to give good presentations. One very important rule they hammered home was the importance of making sure that the first few slides in your presentation were completely factual statements that nobody could disagree with. For instance, you wouldn’t say “Client is 50% underweight in the big box retailer market”. You would […]

5 steps to maximise your chances of an investor introduction


Venture capitalists and angel investors typically invest in less than 1 in 100 of the companies they look at, so they spend their days saying ‘no’ to companies.. They also have to have a quick filter to decide no. They can’t waste a lot of brain cycles thinking deeply about every reject: they need to focus on the winners. So rejections come fast and furious. Getting an introduction means the entrepreneur convinced someone […]

The Angel Investor Casino – A CEO’s Ultimate Temptation

Angel Investor Casino

As a CEO, when you raise follow-on funding you often must decide what do with your angel investors. Many CEOs decide not to keep their initial commitment to their angels, falsely assuming it is both the only, and the accepted, option. Such CEOs don’t consider the very real and significant consequences of this decision. Today, we explain why CEOs, as the ultimate decision-making authorities, believe they don’t have a choice in […]

Venture capital is booming … for a hundred companies

There was a great post recently by Fred Wilson, who is much smarter about venture capital than I am. He debunked the idea that the apparent boom in venture capital (total investments were up 60% in 2014) is anything that you should get excited about: “Round sizes have gone up and burn rates have gone up, but so much of this is limited to a hundred or a couple hundred […]

A $50M acquisition gave $0 to the founder

I have posted a number of times in the past on how the most important element of any funding package is the deal terms. That deal terms are what you should be negotiating, not the valuation. And how if an investor wants to give you anything other than common shares, no matter how ‘normal’ they say it is – or how excited you are about your business – that you […]

Venture capital summed up

Every wonder why venture capitalists really aren’t interested in ‘early stage innovative companies’ (i.e., you)? This gem of an explanation comes from Jerry Neumann‘s blog: “If your venture fund didn’t invest in one of the most successful companies of your era you were not one of the top venture funds … So you try to invest in unicorns. The easy way to do this is to have the expertise, the […]

Entrepreneurs do crazy things, for a good reason

Small, entrepreneurial companies make the kind of agile and reflexive decisions that large companies can’t or won’t, and in fact, may fire managers for. IncMind recently did just that, launching a new company landing page with little more than three days of work in preparation. On Monday, we had one branding strategy and image, and by Wednesday, we had another. This kind of strategic quick turnaround is unheard of in […]

7 Presentation Secrets all Great CEOs Know

I gave a talk at Founder Institute Toronto earlier this week, on the 7 presentation secrets that all great CEOs know. I know these secrets through a 15 year career of pitching for investment, which has resulted in my raising funds from over 50 different investors (I also had lots of rejections to learn from). Many of these ‘secrets’ are based on simple human psychology: presenting things in a way […]

Why All Angel Investments Should be in Common Shares

I read David Rose’s book on angel investing during a recent holiday. It does an excellent job of explaining how professional angel investors (should) think. For those who don’t know, David is the founder of New York Angels, and is one of the world’s best known angel investors. However, David, like many professional investors, makes one major mistake in his chapter on deal terms. He specifies two ways for angel […]