Finding Angels and VCs

I think LinkedIn.com is one of the best ways to find angel investors in your area. With 3.5 million members, including many investors, this is a great service and a great way to get introduced through a mutual trusted acquaintance. But in addition to LinkedIn.com, I have found value in owning a copy of the 1998 Pratt's Guide to Venture Capital Sources, a 600+ page hard bound book that probably cost about $50. Of course, this edition is almost useless since it is so out of date. There are probably more current editions. Vfinance.com sells a current database of venture firms on CD ROM for $299. It's much harder to find a directory of angel investors, and since they are many times more likely than VCs to fund your startup company, it can be frustrating if you are an entrepreneur looking for potential angel funding. Our solution? Let's all work together to create a free open-access

FundingChina.com

So we decided to launch our first FundingUniverse.com international web site, and thought we would start with China, since there seems to be a little economic activity going on over there these days. :) FundingChina.com is in English for now, and it will be a matching service for entrepreneurs with ideas and angel or VC investors who want to get involved in the Chinese market. Later, hopefully, we'll offer Chinese language versions (although I hear there are over one hundred dialects.)

BusM 457: Blogging Required

Tomorrow my internet marketing class at BYU begins. My father and father-in-law both taught at BYU for 35 years. It is a dream come true for me to be able to teach at this great university. I'll have 45 students, and we'll cover the ins and outs of internet marketing for 16 weeks. I'm planning to require each student to start a blog. This will provide hands-on experience with what is becoming an essential tool in the internet marketing arsenal. At first I was considering having them blog about internet marketing, but this weekend I decided it would be better

How to Get Funding: Traction and Trajectory

Today I decided that in order to be compelling, business plan presentations really need to have two things: traction and trajectory. It's pretty hard to convince anyone, especially an investor who is naturally protective of his/her own money, that your idea will actually work. Entrepreneurs often count their chickens before they hatch. In fact, we count our chickens before we have ever sourced the eggs. We just believe. We just have faith that somehow it will all work out. So we invest time and energy in our idea. Investors aren't "full of faith" like that. Investors have wealth and

Google launches Google Talk; Skype gets aggressive

Since last year we have seen rumors about Google getting into the IM space and into the VOIP space. Today Google launched Google Talk, (here's a news story) an instant messaging client that incorporates voice as well. I searched Google for "Google Talk" and I went to talk.google.com (just a guess) and couldn't find anything. (They haven't pre-programmed their own index for this launch--I wonder how long it will take for them to be #1

Auctioning Consulting Services

It's nearly 3 am, and I'm having one of those sleepless nights, where my mind is racing with new ideas and lists of things I have to do. I know (from experience) that I won't get back to sleep until I've written things down. And while I'm at it, I decided to blog about one of these new ideas. For several months I've been contemplating a shift in my career from pure startup entrepreneur to venture capitalist. I've been studying the history of venture capital and have learned that many of the pioneers of the industry and many of the leading VCs today don't just look for deals, but they create them. They help form companies, generate business plans, recruit management, and act in many ways like founders--they just don't often run the companies. This appeals to me a great deal. In fact, it is really what I've been

Business Model for Blogging

Jason Calacanis of Weblogs, Inc., one of the few entrepreneurs to attempt to build a business around by aggregating and paying bloggers, posted the best article I've seen to date on how Google AdSense can support a content company. Last September, he says, who would have thought that they could generate $1 million in revenue without hiring a single sales person. Now they are generating as much as $2,000 per day from AdSense ads. Google, with their generous revenue sharing for content partners, will

Money Looking for a Team

You always hear about how much venture capital is out there, and that there is more capital than there are good ideas or good teams. Business 2.0, one of my favorite magazines, just interviewed 11 VCs to discover which idea they are most anxious to invest in right now, if only they can find a team to execute on it. Someone emailed this article to me and suggested that we could implement something like this on FundingUniverse.com, so that angel investors could list the ideas that they are hoping to be able to fund. I love this idea, and we're going to experiment with it right away.

How to Have an Overnight Internet Success

My brother Curt, founder of Folio Corp, former CEO of MyFamily.com, and current CEO of Agilix, a venture-backed company, is fond of saying telling how his company was going to be an overnight success...after 10 years of hard work. I believe that the single most important key to success in an online venture is doing the little things day after day for years and years until you magically reach the tipping point and everyone seems to have heard of you. In other words, persistence is required for most successful ventures. The reason that I love daily metrics -- keeping track of all the key operating statistics in your company day after day -- is that daily metrics tell me if we are persisting in something that is hopeless, or if we are persisting in something that is bound to reach the tipping point and bring us the success that we hope for. For example, when we launched Ancestry.com's subscription service in