Archive for September, 2010

5 Common Mistakes in Pitch Decks

by Scott Edward Walker on September 29th, 2010

Introduction

Pitch Deck

As a corporate lawyer for entrepreneurs, I am often asked to review “pitch decks” or “decks.”  A deck is a collection of PowerPoint slides created by founders to raise funds from investors.  The deck can be sent to investors as a stand-alone document (e.g., via email) or it can be used in conjunction with an in-person presentation.  I am generally happy to give my input with respect to decks — with the caveat that I’m a lawyer, not an investor.  That being said, here are five common mistakes that I often see:

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Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Chris Sacca

by Scott Edward Walker on September 27th, 2010

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we post a short video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics to help entrepreneurs succeed.

This week, we present Chris Sacca, a very smart investor and the founder of Lowercase Capital (courtesy of GigaOm TV), who discusses, among other things, his new fund which buys shares of common stock directly from founders to allow them to take some chips off the table (starting at the 4:36 mark).

Indeed, he briefly discussed the rationale for this approach this morning at TechCrunch Disrupt, citing a recent $20 million exit with four young founders who were able to buy braces and a sport coat for the closing dinner with the proceeds they received.  Finally, to get a true understanding of Chris and his extraordinary passion for helping entrepreneurs, you should read his email response to Ron Conway with respect to so-called “Angelgate.”  Cheers, Scott

Walker Twitter Highlights: September 19th – 25th

by Scott Edward Walker on September 26th, 2010

I’m using Twitter as a form of micro-blogging to share interesting articles, blog posts and podcasts relating to entrepreneurship, startup and corporate law issues, and mergers & acquisitions.

For those of you who missed this week’s Twitter updates, below are my five most popular tweets (via bit.ly) and two most popular blog-related tweets.  If you’d like to see all of my tweets (or an RSS feed of them), you can do so here.  Many thanks, Scott

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Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: You Become What You Think About

by Scott Edward Walker on September 24th, 2010

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Each week, we post a short video clip to inspire and motivate our fellow entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because it’s tough being an entrepreneur; and whether you’re launching your venture, trying to execute your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope this video is a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

Determination via Jessica Livingston

by Scott Edward Walker on September 22nd, 2010

Introduction

I’ve been reading the book Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days written by Jessica Livingston, a co-founder of Y Combinator (a seed-stage venture firm) and a very smart and interesting individual.  The book is a collection of extensive interviews with founders of high-profile technology companies with respect to their earliest days, including Steve Wozniak (Apple), Craig Newmark (Craigslist), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail).  There are many important takeaways and lessons to be learned, but the one that really struck a chord with me (as a former minor-league tennis player and now a corporate lawyer for entrepreneurs) is the importance of determination.

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Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Peter Thiel and Max Levchin

by Scott Edward Walker on September 20th, 2010

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we post a short video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics.

This week, we present (i) Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and a brilliant entrepreneur and investor; and (ii) Max Levchin, also a co-founder of PayPal and another brilliant guy.  In this interesting, five-minute clip (courtesy of Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner), Peter and Max briefly discuss PayPal’s exponential growth, how they dealt with their largest competitor and obtaining funding prior to the market collapse.  I hope you enjoy it.  Many thanks, Scott

Walker Twitter Highlights: September 12th – 18th

by Scott Edward Walker on September 19th, 2010

I’m using Twitter as a form of micro-blogging to share interesting articles, blog posts and podcasts relating to entrepreneurship, startup and corporate law issues, and mergers & acquisitions.

For those of you who missed this week’s Twitter updates, below are my five most popular tweets (via bit.ly) and two most popular blog-related tweets.  If you’d like to see all of my tweets (or an RSS feed of them), you can do so here.  Many thanks, Scott

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Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: How Great I Am

by Scott Edward Walker on September 17th, 2010

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Each week, we post a short video clip to inspire and motivate our fellow entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because it’s fuckn tough being an entrepreneur; and whether you’re launching your venture, trying to execute on your business model or raising funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope this video is a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

How Do I Swim Safely in the VC’s Option Pool?

by Scott Edward Walker on September 15th, 2010

Introduction

This post was originally part of my weekly “Ask the Attorney” series which I am writing for VentureBeat (one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs).  Below is a longer, more comprehensive version.  Please shoot me any questions you may have in the comments section – or feel free to call me directly at 415-979-9998.  Many thanks, Scott

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Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Mika Salmi

by Scott Edward Walker on September 13th, 2010

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we post a short video clip of a successful entrepreneur, investor or business leader on a variety of topics to help entrepreneurs succeed.

This week we present Mika Salmi, a highly-successful serial entrepreneur and the founder of AtomFilms.com, which he sold (together with Shockwave.com) to Viacom in 2006 for $200 million.  In this interesting, two-minute clip (courtesy of GigaOm), Mika discusses two common mistakes entrepreneurs make: (i) failing to execute and (ii) failing to iterate and adapt their original idea.  There are also two additional clips in which Mika discusses Silicon Valley and the issue of “idea stealing.”  I hope you enjoy it.  Many thanks, Scott

Walker Twitter Highlights: September 5th – 11th

by Scott Edward Walker on September 12th, 2010

I’m using Twitter as a form of micro-blogging to share interesting articles, blog posts and podcasts relating to entrepreneurship, startup and corporate law issues, and mergers & acquisitions.

For those of you who missed this week’s Twitter updates, below are my five most popular tweets (via bit.ly) and two most popular blog-related tweets.  If you’d like to see all of my tweets (or an RSS feed of them), you can do so here.  Many thanks, Scott

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Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: How Badly Do You Want It?

by Scott Edward Walker on September 10th, 2010

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Each week, we post a short video clip to inspire and motivate our fellow entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because it’s fuckn tough being an entrepreneur; and whether you’re launching your venture, trying to execute your business model or trying to raise funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope this video is a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

Dear Entrepreneurs: Choose Your Own Legal Counsel

by Scott Edward Walker on September 8th, 2010

Introduction

The purpose of this post is expand upon my answer to the question on Quora:

“What should you do as a startup when a Bay Area VC insists that you use their expensive legal counsel?”

Mark Suster, a VC at GRP Partners, has also written and spoken about how he likes to “share” his legal counsel with the startup in which he is investing.  My advice to entrepreneurs is clear: push back hard on this issue and choose your own strong, independent legal counsel – i.e., a law firm that’s going to work hard to protect you and watch your back.

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Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed: Ron Conway and Mike Maples

by Scott Edward Walker on September 6th, 2010

To Our Clients & Friends: Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Helping Entrepreneurs Succeed.”  Each week, we post a short video clip of successful entrepreneurs, investors or business leaders on a variety of topics to help entrepreneurs succeed.

This week, we present legendary angel investor Ron Conway (commonly referred to as the “Godfather of Silicon Valley”) and super angel Mike Maples (managing partner of Floodgate).  In this interesting, three-minute clip (courtesy of Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner), Ron and Mike provide strong, practical advice to startups, including the importance of (i) a low burn rate, (ii) a “lean, mean” team and (iii) a customer development strategy.  I hope you enjoy it.  Many thanks, Scott

Walker Twitter Highlights: August 29th – September 4th

by Scott Edward Walker on September 5th, 2010

I’m using Twitter as a form of micro-blogging to share interesting articles, blog posts and podcasts relating to entrepreneurship, startup and corporate law issues, and mergers & acquisitions.

For those of you who missed this week’s Twitter updates, below are my five most popular tweets (via bit.ly) and two most popular blog-related tweets.  If you’d like to see all of my tweets (or an RSS feed of them), you can do so here.  Many thanks, Scott

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Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs: “The Call of the Entrepreneur”

by Scott Edward Walker on September 3rd, 2010

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.  Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Welcome to our weekly series entitled “Motivational Clips for Entrepreneurs.”  Each week, we post a short video clip to inspire and motivate our fellow entrepreneurs.  Why?  Because it’s fuckn tough being an entrepreneur; and whether you’re launching your venture, trying to execute your business model or trying to raise funds, you need a little juice to help you push the ball forward.  I hope these videos are a little juice.  Cheers, Scott

How Do I Value My Startup?

by Scott Edward Walker on September 1st, 2010

Introduction

This post was originally part of my weekly “Ask the Attorney” series which I am writing for VentureBeat (one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs).  Please shoot me any questions you may have in the comments section – or feel free to call me directly at 415-979-9998.  Many thanks, Scott

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