A memo to venture capitalists looking to invest in pre-seed and seed stage startups
“Taking an L,” is popular slang generally used to describe a major loss in some sort of competition. In this case, I’d like to expand the meaning of “taking an L” to include all cases in which a person’s hopes and expectations were not met in a largely considerable way. The way I see it, one can ‘take an L’ in their career, relationships, finances, and just about every other area of their lives.
Those who have ‘taken an L’ in their lives — and bounced…
How data science can both ameliorate and exacerbate the effects of bias in VC
When you hear the word bias, what comes to mind? A quick google search of the term “bias” yielded some interesting results. Synonyms include words such as partial, influence, partisan, and skewed. Other related terms were much more extreme, including words like prejudice, discriminatory, racist, distorted, and twisted. Yikes!
The opposite of bias included words such as impartial and fair.
How is bias defined in the world of business? Investopedia defines bias as
…an irrational assumption or belief that warps the ability to make a decision…
It may sound silly, but it’s a great warm-up. Get two sets of post-it notes. On one set, write down names of innovative companies with a niche business model. Examples include Airbnb, Uber, OpenTable, Tinder, and Venmo. Fold the notes and put them in a bowl.
On another set of post-it notes, write down random nouns that relate to people and places. Examples include dogs, schools, introverts, grandmas, and hospitals. Place them in another bowl. I’m sure you see where this is going!
Shake both bowls and pick out one note from each bowl. …
This memo is broken up into three arguments:
My first argument is why venture capitalists (VCs), should stop chasing disruptive unicorns.
My second argument is why VCs should still look for them.
My last argument is how VCs can use data science to maximize returns on a portfolio, applying principles from the first two arguments.
Let’s get started!
Startup unicorns are ones in which the company has a valuation of at least 1 billion dollars. Such companies are termed unicorns because there are few and far between. …
Merriam Webster defines intuition as “a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence: a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.”
Some people call it a sixth sense. Others use it interchangeably with “gut feeling.” Examples of intuition in a person’s daily life might look like this:
Boarding a plane and having a strong feeling that you know someone whose luggage is in the same bin.
Feeling suspicious about someone’s true intentions, despite no evidence of untoward behavior.
Thinking about calling a friend, then…