As always, I’ll start this with the caveat that I promised Bill Lynch, cofounder of Jive, that I wouldn’t just write posts that celebrate funding for the sake of funding. Which is actually more work. (Thanks, Bill.) But in the long run, I’m hoping my bag-full-of-cats startup-history brain full of tangential facts and likely little known context can be helpful in providing a broader picture of why these funding events are important.
Said someone, probably. And thanks to local investor and startup accelerator director Dylan Boyd, there is. It may be incomplete, but it’s likely far better than any list you’ve got going currently. Nearly 2000 folks and firms in the venture capital industry. All talking about what they had for lunch. And probably some VC stuff too.
Last Friday, the New York Times published a piece on the Zebra movement, a movement with Portland roots that highlights any number of things broken about the prevailing venture capital model and its pursuit of unicorns and calls for more rational and accessible means of funding startups.
You can’t swing a dead term sheet without hitting thousands of posts on “how to be a better founder.” Most of which contain largely unusable advice or set unattainable expectations for anyone to adopt. Founder or otherwise.
I’m not one to celebrate financing rounds for the sake of celebrating rounds. But this one had some interesting local flavor. So, stick with me here. Because this will take a minute.
Founders tend to be an optimistic bunch. But optimism can only get you so far. And if you’re looking to pursue venture capital as a means of financing your startup, that optimism is going to take some lumps as you pitch, refine, pitch, refine… Lather rinse repeat. So it’s always nice when that pitch feedback comes with some added perks. Like pizza and beer.
In my opinion, one of the most promising threads in the Portland startup community as of late has been the whole conversation about financing startups. Because not every startup is right for an equity based investment from venture capital. And even if they are, VC brings with it some pressures that can be less than positive for many companies and founders.
With funds raising larger and larger rounds, the economics of cutting smaller checks for seed stage companies get more and more lopsided. And that leaves a gap for the youngest and most vulnerable of companies. That’s why it’s always nice to see folks raising funds specifically targeted at early stage companies. Like Seven Peaks just did.
A couple of years ago, Stephen Green put together an amazing Reverse Pitch event that I got the chance to attend. (If you’re not familiar with the format, a “reverse pitch” is where investors get on stage to describe the types of startups they’re seeking.) During the event, I had the pleasure of hanging out in the audience with a newcomer to the venture capital world who was visiting Portland. Her name? Arlan Hamilton.