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February 19, 2016

Gyan Giving on Startup Survival

Anand Sanwal of CB Insights has a tongue-in-cheek template for (US-based) VCs that are out to advise startups on the "importance of conserving cash" and "focusing on turning profitable". Extract:
Part 2 – Package up basic rules of business and sound smart
  • Cash is king – remind people that having money in the bank is important cuz great founders regularly forget this. Talk about living to fight another day.
  • Get to cash flow positive – implore founders to find a way to get to cash flow positive. Pretend that bringing in more cash than you spend is a concept you just invented. 
  • Make hard decisions – tell founders that they may have to make hard decisions about their team and laying off folks. Say things like “you may have to cut some muscle as well as fat” to show that you mean business.
  • Have reasonable valuation expectations – ensure that people know we’re in a brave new world and that valuations have come down and that founders will have to reset their expectations.
  • Talk to investors – whether it is existing investors or new ones, tell founders to start talking to them ASAP and quickly identify who “has their back.”
Part 3 – End positive 
Close by saying things like the below:
  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
  • Taking the above actions will make you a better company
  • Great companies are founded in difficult times 
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