VC Disruption: How to Build a Next Generation Venture Firm?

Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder of BootstrapLabs, and I have been on a quest to build a new kind of venture investment firm in the cradle of where it all started 50+ years ago; Silicon Valley.

For background, Nicolai Wadstrom is a Swedish born serial entrepreneur that started building technology companies in his teens. He built a Hacker Academy (to mess around with Silicon Graphic machines in the 90s) before the term was considered “cool”, took one of his companies public and angel invested actively in Europe before founding BootstrapLabs in Silicon Valley five years ago. Born and educated in France, I moved to San Francisco in 1998 and spent half of my working life helping entrepreneurs finance, acquire and sell companies. The other half I ventured on the entrepreneurial side and built two tech start-ups in the mist of recessions (first in 2001 and then in 2008) that still achieved successful early exits. I joined BootstrapLabs and Nicolai over 2 years ago and together we have been strengthening and scaling the foundation of what I believe will become a blue print for venture investing in a globalizing world!

I recently read a few posts that perfectly outlined and validated the trends and model we have been refining at BootstrapLabs over the past few years. One was from Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures on “The Changing Structure of the VC Industry“, the second was by Jason Calacanis of Launch Media on “Syndicates Power“, another one was “7 Reasons why Angel Investing became serious Finance” by Christopher Mirabile of Inc. Magazine and the last one was by Brad Feld of Foundry Group on the recent launch of their FG Angels Syndicates Fund II, a fund dedicated to invest additional capital as a FG Angels Syndicate member and allow investors to passively build a diversified portfolio of 15 startups, without management fees (but carry from FG Angels syndicate itself and AngelList).

BootstrapLabs Global Venture Investing Model
To over simplify,  BootstrapLabs believes that fund managers need to invest early in exciting (technology) startups and teams, be hands-on and add value (not talking about board seats here), create double and even triple-down investment vehicles to invest above and beyond pro-rata rights into the outliers and give a right of first refusal to those that took the risk alongside you in the early days. Below is a chart that describe our model at a high level (click chart to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 9.00.27 PM

 

Why Equity Pools vs Micro Funds?
In our model, the early stage investment vehicles are called Equity Pools because they literally “pull” the equity purchased with cash with the sweat equity BootstrapLabs is earning for the 12 month of hands-on/value-add work it does with all its portfolio companies. The Equity Pool invests approximately $100K per startup and creates diversified portfolio of promising tech startups for investors – at a fraction of the cost it would take them to do it on their own (if even possible) and creates leverage on each dollar invested by contributing extra sweat equity. With little to no management fees, our success is rewarded by the carry we take on the Equity Pools. What is interesting about these Equity Pools is that they are  small and can be deployed within 12-18 months. Lastly and most importantly, investors in the Equity Pools have a right of first refusal in each of the subsequent Equity Pools as well as the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPVs) – double and triple down funds – established to further fund the outliers that emerge out of said Equity Pool investments. This kind of flexible investment structure allows BootstrapLabs to iterate quickly and adapt the terms and size of these Equity Pools or Single Purpose Vehicles based on the market latest trends and conditions.

Investor Profile
As outlined in Mark Suster’s blog post, traditional LP investors in venture capital funds have struggled to keep up with the recent changes in the industry. Justifying investing in smaller or micro venture funds remains challenging, usually costs extra fees (e.g., fund-of-funds or intermediaries) and might ultimately not move the needle for them, no matter how good the returns are, if they are managing billions of dollars. Yet, these early stage investment vehicles are an exciting place for accredited investors and family offices to play, especially if they have deeper pockets and can participate in follow-on funding in the outliers. At BootstrapLabs, our Equity Pool investors have for the most part been experienced technology entrepreneurs and angels that understand the disruption and opportunity at hand, but also understand the importance of having professionally managed, diversified portfolio of technology startups if they are to increase their changes of success/positive returns over time.

To some extend, angel investing is  still in its early days and we are just starting to see standard and well accepted portfolio theories being applied to early stage investing  (e.g., FG Angel Syndicate Fund II or BootstrapLabs Equity Pools), lead by professional managers with operational experience and mostly incentivized by overall investments performance rather than total assets under management.

Another benefit of working with such investors is that it allows BootstrapLabs and the founders of its portfolio companies to tap their brains and network. Talk about capital with benefits! Ultimately the money is not the value…it is just the fuel. Good entrepreneurs and startups will always find ways to attract capital (if necessary), especially at the beginning (it usually gets harder over time as expectations need to turn to realizations), but the advise, experience, know-how, relationships and support that comes along with the cash is the true value for entrepreneurs.

One Word on Globalization
Because BootstrapLabs focuses on discovering early stage innovation globally, we spend a great deal of time thinking about how we can scale our model around the world, quickly and efficiently, stay flexible, be smart at the edges as well as at the core, and always be in a position to add value. We believe the model we have outlined above is one that can quickly be  launched and replicated in various geographic areas and, when combined with BootstrapLabs grass-root network platform and international expansion play-book, will prove to be a critical asset in being able to compete, and win, in a globalizing world.

Innovator’s Dilemma: White Canvas Please!
You often hear VCs tell entrepreneurs: “if you think fundraising for a startup is hard, try fundraising for a VC fund!” I would add, try fundraising for a first time, next generation venture fund with first time managers! But as we all know, nothing really worthwhile doing is easy and when looking back at this in a few years, we will hopefully consider the fact that neither Nicolai or I have had traditional VC experience or pre-existing relationships with traditional LPs a blessing in the sky that allowed us to focus on pure patterns and data collection, rather than inner bias or external lobby.

Catch BootstrapLabs Founder @ Incubate 2014 – Woodside Sep 12, 2014

Incubate is the first conference dedicated to early founders and their choices of a Springboard.

  • LEARN: directly from the Valley’s best Angels, Incubators, Accelerators, and VCs about the early stage choices for your next venture.
  • PITCH: all founders get their shot at pitching VCs like Greylock Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Spark Capital, and more.
  • NETWORK: with top entrepreneurs who have gone through the early stage and lived to tell about it, plus others just like you.

You will be joining BootstrapLabs’ founder Nicolai Wadstrom, Geoff Ralston of Y-Combinator , Dave McClure of 500Startups, Peter Relan of 9+, Cameron Teitelman of StartX, Doug Renert of Tandem Capital, Bill Gross of IdeaLab and more!

Save your seat here!

BeGlobal – San Francisco Sep 12, 2014

begloballogoJoin our friends at beGLOBAL for the annual Global Tech Conference with a Korean touch. Organized by the organizers of beLAUNCH, the top startup conference in Korea, beGLOBAL brings together the best of Tech from the East and West.

  • Learn who the Unicorns of Korea/Asia are, their origins and how they grew to billion dollar + businesses
  • Be inspired by global founders, and their amazing entrepreneurial stories
  • Discover how to overcome the challenges to successful entry to Asian markets
  • Understand why it can be beneficial to go global early, and gain practical knowledge of how to do it
  • Find out how to capitalize early on emerging investment opportunities in Asia
  • Meet 10 of the hottest startups from Korea

Friends of BootstrapLabs sign up here for a 30 % discount using code BootstrapLabs-30.

https://beglobal2014.eventbrite.com/?discount=BootstrapLabs-30

CTIA – The Wireless Association® Selects BootstrapLabs as Mobile Community Leader to Source Innovation Globally

CTIA LogoBootstrapLabs

 

We are proud to announce that CTIA – The Wireless Association® has selected BootstrapLabs to join its exclusive club of Mobile Community Leaders in an effort to source global innovation and help shape its new CTIA Startup Lab initiative featuring 40 of the most exciting seed and growth-stages technology startups for its inaugural class during  Super Mobility Week, September 9-11, 2014 at the Sands  Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The 40 finalists were chosen by the CTIA Investor Panel comprised of judges from Blumberg Capital, Caten McGuire, Cooley LLP, Docomo Capital, Ericsson, Fortify Ventures, Honda, Intel Capital, Khosla VenturesLG Electronics Mobile, mBlox, Orange Labs, Samsung, Sony Growth Ventures and Innovation, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Incredibly, not one but two portfolio companies of BootstrapLabs, Smartsy (Sunnyvale), a mobile application that drives mobile commerce and engagement through computer vision and Shoppertise (Kuala Lumpur), a mobile e-commerce platform making selling like a pro as easy as snap, share and sell, have made the short list and will receive VIP treatment at Super Mobility Week. Perks will include access to inspirational talks, complimentary booths, press access, investor and senior executive concierge service, VIP reception access and public pitching.

“BootstrapLabs input and feedback have been extremely helpful through the design phase of our CTIA Startup Lab program and we are excited to gain access to their high quality global deal flow going forward. Wireless is truly taking the world by storm and it is increasingly important for our members to track innovation taking place outside of our borders” said Heather Blanchard, Director Wireless Internet Development, CTIA – the Wireless Association®

We wish them both tremendous success and look forward to continue bringing exciting technology companies to CTIA Startup Lab and Super Mobility Week for years to come.

The official CTIA Press Release can be found here.

 

About CTIA – The Wireless Association
CTIA-The Wireless Association® is an international nonprofit membership organization that has represented the wireless communications industry since 1984. Membership in the association includes wireless carriers and their suppliers, as well as providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products. Member companies include the likes of AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, Intel, Apple, Google, LG Electronics, Samsung and many others industry leading corporations.

BootstrapLabs launches SV In.Fusion: a 2 Week Startup Bootcamp for Foreign Founders

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At BootstrapLabs we believe “Silicon Valley can not be replicated but its culture and best practices can be taught”.

As such, we felt it was important for BootstrapLabs to invest in education and are pleased to announce the launch of SV In.Fusion, a 2 week startup bootcamp in Silicon Valley, specifically tailored for foreign founders.

This entrepreneur for entrepreneur educational program is focused on delivering the core skills, hands-on experience and hacks Silicon Valley founders use every day to build lean, mean and successful startups.

If you are a rockstar in your domain of expertise and feel like mentoring our SV In.Fusion founders,  APPLY TO BECOME A MENTOR.

If you know people that should know about this program, please feel free to share this announcement and have them contact the SV In.Fusion team at team@svinfusion.com.

The next SV In.Fusion Bootcamp will start September 8, 2014! FOUNDERS APPLY HERE.

Please like SV In.Fusion on Facebook or follow SV In.Fusion on Twitter to stay in touch with the latest news.

BootstrapLabs Welcomes Jeff Hoffman on its Advisory Board

jeff-hoffmanSan Francisco, California — Silicon Valley-based BootstrapLabs, a global accelerator for foreign technology startups, today announced that Jeff Hoffman, Founding team member of the Priceline.com group of companies and serial global technology entrepreneur, has joined its Advisory Board.

Over the past 2 years, Jeff has spent the majority of his time supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses on a global basis, serving on the global advisory boards of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the US State Department’s GIST program (Global Innovation through Science and Technology), the APEC Startup Initiative (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), and many others. He works with the White House, the State Department, USAID, and similar organizations internationally on economic growth initiatives and entrepreneurship programs. His activities have supported entrepreneurs in over 130 countries.

Jeff is a frequent keynote speaker, invited to speak in over 50 countries. He speaks on the topics of innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership, and will be publishing a book on how to scale a business, in the summer of 2014. Jeff also teaches innovation workshops to major corporations on a regular basis.

Jeff is a featured business expert seen on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CNN International, Bloomberg News, CNBC, ABC, and NPR, and in publications including Forbes, Inc., Time, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and others.

Jeff received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the national CEO council for his contributions to the field of entrepreneurship, as well as receiving the 2012 Champion of Entrepreneurship Award from JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Rising Tide Capital.

Outside of the world of technology, Jeff has produced movies in Hollywood, has produced musical events including concerts, tours, and charity events with such artists as Elton John, Britney Spears, NSYNC, and others, and serves on numerous charity and non-profit boards.

“Jeff’s current life mission and BootstrapLabs core vision are incredibly aligned and together we can further discover, educate and empower talented entrepreneurs around the world. Jeff is one of those rare individuals that has built and scaled businesses from the ground up to truly global businesses and his experience as well as relationships will be invaluable to BootstrapLabs and our portfolio companies going forward” said Benjamin Levy, Co-Founder of BootstrapLabs.

“I have spent the last two years traveling non-stop around the world to meet and support entrepreneurs, and I can tell you, I am impressed with the level of talent, drive, passion and innovation I have seen in some of the most remote places. I decided a few years ago to launch entrepreneurs rather than launching new companies because over the lifetime of an entrepreneur, he or she might have 2 or 3 break-through ideas that will truly change the world. It was obvious to me when I met Nicolai and Benjamin that they too are passionate and driven entrepreneurs that deeply care about other entrepreneurs. BootstrapLabs is a unique catalyst to empower the talent I have witness around the world and I am excited to work closely with the founders of BootstrapLabs going forward as they spread their wings across the globe”, said Jeff Hoffman.

“I founded BootstrapLabs with the notion that smart Entrepreneurs are everywhere on our planet, but the ability to apply their talent is not – which is the very reason why our reach needs to be global. Having Jeff Hoffman, who shares our view of the world to join us on this mission is very exciting. He will be a tremendous resource for BootstrapLabs as we continue our journey to become a global force of change by empowering entrepreneurs from every corner of our planet.” said Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder of BootstrapLabs.

Jeff Hoffman will join Rikard Steiber, Chief Digital Officer at Modern Times Group and former Global Marketing Director of Mobile and Social Advertising at Google, Ariel Poler, active Silicon Valley Angel Investor, Founder of one of the first web-analytics companies and a pioneer of SMS marketing and Jason Hoffman, VP at Ericsson and Founder of Joyent who all joined BootstrapLabs Braintrust last March.

About BootstrapLabs: BootstrapLabs is a Global Startup Accelerator and hands-on investor in Silicon Valley with a model tailored for foreign born startups. BootstrapLabs focus is on technology startups with global potential and assist them building disruptive companies by relocating to Silicon Valley, while maintaining their roots in their country of origin. Our approach is focused on relationship building and fast execution to accelerate equity value creation. We connect founders to industry thought leaders, strategic partners and smart investors in our network to ensure their long term success. Since 2009, BootstrapLabs has helped foreign startups such asPrezi,  AudioDraft and Zerply connect and relocate to Silicon Valley for good, while maintaining offices in their home countries.

Website: https://bootstraplabs.com

PRESS CONTACTS:
Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder, nicolai@bootstraplabs.com, +1 415 935 1469
Benjamin Levy, Co-Founder, ben@bootstraplabs.com, +1 415 742 1517

 

BootstrapLabs around the world

In the past few weeks, the BootstrapLabs team have been speaking at various events around the world, some highlights:

Arabnet Digital Summit (Dubai)

Benjamin Levy shared the BootstrapLabs story and spoke about how startups in emerging markets are creating grass-roots empowerment for the future of our global economy at Arabnet Digital Summit.

Also don’t miss the interview with Benjamin Levy about BootstrapLabs from the event.

2014 MENA Angel Investor Summit (Bahrain)

Benjamin Levy shared the BootstrapLabs story and gave feedback to startups at the 2014 MENA Angel Investor Summit in Bahrain, and build valuable connections in the regional startup eco-system.

New Factory Open – “Startup killed the Corporate Star” (Finland)

Nicolai Wadstrom shared insights from 20 years of startups, 5 years at BootstrapLabs of bridging startups around the world to Silicon Valley and how corporate R&D and innovation is being disrupted by Startups.

 

Arctic15 – On BootstrapLabs, Corporate innovation & Startup culture in Silicon Valley (Finland)

Nicolai Wadstrom shared the BootstrapLabs story and highlights around cultural differences between Silicon Valley and Europe when it comes to startups and Corporate Innovation.

 

Benjamin Levy in Korea

Keep an eye out for meeting up with BootstrapLabs’ Benjamin Levy in Korea in the next few weeks, he will be in Seoul to meet with potential new startups to bring to Silicon Valley or to go through our accelerator in Korea.

BootstrapLabs – looking for startups around the globe

Great interview with Benjamin Levy from the annual Arabnet Digital Summit in Dubai

Get Inspired – Meet Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress/Automattic in Asia

MMprofileOur friend Matt will be visiting some of the hottest cities of Asia early June: Seoul, Jakarta, Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka and Manila. As most of you know by now, Matt just raised a huge round of financing, clearly putting his company in the $Bn club, and has the ambition that goes with it. As someone recently mentioned to me, “Asia is growth and you can’t afford not to have a growth strategy”. We agree and that is why BootstrapLabs is active in the region with accelerators in Malaysia and Korea.

Seems like this is resonating with Matt too as he will tour Asia in June to announce some new product features aimed specifically at this region and promised to share some of his hard earned wisdom on how to successfully build and scale an open-source, distributed companies globally. Dear Bootstrappers, please lean in and don’t miss the opportunity to meet one of the youngest and most successful tech startup founder of Silicon Valley!

Below is the schedule of cities, date and links to the events:

WP

Enjoy!

 

Make it work, Make it right, Make it scale

Besides launching startups, I have been a software developer for all of my adult life (and more) – likely also something that made me an entrepreneur over 20 years ago. There is one key thing that I applied for the past 15+ years in software development, and that is the core principals of XP (Extreme Programming, which was the foundation of all Agile development methods and frameworks):

  1. Make it work.
  2. Make it right.
  3. Make it fast.

So simple, yet so powerful, when used right. Now serendipity is that this really applies to building a startup (that happen to be product companies for the most part):

  • Make it work – Does it work at all? First make it work, don’t bother about scale, do things that do not scale, get your hands dirty, actually talk to prospective customers. Often you need to be the founder/entrepreneurs to do this well, there is no substitute for knowing intimately what the pain, the problems and the value in the context you are addressing. Often it is quite different from what you first think. Even if it is your 5th startup. Don’t hire sales & marketing just yet. And this is a very Unique kind of Biz Dev work that is need.
  • Make it right – How well does it work? And where does it shine? Now you need some serious BizDev talent, you have a product, you know the pain, people like it, now you just need to make sure they actually start to use it and benefit from it. And what those people look like.
  • Make it scale – Scale it! You know those customers? Nah, we are addressing markets, in other words our product is a perfect fit and adds value to hords of customers at the same time. Now you can really start to grow and more importantly, now you can start to scale, you can also hire top sales people and marketing that run their process, models and you can actually tell all the great hires what your product really does and for whom, now let’s just find them all and make sure they use our product.

When I was writing this thought up today, I decided to link to some people that have valuable insights, such as Steve Blank, and I noticed his book recommendations include some Extreme Programming, and actually was where Eric Ries, found much of the basics for the Lean Startup.

Top Silicon Valley Insiders Join BootstrapLabs Advisory Board

Accelerator program for foreign startups gets boost from top minds
in cloud, mobile, infrastructure and marketing

March 25, 2014, San Francisco, California — Silicon Valley-based BootstrapLabs, a global accelerator for foreign technology startups, today announced that Jason Hoffman, VP at Ericsson and Founder of Joyent, Rikard Steiber, Chief Digital Officer at Modern Times Group and former Global Marketing Director of Mobile and Social Advertising at Google and Ariel Poler, active Silicon Valley Angel Investor, Founder of one of the first web-analytics companies and a pioneer of SMS marketing, have joined its advisory board and will act as BrainTrust to BootstrapLabs and its founders.

The purpose of BootstrapLabs Advisory Board is to assist BootstrapLabs’ founders, Nicolai Wadstrom and Benjamin Levy, expand their reach and influence in all corners of the globe to further allow talented entrepreneurs to join Silicon Valley unrivaled ecosystem to build global companies and accelerating equity value creation for all stakeholders.

BootstrapLabs recently announced a round of growth financing to expand its operations internationally and back more foreign entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to go global.

“BootstrapLabs is a great platform for helping entrepreneurs from outside Silicon Valley leverage everything we’ve learned here about starting and growing technology companies,” said Ariel Poler.

“We think it is good practice to apply the same advice we give to our startups and surround ourselves with deeply connected, smart and globally minded individuals that genuinely care about our endeavor and will help us take it to the next level,” said Benjamin Levy, Partner and Co-Founder of BootstrapLabs.

“As an entrepreneur, founder and operator for 20 years – I know that one of the most important things for a founder is to have smart advisors and stakeholders in your company that contribute their expertise and networks. I am very excited to have some of these visionaries that have been part of building the Silicon Valley eco-system on our advisory team,” said Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder of BootstrapLabs.

Meet the BrainTrust

Jason Hoffman is a VP at Ericsson and is the product and P&L owner (GM) of the Ericsson cloud software, hardware and services business and part of the leadership team in Product Area Core Networks, Business Unit Networks. Prior to that he was a founder and the CTO at Joyent, a pioneering high performance cloud IaaS and software provider, where he ran product, engineering, operations and commercial management for nearly a decade. Jason is also an angel investor, strategy and execution advisor, venture and private equity advisor and on the boards of the WordPress Foundation, npm Inc and New Context, a Digital Garage company. Jason has a BS and MS from UCLA and a PhD from UCSD.

Rikard Steiber is Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President of Modern Times Group Mtg AB since February 4, 2013. Rikard served as a Global Marketing Director of Mobile and Social Advertising at Google Inc., since September 2009. He served as a Director of Product Marketing at Google EMEA since 2007 and previously headed the global ads marketing team. Rikard was a Co-Founder and CEO of XLENT Strategy and Digiscope Consulting in Stockholm and served as its Chief Executive Officer. He was a Co-Founder of Scandinavia Online AB. He started his career with P&G at the telecom giant TeliaSonera. He has been a Director of Cision AB since March 2012. Rikard is an Alumnus of SDA Bocconi and Chalmers University.

Ariel Poler is an entrepreneur, mentor and investor. Ariel was the founder of IPRO, the first web analytics company, Topica, one of the first email communities, and TextMarks, a pioneering provider of SMS marketing services. He was board member of Kana Software, LinkExchange, StumbleUpon and Odeo. Ariel currently serves on the boards of Freedom Financial and Strava. His angel investments include AdMob, Flixster, Slideshare, VivaReal, Optimizely, Mashery, Thumbtack, Viki and NexTag. Ariel holds a B.S. in Mathematics with Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from Stanford University. He is originally from Venezuela and lives in San Francisco with his wife and three children. Ariel is addicted to kitesurfing – particularly kite racing, foiling and kiting on waves.

About BootstrapLabs

BootstrapLabs runs a 6+6 month hands-­on accelerator program in Silicon Valley tailored for foreign startups. We focus on technology startups with global potential and assist them building disruptive companies by relocating to Silicon Valley, while maintaining their roots in their country of origin. Our approach is focused on relationship building and fast execution to accelerate equity value creation. We connect founders to industry thought leaders, strategic partners and smart investors in our network to ensure their long term success. Since 2009, BootstrapLabs has helped foreign startups such as Prezi, AudioDraft and Zerply connect and relocate to Silicon Valley for good, while maintaining offices in their home countries.

PRESS CONTACT

BootstrapLabs launch Silicon Valley FastTrack Partnership with Swedish Incubator MINC

We are excited to announce that Minc (a leading startup incubator in Malmö, Sweden) is joining BootstrapLabs’ partner program Silicon Valley Fast Track. This means that BootstrapLabs and Minc jointly will review and vet the Startups that go through Minc’s program to find the ones that can be accelerated from Silicon Valley to to build global companies.

The partnership between BootstrapLabs and Minc means that companies going through Minc’s programs will have a quicker path to get to Silicon Valley, and BootstrapLabs will help to select the companies best suited to do so. Once identified, BootstrapLabs will mentor and help these companies to more quickly become ready to go to Silicon Valley and possibly join BootstrapLabs’ Accelerator program in Silicon Valley.

About Minc

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Minc is a hotspot for entrepreneurs, creators, developers, business angels and investors located in the heart of Malmö, Sweden and Minc is the leading incubator in Southern Sweden with Alumni Companies such as Polar Rose (acquired by Apple), Algotrim (acuired by Apple), vErgic and Apsis.

Read more about Minc here

About BootstrapLabs Silicon Valley Fast Track

BootstrapLabs Silicon Valley Fast Track is a partner program for Incubators and Accelerators designed to jumpstart local startups and innovation eco-systems around the world through existing incubators and accelerators, and provide them with a Silicon Valley DNA, link and quick path for their startups with global potential to reach the world from Silicon Valley.

Read more about Silicon Valley Fast Track here

Startup BD: Hacking The Strategic Partnership

On February 20th, 5:30 pm, San Francisco

Startup BD is about growing your company by doing deals.

Experts from Facebook, Pinterest, Klout, Spotify, DocuSign, Foundersuite, Automattic (WordPress), MessageMe and more will talk about how to use strategic partnerships, APIs, and platforms to fuel growth. We will also cover best practice, tips for doing deals, and pitfalls to avoid.

Come join us early, stay late, join the fun.

Sign-up at www.startupbd.com

Use code BSL25 to get a discount.

 

M&A pace down in 2013, is Venture Capital cooling down?

bulldog-on-iceVenture capitalists sold only 388 companies via mergers or acquisitions last year, according to data from the National Venture Capital Association, Thomson Reuters (our own BootstrapRadar is showing similar stats). It is the lowest such total since 2009, and nearly a 23% decline from 2012.

Does that mean that the VC industry is cooling down? Most likely not…

The IPO market was very strong in 2013 and VC’s really try to maximize the return multiple vs quicker exits, and the mindset across Silicon Valley is pretty optimistic and many of the top companies either went public during 2013, filed to go public or is expecting to go public within the next year or two (this includes well-known names such as AirBNB, Box, Dropbox, Square or less know Enterprise companies that are performing really well, but more under the radar of the Startup blogs, Palantir etc).

What we are seeing right now might actually mean that the top performing VCs are selling fewer companies than in the past few years but they may actually be generating higher returns (multiples).

Prezi hits 30M+ users, doubling annually, and has ‘not used a dime’ of investors’ money

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Our portfolio company Prezi is Zooming ideas from Budapest to the World!

Since 2009, Prezi has gone from 3 founders and a few early team members in Budapest to a US company scaling to the world from San Francisco Bay area/Silicon Valley.

Today there are 36,000,000 people zooming through to visualize their ideas, and they are joined by another 1.5M every month. And Prezi has a strong balance sheet, being profitable and the bulk of all funds raised have not been used.

But the most amazing part is that Prezi is an inspiration to a whole new generation of Hungarian entrepreneurs, and at BootstrapLabs we are seeing more and more exciting teams and ideas come out of Hungary. Today Prezi employees ~ 4 x the amount of staff in Budapest vs San Francisco. Prezi have a great impact for Hungary, even though they “left” to become a Silicon Valley company.

Read more at VentureBeat