As an entrepreneur you're constantly trying to better yourself and your startup. You know you don't always have all the answers (At least I hope you think so), and you're going to need help from people who have already gone through the journey. Additionally, as your startup gets ready to obtain funding, the process can be incredibly tedious. frustrating, and you can easily find yourself getting lost.
Lucky for you, the Venture Capitalists of our day have taken the time to help alleviate both of these problems by having and maintaining active blogs that are meant to inspire, educate, provide insight and help you along your path as an entrepreneur or investor. I personally find these blogs extremely helpful, as the VCs who write them provide concrete examples of different situations deriving from their own personal experiences as an investor or previously as an entrepreneur. It's my hope that equipped with some of their knowledge, you'll be able to make smarter decisions.
The Union Square Ventures partner writes on his blog every day without fail. Posts range from the personal (“Parenting”) to the wonky (“Revenue Models—Transaction Processing”) but rarely fail to attract fewer than 100 comments.
Fred Wilson has been a VC since 1986 and is now the Managing Partner of Union Square Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in New York City. He also co-founded Flatiron Partners in 1996.
Since founding Union Square Ventures, Wilson has invested in companies such as Twitter, Tumblr,Foursquare, BugLabs, Meetup,Zynga, Covestor, del.icio.us, Etsy, FeedBurner, Heyzap, Indeed.com, Tacoda, Oddcast, Disqus, Zemanta, and Clickable.
With one of the most widely read VC blogs and known to engage with readers often, you’ll learn plenty about entrepreneurship, investing, and personal lessons of life.
Brussels-born Fred Destin is a founding investor at Seedcamp and a partner at Atlas Venture, an investment firm that targets early stage startups in the areas of life science and technology innovation. Recently as in early, Fred has stepped down as partner at Atlas and will be joining Accel Partners in their London office starting September. At Acell he expects to focus mostly on early-stage consumer technology opportunities in the UK, France and Germany according to Fortune Magazine.
He has invested in Dailymotion, Zoopla, Seatwave, Cinemagram, The Currency Cloud, EnglishCentral, Fashion Project, Inspirational Stores, Integral Ad Science, Kinvey, Lagoa, PhillPack, Recorded Future, and Secret Escapes.
Destin begins each post with a cool image of a fractal, which he then usually goes on to explain the significance. And he shares his thoughts – very honest and candidly – about the business of funding innovation through personal experiences.
David Skok is the kind of guy that only blogs a couple of times a year, but I’ve always found his content and the amount of resources he provides very helpful. Skok joined Matrix Partners as a General Partner in 2001. Before that he founded four of his own companies, three of which went public. In his blog posts, he tends to take a more MBA–level perspective with the content he provides which are often enough for a virtual textbook of financial models and startup strategies. If you prefer Excel over stories, Skok’s blog is an abyss of charts, graphs and equations.
David has invested or served on the board of companies such as AppIQ, Cloudswitch, Diligent Technologies, JBoss, Tabblo, CloudBees, Conductor, Digium, Enservio, GrabCAD, Hubspot, Meteor, OpenSpan, Salsify, Storiant, and Video IQ,
Again, if you’re someone who loves to see the stats, the numbers, the charts, and the equations, look no further than David Skok’s blog.
Jason Ball is Director at Qualcomm Ventures Europe and is based in London. Previously he worked at London Seed Capital as the Investment Director. Ball has been working with internet and mobile startups for eight years.
He currently serves as a board member or observer for Bitbar, Blippar, Cambridge Temperature Concepts, Grand Cru, Videoplaza, Wonder PL and Wrapp. Jason has also led Qualcomm Ventures investments in Arteris (acquired by Qualcomm) and We7 (acquired by Tesco).
Jason Ball offers practical entrepreneurial advice on an array of topics in a clear, concise and easy-to-understand manner. Whether you want to know more about the perfect pitch, raising money or going to market – he’s got you covered in a very simple way.
Thomas Grota is the Investment Director at T-Venture, the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom, and brings over 15 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industry. He is also a mentor at Seedcamp and HackFwd.
He is a board member at 6Wunderkinder, MyTaxi, flaregames, Smarchive and apprupt and has added value to startups such as Gini, Lookout, reputami, NumberFour, myTaxi, and Swoodoo which sold to Kayak.
Thomas Grota gives us a glimpse of ‘a day in the life’ of an investor with snaps from his office, takeaways from industry events and constant prognostications for the future of the European VC landscape. It really is “a personal view on venture capital from a corporate VC perspective”.
Jalak Jobanputra is Founding Partner of FuturePerfect Ventures, an early-stage VC fund in NYC that invests in Interpretative Intelligence: applications and platforms which make data more intelligent and more "human”, and a TechStars mentor. Previously, she was Senior Vice President at the New York City Investment Fund and Principal at New Venture Partners.
She has invested in several companies such as TxVia (acquired by Google), Demantra (sold to Oracle), Viacore (sold to IBM), Ticketfly, SeatGeek, and Sift Shopping.
You should definitely read up on Jobanputra’s blog since she has over 18 years of experience in the areas of venture capital, media and technology and you’ll want to read about her business secrets, career advice and unique international outlook on investing.
My personal favorite post is where she introduces the sector she'd like to invest in through FuturePerfect Ventures: Interpretative Intelligence
A New York entrepreneur and seed investor turned Silicon Valley VC, Dixon likes to look at the big picture. Many of his posts consider industry-wide trends, then examine the consequences of those trends for entrepreneurs. But more importantly, it’s always interesting to hear from someone who has achieved success at both the entrepreneur and investor levels. Dixon co-founded SiteAdvisor, a web-security startup that was later bought by security company McAfee. He also co-founded Founder Collective, where he invested in seed-stage startups. In 2009, Dixon co-founded Hunch, which was then acquired by Ebay. And in late 2012, Dixon joined Andreessen Horowitz as a partner.
Dixon’s personal investments include some true heavy hitters such as Kickstarter, Warby Parker, Foursquare, Flatiron Health, Kitchensurfing, CodeAcademy, Stack Overflow, Pinterest, Bloomreach, Optimizely, Skype, Trialpay, Sift Science, Oyster, Stripe, Behance (acquired by Adobe), OMGPOP (acquired by Zynga), Truaxis (acquired by Mastercard), DocVerse(acquired by Google), ScanScout (IPO) and Invite Media (acquired by Google).
Tunguz, a principal at Redpoint Ventures, relies on short, punchy posts to get his point across. His penchant for expressing ideas in terms of frameworks make for quick, effective, and easily digestible resources.
Some of the startups he's been involved with include Looker, Electric Imp, Axial, Thred Up, and Expensify.
Currently, Paul Jozefak is Managing Director at Liquid Labs, a company builder focusing on early-stage financial tech startups. While Jozefak technically isn’t an investor any more, he has over 15 years of VC experience. Previously, he was Managing Partner at Neuhaus Partners and Investment Director at SAP AG.
He was a Board Member at Content Fleet, Smava, apprupt, Propertybase, Emporis and verwandt.de.
While Jozefak may not be VC any more, he is still very much involved with startups and has years of experience to draw from (and write about). If you’re looking for soft advice, look elsewhere because Jozefak serves a heavy dose of blunt opinions (often needed in the startup world) with a hint of dry humour.
I personally really enjoyed: Patience & Why It's Almost Always Worth It to Wait
Berlin-based Ciaran O’Leary is Partner of Earlybird, a European venture capital firm focusing on technology ventures, and has over eight years of experience as an investor.
A few of his Investments include 6wunderkinder, madvertise, Moped, simfy and Peak Games
Because O’Leary is basically the unofficial spokesperson for Berlin’s high growth startup scene and has been quoted countless number of times in international media outlets. He’s new on the blogging block (he hasn't started too long ago week) but if his first couple of posts are any indication, it looks promising. And as an entrepreneur, I'm always fascinated and like to stay tuned to what kind of tech is rising around the rest of thew world. It helps me feel like my efforts are a smaller part of something bigger going on.
Christoph Janz is Co-founder and Managing Partner at Point Nine Capital. Prior to that, he was an active angel investor and co-founded internet startup DealPilot.com, one of the first comparison shopping engines.
He has made investments in Zendesk, FreeAgent, Geckboard, Boxed Ice to name a few.
Why you should read it: Because Janz started blogging about the internet even before Twitter existed. Additionally, he shares valuable insight on internet entrepreneurship in thorough and well-conceived posts. A must-read – especially if you’re in the SaaS startup.
No top VC blog list would be complete without Paul Graham, most famously known for co-founding YCombinator and the hundreds of startups that came out its classes. His blog rightfully named "Essays" features highly-polished, long-length treatises. Whether contemplating the idiosyncrasies of seed-stage companies, cultural trends, personal habits, or consumer behavior, the Y Combinator founder has a knack for making counterintuitive arguments that quickly become accepted wisdom in Silicon Valley and beyond.
13) First Round Capital - The Review
The Review is a bit of an outlier on this list. A compilation of startup-centric content rather than the musings of an individual VC, the Review is more of First Round Capital’s trial in content distribution - and honestly the most comprehensive shot at content marketing in the industry. The Review’s preferred mode of instruction is very similar to Harvard Business Review - looking at case studies of individual entrepreneurs and companies.
First Round Capital has invested in companies such as Uber, Square, Warby Parker, Knewton, Wikia, Odeo, The Climate Corporate and more.
One of my personal favorites was : The management framework that propelled LinkedIn to a $20 billion company
14) Charlie O'Donnell - This is Going to be Big
If you’ve thought about it, O’Donnell has probably blogged about it. With an archive stretching back to 2004, the Brooklyn Bridge Ventures founder writes about sales, hiring, the venture business, startup communities and New York. Charlie has seen quite a bit. First as an analyst with Union Square Ventures, where he served as part of the original investment team with Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham. He founded Path 101 and was also the director of cosumer product at Oddcast. Charlie also founded NextNY, New York's largest independent innovation community group, and has since become partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.
While at First Round Capital, O'Donnell sourced the firm's investments in GroupMe (sold to Skype), Backupify, chloe + isabel, Refinery29, Docracy, Singleplatform, and Salescrunch. And at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, he's invested in Ringly, Biodigital, Orchard, Makr, Canary, SocialSign.in, Floored, TinyBop, Editorially, Windowfarms, Superhuman, and Versa.
Mark Suster is one of my personal favorites. The Los Angeles-based VC has been on both sides of the table – an entrepreneur and investor. As an entrepreneur he founded BuildOnline and Koral, which were both acquired. And he's a guy who does just about everything. He blogs consistently, with long, substantive posts on a wide variety of subjects. The Upfront Ventures partner can discuss fundraising, industry analysis, sales strategies, culture and pretty much any other startup topic you can possibly imagine—generally in an easy to read, one-sentence-per-paragraph format.
The cool thing about the other half of Andreessen Horowitz is that he starts each of his blog posts with a rap lyric, often explicit but somehow relevant to the topic at hand. Horowitz is most comfortable—and helpful—when opining on career development, hiring and culture. He seems to make "building teams" his forte, and always has compelling advice. His site is especially useful for startup CEOs anxious about the job.
I doubt I have to go into detail on the long list of amazing startups that @a16z has invested in.
Standout Post: Making Yourself a CEO
17) Martin Varsavsky
Who? Martin Varsavsky is an Argentine/Spanish entrepreneur. Currently, he is CEO of global wifi network Fon, an angel investor and a professor at Columbia University.
What? Over the past two decades, he has founded seven companies and invested in several others such as Rdio, Technorati, Tumblr, Wikio, 23 and me, Aura Biosciences, busuu, Ebuzzing, Elite Daily (which I'm a contributing writer at), Dopplr, and SmartThings.
Varsavsky has built businesses in both North America and Europe and is able to give readers a comprehensive look on the similarities and differences in entrepreneurship between the two continents.
What “Above the Crowd” lacks in frequency, it makes up for in depth, detail, and clout. Short an simple isn’t exactly the Benchmark partner’s strong suit (some posts clock in at nearly 3,000 words) but Gurley’s posts on pricing strategy, mobile trends and metrics are worth the long read. I usually utilize his posts as a resource when making a decision. And of course, he's from Austin - so he automatically belongs to this list.
A few of his current investments and board seats include: Brighter, GrubHub, Linden Lab/SecondLife, LiveOps, NextDoor, OpenTable(IPO: OPEN), Scale Computing, Uber, Ubiquiti Networks (UBNT), and Zillow.com (IPO: Z).
Previous Investments: Avamar Technologies (acquired by EMC), Business.com (acquired by R.H. Donnelley), Clicker (acquired by CBS), Demandforce (acquired by INTU), Employease (acquired by ADP), JAMDAT (IPO: JMDT; acquired by Electronic Arts), Nordstrom.com (acquired by Nordstrom), Shopping.com (IPO: SHOP; acquired by eBay), The Knot (IPO: KNOT), and Vudu (acquired by WalMart).
19) Brad Feld
Brad is easily one of the most interesting personas to read about. His personal story is wonderful to read, which he goes into detail pretty often. What he really strives to do and takes passion in is mentoship and providing guidance.
Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.
In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, co-chair of Startup Colorado, and on the board of UP Global. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts, Startup Revolution, and Ask the VC.
One of my favorite posts was: After Your First Big Success, What’s Next?
One of the members of the PayPal mafia (early employees at PayPal) who has had an amazing track record. He was Director of Marketing at PayPal from 2001 through 2004. He launched and ran marketing for Simply Hired in 2005 and 2006.
After leaving PayPal, McClure became a frequent investor in consumer Internet startup companies, investing in and advising more than 15 consumer internet startups, including virtual goods monetization and payments platform Jambool (acquired by Google in 2010) and US online education directory TeachStreet (acquired by Amazon in 2011). During the summer of 2009, McClure was acting investment director for Facebook fbFund (a joint venture incubator/accelerator with prominent venture capital firms Founders Fund and Accel Partners), which provided early-stage capital to startups developing applications using Facebook Platform & Facebook Connect.
McClure gained attention both for his opinionated blog 500 Hats (as of 2011 one of the ten most-read blogs on venture capital finance). This alone should want you to at least take a peak.
500 Startups is a seed accelerator and related investment fund McClure founded in 2010.
As of July 27, 2013, 500 Startups had invested in over 500 companies, including Safe Shepherd, Markerly, idreambooks, Fileboard, myGengo, Artsicle, Cucumbertown Visual.ly, E la Carte, Canva, Udemy, 24/7 Techies, ZipMatch and RidePal. Of current investments, more than 20% have participated in other incubators, 10-15% are international, and 10 have been acquired.
Now, with over 500 startups that he's invested in, each startup has its own story. From product development, building teams, fundraising, going to market - it can only help to learn these lessons from McClure's 500 strong startups as well as his humble words and experiences.
Favorite post: Late Bloomer
A fellow Austinite who has done quite a bit for the city of Austin. His wide range of experiences as a venture capitalist, angel investor, entrepreneur, community organizer and mentor enables him to really humanize his posts. I've found his posts to be some of the most genuine and personal I've ever read, including amongst this list. And it is always a joy to read more.
Hurt founded and led Bazaarvoice as CEO from 2005-2012, through its IPO, follow-on offering, and two acquisitions (PowerReviews and Longboard Media). Prior to Bazaarvoice, Brett founded and led Coremetrics, which was rated the #1 Web analytics solution by Forrester Research and, like, Bazaarvoice expanded into a global company and leader. Coremetrics was acquired by IBM in 2010. Brett is the co-owner of Hurt Family Investments (HFI), alongside his wife, Debra. HFI has invested in 16 companies and is advising another six. Seventeen of the 22 are based in Austin, the primary focus region. And lastly, Hurt also serves as a Partner at Capital Factory, Austin's largest startup incubator, along with Josh Baehr.
My favorite post was: Listening to your soul.