Venture Hunt Long Island

Venture Hunt LI was originally intended to methodically and efficiently connect serious investors with the best early stage business opportunities on Long Island.

At the same time that I was developing Venture Hunt Long Island, the NYC startup community was growing rapidly and becoming more open in both entrepreneur development and funding (co-working spaces, accelerators, skill development, pitch nights, etc.) which were are all just a train ride away. In addition, amazing startup resources and market places like Angel List made the location of your startup, less relevant for “access”.

Taking all this in, it was clear that Long Island didn’t need a local deal flow machine, because quite simply, most early stage ventures (regardless of location) haven’t earned a seat at the funding table (even some that get it). Whether it is because of not finding market fit, not enough traction, inexperienced founders or any other number of reasons that could tank a business regardless of the amount of money it raised. With that in mind, I transitioned Venture Hunt LI to be a collection of helpful notes for LI entrepreneurs to take their startup to the next level by leveraging resources unique to Long Island, nearby NYC and those that are location agnostic. All the posts have since moved to this blog after winding down

There are still many organizations out there trying to foster a healthy startup community on Long Island (some good, some bad, but mostly ugly). Many of which seem to be failing under their own weight and complexity. Their funding comes from government, academic or other “sponsors” that have overt but mostly covert strings attached and usually end up just paying for staff that attend each others functions, events filled with service providers (who doesn’t need 10 patent attorneys?) and real estate (which is LI’s true economy) that end up as gilded tombs. I give points for trying, but not for the execution thus far. Maybe in a denser population of founders all this activity on its own could ignite something, but I’m not seeing sparks. I would even go a far as saying there are more people involved in running entrepreneur programs for Long Island then there are entrepreneurs with real startups on Long Island.

Recently (2014) my fellow startup friends and I decided to take a different approach based on the premise that all anyone really needs is a bit of guidance to get to the next level in their business (from idea to testing the market, from testing to traction with an MVP, from initial traction to funding and beyond).

To foster this, we took a strategy right out of Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City by Brad Feld and created Started On LI which is a monthly meet up for Long Island founders to share war stories, get advice, introductions and of course a few drinks in the process.

To “make it” on Long Island or anywhere else for that matter you need tenacity AND coach-ability. If you’re looking for similar founders come on down and the first drink is on me 🙂

My friends and I have a few other things in the works for the LI startup community, but unlike everyone else, we prefer to have substance before a press release, so I’ll keep you posted when the time is right.


The VC Across the Table is Sweating More Than You

sweating vc

When raising professional capital (venture capital, investment banks, etc.) it’s important to remember that, like you, the “investment professional” across the table is a component in a much larger system called Private Equity Investing.

When you’re not around, the VCs and Bankers (Managing Partners) are in your shoes asking for investment capital from their Limited Partners (LPs). The LPs are the individuals and institutions actually funding your company, while the VCs are paid to select the companies to invest in on the LP’s behalf.

For an in-depth look at the inner workings of a venture capital firm, we recommend reading “Chapter 8: How Venture Capital Funds Work” in Venture Deals, by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson

Feeling the Heat

But venture capitalists aren’t sweating because they’re afraid you know the game, they’re feeling the heat because the economic returns of venture capital for the LPs who fund them are looking less than stellar when compared to Public Market Equivalent (PME) investments. The best assessment of the causes for this lackluster performance is detailed in the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s “WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY…AND HE IS US”: Lessons from Twenty Years of the Kauffman Foundations’s Investments in Venture Capital Funds and The Triumph of Hope over Experience (May 2012).

From a founder’s perspective, the 51-page review of the the Kauffman Foundation’s investment experience in VC funds might seem like overkill, but the executive summary alone should be enough of a confidence booster for future negotiations.

So the next time you find yourself in front of VCs who think they have the Midas touch, remember that in the eyes of their LPs, that’s rarely the case.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, the Kauffman Foundation is one of the largest foundations in the United States with an asset base of approximately $2 billion.

Venture Hunt LI now on Amazon

Amazon StoreWe are always being asked what the best resources are for forming a startup and raising capital. While many resources are less tangible such as introductions, events and blogs, there are some core educational tools that can really give your startup efforts a boost.

To keep the process simple we have created our own Amazon affiliate store, which will feature a curated collection of products that make startup life a little easier and more fun.

We are kicking off our new store with 2 of best books we have come across in the last year on making introductions and pitching your company to investors (Pitching Hacks By Venture Hacks) and going through the process of raising capital with Venture Capitalists (Venture Deals By Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson)