Our Top Posts from 2018

Happy new year!

Each week we like share our thoughts on a range of topics from vertical markets to general startup advice and our reflections on investing. We’re proud to say that we wrote a blog post every week in 2018 – and we’ve done that now for the past three years. In case you didn’t catch each and every post, here’s a look back at some of our favourite and most read pieces from 2018.

Running a Startup

“The risks of scaling too fast too soon”

Back in April, Boris shared some insights on scaling prematurely. After closing a Series A or B, there’s a sudden influx of cash and this can place a lot of stress to show results and move too fast.

“Changing the narrative on distributed teams in Silicon Valley”

Among our Silicon Valley-based portfolio companies, every company past “A” has a distributed team. We discussed two common approaches toward opening a second location: opening a location built around a specific task (e.g. platform integration, customer service and distributing team members across the board.  

“So you just raised a….” three-part blog series

We published a three-part series throughout December to help startups manage their changing priorities and strategies as they grow…

Marketplaces and SaaS

The Guide to Marketplaces: Second Edition

In addition to weekly blogging, we refreshed our Guide to Marketplaces eBook, adding a revised section on decentralized marketplaces, a new chapter on marketplace exits, and a Funding Napkin that links milestones with fundraising stages. You can download the PDF or ePub version.

“What are the opportunities for the next venture-scale marketplace business?”

As we ramped up our focus on new markets like crypto and healthcare in 2018, we were often asked if we still invest in marketplaces. In July, Angela responded in a blog post – it’s a resounding yes. We love marketplace’s network effects and she outlined some of the opportunities we see for the next generation of large, venture-scale marketplace businesses.

“Smart SaaS – the next generation of enterprise apps”

In October, Boris described our concept of “Smart SaaS” – the next generation of enterprise apps that can use AI/machine learning to automate processes, while also having the potential to be intelligent and create interesting data network effects along the way.

Crypto/Blockchain

“Is crypto investing different from VC investing?”

Through our experiences backing companies like Citizen Hex, Blockstack, Coinbase, Metastable, Polychain, and CryptoKitties, we came to realize that the way we evaluate blockchain opportunities is no different than how we have evaluate any other investment opportunity. However, we need to think about how to evolve as a fund for crypto.

“A few takeaways from the Augur prediction market”

After Augur went live, Boris spent some time on the platform and reported his observations. It’s always exciting to see something in the early days as it moves from the whitepaper phase to live product!

Bio/Healthcare

“Expanding our bio/healthcare thesis”

In August, Angela shared our updated healthcare thesis which essentially looks like:  

D2C (for rapid adoption) –> FDA clearance, approval –> gold standard –> cost structure change

“Building on top of EHRs”

We’re excited to see what the opening of EHR systems offers to healthcare innovators. But just like any other company that relies on incumbent platforms, these startups need to tackle the associated risks of dependency. In this post, Angela outlined several questions that a startup building an app on top of an EHR needs to answer.

Venture Capital

“VCs rarely make exceptions to their investment scope”

We strayed from our investment focus when we invested in Coinbase’s Series D. But as Boris explained, we had a pretty strong conviction based on several factors. Such exceptions are limited to truly special opportunities. As an entrepreneur, it’s much better to do your research upfront and focus on those investors who are the right fit.

“Reflecting on 5 years in VC: How to survive the marathon”

In September, Angela marked her “VC anniversary” and shared the key pillars that help her stay sharp and sane in this fast-paced marathon.

What were your favourite pieces from last year? Are there any topics or themes that you’d like us to write more about in 2019?

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