Posts from 2017

Double Nickels

I turn 55 today.  What a long strange trip it’s been.  Thanks to anyone who helped me on the voyage.






Does Your Marketplace Expand the Market?

There are a lot of “marketplace” technologies out there.  Marketplaces make things more transparent.  Good marketplaces show better bids and offers and help people make good decisions.  They have liquidity and a tight bid/ask spread. However, if all a marketplace does …






Biggest Pain Points are Communication

Yesterday I was at the Chicago Booth Management Conference.  In typical Booth fashion there was some socializing but they always have break out sessions with some “rigorous inquiry”.  I went to a session on CFO Perspectives which was interesting.  There …






Building the MVP

When you are starting a company and you are used to working in a big company environment, you haven’t been exposed to the hacking world of startups.  I run into a fair amount of people like this.  They have worked …






“Markets” Are Truly Hard to Understand

Today, the Republicans will vote to repeal and replace Obamacare.  Yesterday, Aetna announced they were pulling out of the Virginia “Obamacare Market”.  Today, the CEO of the NASDAQ released a statement on how they would like to see markets reformed. …






Yes, Robots Can

Back in the days when we were in the pits talking about if the CME should demutualize (or not) and if the exchange should spend more on electronic systems (or not) one of the things I used to hear a …






What Does It Mean When Something Is Broken?

When you listen to pitches, you might hear an entrepreneur squeak that line into the pitch.  “Payments are fundamentally broken”.  It’s a broad statement.  However, it doesn’t say much about how or why? Is it broken?  Why it’s broken is …






A Sneaky Secret About The Fin Tech Ecosystem in Chicago

There are different ways to build startup ecosystems.   One way is obvious.  Brute strength. Have some people with good ideas and other people that want to fund them.  That has been Chicago’s path.  It’s a linear path.  The other …






Jake Butt Saves His Butt

You might have watched the NFL Draft and you might not have.  One thing that most people don’t think about is how players prepare for the worst.  This year, a lot of the top college football players will buy an …






Reading, Writing, Rithmatic

People often think that being an investor is totally exciting.  The impression is that investors sit around and shoot the shit kicking big ideas back and forth.  There is some of that.  But, most of it is pretty mundane. I …






What’s A Startup? Fin Tech In Chicago

In the past couple of months, two fin tech incubators have started up in Chicago.  At West Loop Ventures, we love it because we invest in B2B Fin Tech companies.  More is better for us.  We are going to work …






YCharts Launches Portfolio Sync

A company I have been invested in since it’s seed round just released a new upgrade that should get anyone with an investment portfolio excited. Ycharts just launched Portfolio Sync and it integrates with Morningstar data.  YCharts automatically links with …






Accounting Versus Economics When It Comes to Tax Policy

Trump is moving ahead with his tax plan.  Strategically, it’s smart to do this now because everyone in America just paid taxes.  I guarantee that no one will report it correctly no matter what their political bias.  People look at …






The Rebalance of Value

Finally, it’s here. For a year or two now, several venture capitalists have said: “Winter is coming”. They had seen their share of overvalued companies, some in their own portfolio. I am starting to see reality hit some companies in …






Condescension Is Not Persuasion

Sometimes when you are selling some thing totally new, no one understands it. They don’t see your vision. They haven’t been privy to your brainstorming sessions. You have to take them to the mountaintop. When you are selling something radically …






It Really Is About Founders

Was looking at different startups the other day. It really is about the founders at early stages. No idea is 100% unique. If any idea is good and worth pursuing, there will be at least one other company starting up …






The Real Message of Virtu and KCG Merger

Two HFT shops merged. They were huge enterprises. A lot of people will analyze the merger using MBA SWOT analysis. I look at it a bit differently. This isn’t the first HFT merger, but it is a much grander scale …