Posts in Start Ups

Including Diversity in Entrepreneurship

There has been a lot of talk about diversity in entrepreneurship.  I am all for it. I am also reminded of Thomas Sowell’s brilliant observation.  “The next time some academics tell you how important ‘diversity’ is, ask how many Republicans …






Square Up!

When I played a lot of basketball, I was a pretty damn good shooter.  I can still knock down free throws like it’s nobody’s business and shooting from 20 feet in I can tickle the twine.  My father was a …






The Down Round

Yesterday I interacted with Mike Moyer’s class at Chicago Booth.  It was a lot of fun.  There were lots of questions, but one of the questions was on valuation.  How does anyone go about valuing a startup company? It’s a …






CryptoCurrency and Freedom

One of the features of cryptocurrency that fanatics advocate is freedom from all government. I don’t think this is realistic. But certainly in extreme cases you can see where cryptocurrency can fill a need when government totally breaks down-or is …






Clearing is Centralized, and Concentrates Risk

One of the things blockchain might be able to do better is clearing.  Clearing of swaps especially.  Under Dodd-Frank, the government mandated a lot of swaps clearing.  Logically, this made sense.  I was initially in favor of moving plain vanilla …






Trump Loses on Department of Labor Law

“With or without regulation by the federal government, the principle of ‘clients first’ is here to stay.” – Jack Bogle When I read the Department of Labor was wading into financial regulation, my first inclination was dread.  I didn’t trust …






Set A Goal For a Meeting

Humans tend to spend a lot of time in meetings. Craig Wortmann found that humans waste a ton of time in meetings. Most people only think that 5% of meetings are even productive.   I have blogged about how to …






Want To Start A Bank? You Might Have a Chance Now

We talk about how easy it is to start a software startup these days.  It’s cheap.  Two people in a garage.  Of course, academic studies have shown despite the ease, starting an entrepreneurial business is on the wane.  There are …






The Series B Investor

There are a lot of VC investors that prefer not to mess with early rounds.  They would rather initiate the investing cycle at Series B.  There are a lot of logical reasons for this.  Their funds are too large.  Spending …






The Cashless Society

Experts have said it for years but it’s never happened.  Everyone has talked about a cashless society for as long as I can remember.  We are starting to see it come true, but it’s not cryptocurrency that is leading it. …






Innovation in Education

Got a recent report on a company I invested in back in 2009.  It’s called Brilliant.  It is the largest social network of people solving math and science problems together.  They even have a Wikipedia for math and science.  The …






Two Big Financings In Chicago

There was some big news in Chicago this week.  Caterpillar is moving their HQ here from Peoria.  Bad for P-town, but good for Chicago.  At least they didn’t leave the state. In startup news, Brad Keywell’s Uptake raised $40M from …






Reading the Tea Leaves

Maybe the people buying volatility are right. From my friend Yra Harris blog, “The day that NAFTA began the Chines YUAN was devalued from 5.8 yuan/dollar to 8.7, a 50% devaluation. Today the YUAN is at 6.88 to the dollar. …






Thinking Bigger

Yesterday I did my normal 2.5 hours of yoga and then helped judge the Global New Venture Challenge at the Chicago Booth.  Always fun to hear a bunch of pitches that people worked hard on. As I make my way …






Challenges of Smaller Funds vs Being an Angel

As an angel investor, you can pretty much do whatever you want.  Angel returns in aggregate hover right around 27%.  VC returns are lower.  But, that too is aggregate and encompasses both funds that invest early and funds that only …






When Government Shoots You In the Back

The Illinois tech community is doing great.  I see all kinds of really interesting businesses that are building.  I am invested in a few.  They are solving problems and creating value for customers.  Someday, they will be big.  In the …






Do You Think Like A Futurist?

It is awfully difficult to predict the future.  Macroeconomists have found it almost impossible.  In Venture Capital, you have to envision what will happen ten years from today.  Then, find a company that fits that thesis and invest in it. …






10,000 Bitcoins For a Pizza

The first transaction in bitcoin was 10,000 bitcoins for a pizza.  Hope it was Chicago style.  It reminds me of the assignment Craig Wortmann gives students.  He has them barter a pen for a few weeks to see what they …