Ben Narasin

Latest from Ben Narasin

  • While the IPO market roars back, venture remains leery Crunch Network

    While the IPO market roars back, venture remains leery

    The IPO market is poised to make an almost complete 180° turnaround after a bleak Q1 and a very quiet summer. In contrast, venture capital investments, which had recalibrated alongside the IPO market in the second half of last year, have remained sedate, with a clear flight to quality; fewer rounds, for higher quality companies, with larger check sizes. Read More

  • The importance of science fiction to entrepreneurship Crunch Network

    The importance of science fiction to entrepreneurship

    There are three types of science fiction (in my view): crap, serialized crap and hard-science science fiction. The last type contains a wealth of visions of the future, many of which we enjoy today, and is referenced in the names of, or has influenced, many tech startups and world-class entrepreneurs. Read More

  • Winter brings opportunities for the wise and frugal Crunch Network

    Winter brings opportunities for the wise and frugal

    One of my seed portfolio founders called for advice recently. He’d raised a Series A from a Tier 1 VC and was ahead of plan, but his investor suddenly wanted him to cut spending: on SEM, on PR, on whatever he could. He wanted to know why, and how to think about it. Read More

  • You never forget the pain, so try to avoid it Crunch Network

    You never forget the pain, so try to avoid it

    They say once you’ve had frostbite, you never forget the cold. A founder who has suffered a bad board, or board member, never forgets that, either. I took my company public at age 33 with a board of four: me, someone I trusted and two people who taught me the meaning of the word acrimony. I have been obsessed ever since with helping my founders pick the right board members and avoid… Read More

  • The singularity is never coming, but it’s already here Crunch Network

    The singularity is never coming, but it’s already here

    When I heard Ray Kurzweil present the concept of the singularity to a small group at TED, the idea that computing power advances would ultimately allow thinking machines to advance beyond humans’ ability to advance them, and eventually allow us to “upload” our own consciousness into an eternal ether, I was so smitten I committed to living long enough to live forever. Read More

  • IPO Slowdown: A Look At Company Profitability Crunch Network

    IPO Slowdown: A Look At Company Profitability

    The IPO market cooled in 2015. There were fewer of them, they raised less capital and performance was down. Investor sentiment and a sideways public market were primary drivers, but the quality of the IPO merchandise needs to be examined, as well. Read More

  • The Entrepreneurial Journey Is More Darkness Than Light Crunch Network

    The Entrepreneurial Journey Is More Darkness Than Light

    Looking at startups from the outside, it’s easy to assume the startup game is just that, a game. A game with big winners and glorious and rapid rises to the top. Of billion-dollar valuations and worldwide conquests. Of apps serving hundreds of millions of people and liquidity to ensure glory for one’s heirs for generations to come. But entrepreneurship is not a game. Read More

  • Down Round Doom? The Data Says No Crunch Network

    Down Round Doom? The Data Says No

    A recent discussion on the tech IPO market yielded the comment “all IPOs this year were down rounds.” Square’s recent IPO priced below its last private offering, spurring Khosla (a Square investor) partner Keith Rabois to comment to The Wall Street Journal that “the steroid era of startups is over.” But the data on IPO down rounds, a concept we first reported on… Read More

  • Separating The Sizzle From The Steak Crunch Network

    Separating The Sizzle From The Steak

    Seed rounds are all about the sizzle, the exciting promise of the future if things go as dreamed. Risk is high — but the reward, if it works, is far greater. Smart people with great ideas and strong skills can raise money based on their passion, vision and tenacity. But when it comes time to raise a Series A, it’s all about the steak — what you’ve accomplished. Read More

  • Bravery Is At The Heart Of Entrepreneurship Crunch Network

    Bravery Is At The Heart Of Entrepreneurship

    Entrepreneurs looking for a pivot or an idea sometimes ask me “what’s hot now?” That’s the wrong question! What’s hot now is too late for you if your dreams are to be a world-changing entrepreneur: You need to create what will be hot years from now. Read More

  • Series A 101

    In my prior life as a seed investor, I helped many companies raise Series A, some raise B and a few raise C.  First time founders often ask about the process, once it’s clear there’s likely to be one, and while I always had a view from the outside, alongside or sometimes with the Venture firms, now that I’m a VC with my own Series A Term Sheet (TS) signed, I thought… Read More

  • Fear Of Failure May Ensure It Crunch Network

    Fear Of Failure May Ensure It

    At the dawn of the web I launched one of the first e-commerce sites. I spent six months on research, perfecting the site, striving to get everything right. After six hours live I’d learned more from people’s actions and reactions than in those six months — and felt a bitter regret for the half year wasted. Now, as an investor, I occasionally see the same behavior, and… Read More

  • The Shifting Sands Of Sand Hill Crunch Network

    The Shifting Sands Of Sand Hill

    For as long as I’ve paid attention, Sand Hill Road has been synonymous with venture capital. But that is changing. As the epicenter of the technology renaissance age has shifted, or expanded, from Palo Alto and its environs to San Francisco and other pockets of the peninsula, the monopolistic high ground of venture capital real estate that top venture firms call home base has started… Read More

  • The Importance Of Founders Crunch Network

    The Importance Of Founders

    In a prior era, some considered it best practice to bring in “professional managers” to run the businesses started by creative and hard-working entrepreneurs once those business began to scale and appeared to need “adult supervision.” The term “upgrade management” is still occasionally heard among investors but never in front of founders. Read More

  • Big Valuations Come With Dangerous Small Print Crunch Network

    Big Valuations Come With Dangerous Small Print

    About three years ago we started noticing a sliver of founders who were obsessively focused on valuations start to make short-term decisions in their fundraising that risked meaningful long-term consequences. With the popularity of the “unicorn” label, this trend has gotten worse. A few months ago a Midas List friend shared a story of dismay with an example in their portfolio… Read More

  • No Need For Alarm Over Private Company Valuations Crunch Network

    No Need For Alarm Over Private Company Valuations

    With 137% returns in an approximately two year period, there’s logic in mutual funds continuing to throw big dollars into strong IPO candidates, thus significantly inflating valuations. With this encroaching competition it’s not surprising then that VC’s are sending the warning. Read More

  • Separating The Rest From The Best In Venture Partners Crunch Network

    Separating The Rest From The Best In Venture Partners

    I‘ve studied Tier 1 venture firms for over seven years, and I see two weaknesses in partners, particularly young ones, that separate the rest from the best: they don’t take enough risk, and they aren’t candid enough with the founders they don’t fund (or even sometimes with those they d Read More

  • Series A Is The New Series B Crunch Network

    Series A Is The New Series B

    When I moved to Silicon Valley over a decade ago, I thought “venture” meant looking for smart people with great ideas. I’ve learned that’s not true; they’re looking for smart people, with great ideas, who are “killing it.” That last bit is a fundamental change and has made modern-day Series A effectively the Series B of the past. Read More

  • The End Of The Acqui-Hire? Crunch Network

    The End Of The Acqui-Hire?

    A few years ago, before seed investing was as well defined as it now is, I co-hosted a bean bag sitting circle at The Lobby on the topic of “the seed round.” While I assumed the topic would appeal primarily to founders thinking about their next startups, we had a surprising number of industry players — the large monolithic cash hoarder and sizzle brands that buy so many… Read More