Generic Market Research Questions

Recently an entrepreneur emailed me some market research questions as they’re working on refining their product and trying to better understand the pain points. Seeing the list, I immediately thought that this is a good starting point for other entrepreneurs doing research as many of the questions can be repurposed to be broadly applicable. Here are some generic…

University-Affiliated Angel Networks

One of the projects I’ve been helping out with recently is the Duke Angel Network. Universities have been making a stronger entrepreneurial push over the past few years and startup funding is always a challenge. With the Duke Angel Network, the idea is to review Duke-affiliated startups that have a student, alumni, faculty, staff, or parent…

Solving One Problem Magnifies Another

Things are going well but there’s this nagging issue that won’t go away. If we could only solve this one problem, everything else would be great. Only, once the problem is solved, the next most important problem is magnified. And, it never stops. Solving one problem magnifies another. Here are a few thoughts to keep…

Tranche Investments in Startups

Over the past year I’ve seen a little-used investment strategy come up a few times: the tranche. With a tranche, money is typically invested over two or three milestones based on the progress of the company (often at the will of the investor, and sometimes contingent on the entrepreneur’s approval). As an example, $250,000 might be put…

What Wasn’t Said in the Response

Last year, when talking to an entrepreneur about his startup, I asked him why he started the company. He responded that he wanted to build a big company and do well financially. Probing a bit deeper, he explained how he owned a certain percentage of the company and that there were several key financial goals…