Category Archives: Technology

Wayfair – How To Build a Business

Until we started decorating our office, I have to admit I didn’t know much about Wayfair at all.  But I’m slowly falling for the company.  Not its home decor items but with how it was built.

This week, Box said they are delaying their IPO until 2015 because of “volatile market conditions”. Companies often seem to blame bad performance on headwinds or the always nebulous “market”.

Interestingly, Wayfair is seeing a different market. The eCommerce company went public yesterday and is doing well so far.

Greg Bettinelli of Upfront Ventures (CBI client #humblebrag) penned a monster post about the company which is worth a read.  It’s 3443 words btw.

Rob Go also penned a shorter post about Wayfair.  Parts that stuck out from each post:

  • From Greg’s post, the co-founders of Wayfair will have 56.6% of the voting power and 49.8% of the economic interest in Wayfair.  They were bootstrapped until $500 million in sales.
  • From Rob’s post, this passage was great “While others loudly beat their own drums about vanity metrics, lavish perks, or bold claims of grandeur, Wayfair has allowed their results and execution do the talking.”

Great stuff.

Bad SaaS Economics

I’ve been enjoying the recent burn rate angst. For SaaS companies (like CB Insights), Jason Cohen of WP Engine offers an often unstated but very valid counterpoint:

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Frenemies

I saw some news today that Apple hired away a senior exec from Visa. And then Dan Shulman left American Express enterprise growth to run Paypal which is being split off into a separate company by eBay. I think we will see more of this brain drain away from payments companies to faster growing, sexy tech companies who are encroaching on or looking to become behemoths in the payments space.

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The Oak Tree – Celebrating Longevity

I’ve previously written about building a business the Bloomberg way.  I still think building an enduring, impactful and big company deserves more celebration, but we like shiny and new, especially in tech, so sometimes, it seems that building a company that solves a hard problem, has a great team who like what they do, makes customers happy, etc seems boring.

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Don’t Feel Pressure to Raise VC for your Bootstrapped SaaS Business

Jason Lemkin is my favorite blogger on topics of SaaS (or definitely in the top 5).  But that doesn’t mean I always agree with him. He has a post about not bootstrapping a SaaS company to death which has some interesting points, but ultimately, it’s Jason “talking his book”, i.e. as a VC, bootstrapped SaaS businesses are not great for him.  He has to sell the value of raising VC so I understand this.

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That Burning Sensation

Two of my favorite VC bloggers are Fred Wilson of USV and Bill Gurley of Benchmark. Gurley had an interview yesterday in the WSJ talking about current frothiness and how folks are not discounting risk. In the interview, he says:

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Quantitative VC is Really Coming

I’ve been reading about quantitative VC for a bit. It’s mostly been banal chatter and attempts at tracking buzz which is mildly amusing for consumer web companies and utterly meaningless for everything else. What’s interesting is some of our clients have been doing much more sophisticated things with data for a long time but not under the banner of “quantitative VC”.  Using data was just smart I guess.

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The $2.5 Billion Lifestyle Business

Mojang was acquired by Microsoft today for $2.5 billion. The company grew freakishly, awesomely fast. They never took outside capital it seems although reports of 150 VCs and investors pitching them regularly.  And so I think this makes Mojang the biggest boostrapped tech exit ever. Pls correct me if I’m wrong.

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Clearly a Competitor

ProductHunt’s rumored fundraising got covered on TechCrunch last night. What’s interesting to me was the defensiveness of the article, ie PH is not a competitor to TC was the primary focus.

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Raising Venture Capital Is Not Success

Jon Oringer, the founder and CEO of Shutterstock which is worth $2.66B and IPO’d in 2012 talks about the myth of venture capital in a recent post. There are people who decry venture capital but often, they’re scorned founders or who have some axe to grind.

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