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Allen Morgan
Sherpa to startups & active angel investor. Managing Director, Idealab's New Ventures Group.
Recent Activity
Now that we're neck-deep in the US Presidential campaign, one can't help see the two nominees giving political speeches every time one glances at a TV -- at home, walking through an airport, in a restaurant or bar, etc. The... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2016 at allensblog
As many are, I'm reflecting on the recent political conventions. Probably because each of the main parties is so divided (compared to broad historical norms -- with exceptions), it has highlighted for me the dangers of speaking about collectives (e.g.,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2016 at allensblog
This post in Techcrunch raises interesting issues around what seems to be a trend in VC financings for "lead" investors to get a better deal than "follower" investors in the same round. The article asserts that this is typically effected... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2015 at allensblog
In a separate post here, I wrote about an overall framework that entrepreneurs could use to think about competition -- and how to handle the issue in your VC pitch. I think the framework is still good for the intended... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2015 at allensblog
I love the Economist. But, this article, given my everyday experience, doesn’t feel right – kinda like Robert Solow’s quote back in the ‘80’s, “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Productivity_paradox). My own view... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2015 at allensblog
Startup teams form in many different ways. Often, the “core” founder does some homework and recruits the founding team. Sometimes, teams are, more or less, recruited by a VC who has a startup idea but needs entrepreneurs to make it... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2015 at allensblog
In a recent post, I advised entrepreneurs seeking VC funding to think carefully about choosing their co-founders. I claimed this decision is often gotten wrong and that, not infrequently, one or more co-founders leave the company with an amount of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2015 at allensblog
If you want to raise money from VC’s, here’s a really tough, really important question you ought to ask yourself very early in the process: “How many co-founders should I have?” Having the wrong “answer” to this question can make... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2015 at allensblog
Have you ever noticed, that, after the fact, successful companies have many "co-founders", while failed startups have only "early employees". I first noticed this phenomenon when I was a VC, back in the early/mid-2000's. PayPal had just completed the first... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2015 at allensblog
Here is some advice for CEO's from a good friend of mine, John Kernan. John has been a successful serial entrepreneur for 40 or more years. John has, over the years, run companies that have been wildly successful, as well... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2015 at allensblog
As in many other situations involving asymmetric power relationships, VC’s (who usually have the power) like to preserve optionality with startups in which they’re interested (as I wrote here). That is, VCs generally will try to keep interesting deals “on... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2015 at allensblog
It's now a truism, or a cliche, to mention how the "On-Demand" economy is eating the world of personal services (Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, Task Rabbit, Postmates, Instacart and dozens of others). Among a bunch of other reasons, millennials don't want... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2015 at allensblog
I love Tesla, and am a huge fan of Elon Musk (a former client from my lawyer days). But, reading this in a place like the FT (as opposed to (the long defunct) "Industry Standard", as well as "Upside", "Red... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2015 at allensblog
Interesting story in WSJ about how Apple's new mobile web ad blockers are upsetting mobile web publishers and advertisers. The arms race continues, with publishers/advertisers -> ad blockers -> consulting firms that help publishers/advertisers combat ad blockers! Curious twist for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2015 at allensblog
Don’t hire people about whom you have doubts. One will make plenty of hiring mistakes during one's business career by hiring people about whom one had no doubts, but who, nevertheless, don’t work out. But, the failure rate on people... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2015 at allensblog
Every startup seeking financing from VCs faces two kinds of competition: known and unknown. Known: Every startup pitch should have a "Competition" slide, in which it lists and (briefly) describes the bases of competition and the companies with whom it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2015 at allensblog
As pointed out in this article in yesterday's TechCrunch, yet another company, Away, is pursuing the D2C business model -- another instance of the evolution of eCommerce from eCommerce 1.0 to eCommerce 2.0. The article cites WarbyParker & Casper. Hem.com... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2015 at allensblog
Out there in business advice land, there's lots of writing about how good company cultures celebrate, encourage, or, at least accommodate, mistakes. Much of it is pablum, but there are some OK treatments of the topic (here's one I stumbled... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2015 at allensblog
Practice varies, but quite often the last two due diligence items a VC will want to do before offering a term sheet are (1) personal references and (2) customer references. These should be done last because it's easy to "burn... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2015 at allensblog
There's an interesting article today by Sarah Lacy in Pando Daily. In it, she analyzes why there seem to have been a lot of high-profile failures among "celebrity" startups that had raised tons of money, and were being touted as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2015 at allensblog
Interesting article in today's FT with lots of interesting statistics about consumer media consumption and interaction in the UK (but which broadly resembles the US experience). No surprise, perhaps, but more internet access is done using smartphones than laptops. TV... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2015 at allensblog
In today's WSJ, there's a column by Christopher Mims on Virtual Reality: "Virtual Reality Isn't Just About Games". As the title implies, he makes the case that 3-D Immersive VR, while starting in games, will prove to be revolutionary in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2015 at allensblog
The "On Demand" economy (elsewhere, I've called it the crowd-scaled economy and it sure isn't accurate to call it the "sharing" economy) is getting lots of attention, and financing, these days. Just yesterday, Uber announced a round valuing the company... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2015 at allensblog
There are now well over a hundred private tech companies that have announced financings with post-money valuations of over $1B. Having worked on several of these high-valuation deals over the years, it surprises me that no mention (in anything I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2015 at allensblog
Entrepreneurs should be aware of two costs of taking money from angel investors (there are obvious benefits to consider, too). Administrative Overhead (Time Sink): investor relations, for investors of all stripes, takes time by the CEO (but is very important).... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at allensblog