Above the Crowd

On the Road to Recap:

April 21, 2016:

Why the Unicorn Financing Market Just Became Dangerous…For All Involved In February of last year, Fortune magazine writers Erin Griffith and Dan Primack declared 2015 “ The Age of the Unicorns ” noting — “Fortune counts more than 80 startups that have been valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists.” By January of 2016, that number had ballooned to 229 . One key to this population growth has been the remarkable ease of the Unicorn fundraising process: Pick a new valuation well above your last one, put together a presentation deck, solicit offers, and watch the hundreds of million of dollars flow into your bank account. […]

Read More

Benchmark’s New General Partner: Scott Belsky

February 8, 2016:

The partners at Benchmark are delighted to announce that Scott Belsky has joined the firm as our newest general partner. It is rare for us to encounter a partner candidate who has so much experience as an operator, investor, and advisor at such a young age. We have confidence that Scott can be one of the best investors of his generation, and we are excited by the opportunity to have him as a member of our team. Scott came to our attention through his work as an early-stage investor and active advisor to important companies like Uber, Warby Parker, Pinterest and most […]

Read More

In Defense of the Deck

July 7, 2015:

My partners and I have noticed an interesting trend over the past few years: an increase in the number of entrepreneurs who prefer to pitch us without the use of a presentation deck. On one hand, this is totally understandable. Many believe that PowerPoint decks are emblematic of the type of bureaucracy disparaged in Dilbert cartoons. Others want to appear “casual” and “conversational” and view the presentation as overly formal. But, going deck-less can be a risky move, and here is why. Investors are not solely evaluating your company’s story. They are also evaluating your ability to convey that story. Efficiently […]

Read More

…Be Like Dave

May 4, 2015:

Like many of those that had the distinct pleasure of knowing Dave “Goldie” Goldberg, I was shocked and in disbelief when I received the tragic news this past Saturday. I first spent time with Dave when he joined us as an EIR at Benchmark back in 2007, and over the years, we had become good friends. I clearly had become quite accustomed to seeing Dave, because when I realized I would not have a chance to hang with him again it hit me like a ton of bricks. Like so many others, I really, really miss him. For those of you that […]

Read More

Investors Beware: Today’s $100M+ Late-stage Private Rounds Are Very Different from an IPO

February 25, 2015:

[An edited version of the following blog post originally appeared in a modified form in the pages of the weekend edition of the Financial Times last Saturday.] Every successful technology company raises money throughout its lifecycle, perhaps starting with a seed investment and progressing through Series A, B, C, late-stage investments, and, for the most successful companies, an IPO. Historically, different financial institutions specialized in different stages, because the assessment of risk and opportunity was considered unique at each stage — for example, a seed investor was unlikely to do late-stage financing, and vice versa. Over the last few years, the late-stage (pre-IPO) market has become the most competitive, the most crowded, and the frothiest of […]

Read More