Valuing early stage companies

When presenting a term sheet, I am often asked, “how did you come up with this valuation?” I have heard VCs answer that question ambiguously by proclaiming that “valuing early stage startups is more art than science.” In my opinion, that is akin to admitting that you put your finger in the air and conjure…More

Is generative AI the next platform shift?

The global economy was once fueled by industrialization. Today it’s fueled by knowledge and information. Major technological advances and platform shifts have accelerated this transition—in the 1990s it was the Internet. The 2000s brought the era of cloud computing. The 2010s gave rise to smartphone ubiquity. What were once emergent platforms went on to broaden…More

Loss ratios in VC

Loss aversion and FOMO are powerful forces that drive VC behavior. The pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other. Both are dangerous. Companies measure dollar and logo churn rates. VCs do the same with dollar and “logo” (aka investment count) losses. Losses are part of business. According to Cambridge Associates, 20% dollar losses…More

My investment in Rupa Health

My friend Tara Viswanathan was desperate to find a treatment for her mom’s chronic skin condition. World-class doctors and dermatologists were stumped. So Tara turned to specialty testing and root cause medicine for answers. Root cause medicine is the practice of understanding the root cause of illness rather than simply slapping on band-aids or prescribing pills…More

Why meat is like a PalmPilot

I am fond of Peter Thiel’s interview question: “what is one thing you believe that most others don’t?” One of my own answers to this question is that within the next few decades, meat as we know it will be obsolete. Most of this country will be plant based or eating meat that is grown…More

Distribution and conversion models for consumer startups

This is a piece I co-authored with Alexandra Sukin and originally posted on the Bessemer blog. We often describe breakout consumer internet businesses as earthquakes that occur out of nowhere, and are so powerful they feel like forces of nature and movements that are bigger than the brands themselves. But what powers the tectonic shifts that create…More

Roadmap Update: Remote Work

I first published my remote work roadmap (below) just three months before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the U.S. It was inspired by over a year of research that led to my conviction that remote and distributed work was inevitable. Removing geography as a constraint to team building would be transformative. It felt like I…More

Payback’s a gift

My framework for assessing CAC payback Payback is a _________ Each year, we meet hundreds of internet businesses that run the gamut from industry or vertical to product and business model — and just about everything in between. On the surface, these businesses might not have much in common; internally, we’ve converged around one single metric that’s…More

The State of Sound: Audio in 2020 and Beyond

By Gaby Goldberg & Talia Goldberg. Originally published in Bessemer’s Atlas. Audio is experiencing a Cambrian moment, growing faster now than it ever has before. Apple is expected to sell over 100 million AirPods this year, up from 60 million in 2019. Roughly one in four adults owns a smart speaker, with a third of…More

Enabling Entrepreneurship

By Talia Goldberg, Sakib Dadi, Lindsey Li. Originally published in Bessemer’s Atlas. Contrary to popular belief, starting a business has never been harder. Although startup culture sometimes feels more like pop culture in mainstream media, the number of new businesses formed each year is decreasing. Over the past 30 years, new business creation has declined…More