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Know your market; the sources of capital are your partners; hire the best people
Bob Grady, who heads the Carlyle Group's investments in venture and growth capital, has been watching startup companies succeed and fail for two decades.
Before joining the huge private equity firm, Grady was a managing director at Robertson Stephens, the one-time San Francisco-based technology investment bank that took public many of the largest tech companies.
Grady served as Robbie Stephens' lead investment banker on over 150 public market financings and M&A transactions.
Now Grady, based in San Francisco, is responsible for nine funds with $3.5 billion under management and is always on the lookout for "great ideas," as he told us in his Vator.tv pitch.
His first piece of advice for startup entrepreneurs is "to know your market," including how big it is, how fast it's growing, who your competitors are -- or are likely to be -- and know how your going to compete with them.
Have answers to the questions about your market that potential investors are likely to ask you, Grady says, including what the dynamics are that are driving it.
When it comes to raising money from angels and venture capitalists, Grady says that you have to think about more than just how much of the company you're giving away.
"Your sources of capital are more than that... they're also you're partners," he says. "When you partner with a venture capitalist, they're likely to be your partner for four or five years," Grady
Lastly, Grady -- who's served as a board member of dozens of companies, says that people are the most important asset of a young company.
"Find, recruit and motivate the very best people you can," he says.
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