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Why your startup idea isn’t big enough for some VCs

Venture Capital functions with a power law where the majority of a fund’s returns come from a small percentage of investments. Because of this, VCs need to know if a single investment can return the entire fund. As Bill Gurley famously said “Venture capital is not even a home run business. It’s a grand slam business.” This is where the Return The Fund (RTF) analysis comes into play.

What’s Next For Egg Freezing?

A few years ago I read an article titled Why Egg Freezing is an Impossible Choice. The concept of women freezing their eggs (more formally known as Oocyte Cryopreservation) was not foreign to me, but it was the first time in years I had read about the process as well as any technological progress that had been made. (It turns out, it was in 2012 when the American Society for Reproductive Medicine...

If You’re Not Too Early, You’re Too Late

“Being too early is indistinguishable from being wrong.” — Tim O’Reilly The earliest I could find this quote by Tim O’Reilly was in 2011, however I would wager that this was muttered years before that and has since been said at least once by every VC, startup founder, and even on HBO’s Silicon Valley. The only problem is, in many cases being too early no longer means you’re wrong, it means you...

The Next Seat Belt

Seat belts (paired with airbags) fundamentally changed the safety dynamic of driving for consumers to a point where they became required in all vehicles. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will have a similar trajectory. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are systems developed to automate/adapt/enhance vehicle systems for safety and better driving. Safety features are designed to...

What Everyone in Autonomous Vehicles is (and will be) Talking About

As with any new industry that catches the interest of the general public, there are often a lot of repetitive questions and topics that come up in the news, on panels, and in conversation. Having spent a fair amount of time reading, learning, and writing, and a little bit of time investing in the autonomous vehicle space, I’ve gotten to hear many POVs on most major topics. What follows are some...

Satellite Launchers: The most overcrowded pickaxe in space?

In 2011, Chris Dixon wrote a post titled Selling pickaxes during a gold rush. He explained the dynamics of pickaxes as follows: When a major new technology trend emerges — say, the rise of online video or social media — entrepreneurs can try to capitalize on the trend by creating a consumer product (mining for gold), or by creating tools to enable consumer products (selling pickaxes). The idea of...

Robotics Exits & A PE Fund

As I’ve been diving deeper into developing our investment thesis for Robotics I’ve started to look at a lot of the data surrounding exits in the space. The largest non-public-to-public exit in robotics in the past 7 years was Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics) for $775M. In fact, there have been less than 15 robotics exits over $100M since 2009, per CB Insights data. The upper-bound of...

Breaking Down The Drone Stack

I’ve been studying the drone ecosystem in-depth for more than a year, initially resulting in the Future of Frontier Tech report I wrote at CB Insights. Today, as an investor at Rothenberg Ventures, I’ve continued to dig deeper in an effort to identify the key opportunities emerging within each part of the drone stack. As a team at Rothenberg Ventures, we’re continually honing our thoughts and...

(H)edge Cases in Autonomous Vehicles

In programming, an edge case typically involves input values that require special handling in an algorithm behind a computer program. As a measure for validating the behavior of computer programs in such cases, unit tests are usually created; they are testing boundary conditions of an algorithm, function or method. Source: Wikipedia The thought process I’m continuing to hear more and more in the...

What Future Do You Believe In?

I had a conversation with a friend who is a founder of an autonomous vehicle software company about where the future of startups/emerging companies are within his space. We really started to get somewhere when he asked me “well, what kind of future do you believe in?” It’s an obvious framework in theory, but that single question is so far reaching that it helps tease out a lot. For autonomous...

Aging Populations and Personal Robotics

I was reading about the rise of social robots and what some of the leading researchers are working on in the space and was confronted by this quote: As countries worldwide face challenges of an aging population, social robots can be one solution to address the shrinking workforce, become personal companions for children and the elderly at home, and even serve as a platform for healthcare services...

How I Hacked Together An SMS Concierge Service In 1 Hour

Earlier this year I ran experiment where I created an SMS-based food/drink recommendation service called The Key. The Key was a simple idea — text a phone number with certain parameters (neighborhood, price point, atmosphere) and get back 1–3 recommendations on where to go for a meal or a drink. Why did I do this? I’ve lived in New York City for 6 years now and in addition to having a passion for...

The Next-Gen Meal Stack

I’ve written a fair amount about the broad “food tech” space looking at financing trends, overcrowding, city expansion, as well as the consumer behavior attached to the different spaces within the food consumption industry. As I continue to think about the space, I wanted to get a few thoughts down on what I call the Next-Gen Meal Stack. First, there have been plenty of articles discussing the...

Commoditization & Differentiation of Drones Services

Drones are a key component to my Data 2.0 thesis. Not only do drones allow us to do things that previously weren’t possible at a commercially viable price point, but they are already proving able to replace other segments of the aerospace market like some forms of satellite imagery gathering or aerial monitoring via traditional planes. We’ve seen Drone funding explode in the past year, and if I...