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Rethinking Building Value

Posted by: Gillian Muessig on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

CEO’s hear this a lot: “Your Prime Directive is to BUILD VALUE FOR THE COMPANY.” We tell CEOs that everything must be run through the filter, “Is what I’m doing, being asked to do, spend time or money on, going to build value for my company?” 

We even tell that to CEOs who have not yet taken outside investment, unlike who have taken investment. They have a new boss – the investor or investors collectively. They made a written agreement with those investors to work to build value for the company in a good faith effort to return a multiple of the invested capital back to the investors.

Let’s talk about broader definitions for the term ‘value’ with respect to ‘building value for the company’ that CEOs must have front and center in their thoughts every day.

Built-in Bias: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

Posted by: Anthea Marley on Sunday, October 15, 2017
Anthea Marley - Plain Speaking

Is it racist to acknowledge that someone has a different skin color? Anthea Marley speaks the plain truth about diversity & inclusion in the workplace

Inclusion is Good Business

Posted by: Anne Kennedy & Gillian Muessig on Thursday, February 2, 2017
inclusion, diversity

We interviewed Portland investor and TiE Global member Nitin Ray recently and he‘s ‘Bullish on inclusion’ in his own words. Well, everywhere I look now I see folks talking about inclusion, from big firms like Deloittte to venture firms like Kapor Capital to start ups like Asana.


Nitin Rai told us our country is becoming a ‘United Colors of Benetton’ Nation, and I’ve got to say I’m a believer. So let’s break it down. There’s a growing trend among savvy companies from ‘diversity’ toward ‘inclusion’. Here’s why: ‘Diversity’ focuses on differences, while ‘inclusion’ asks ‘how do we bring different people together? ‘Diversity’ had become code talk for hiring underrepresented minorities and women – certainly worthy goals. 

6 Ways to Tune Up Your Business Plan

Posted by: Anne Kennedy & Gillian Muessig on Wednesday, December 7, 2016
business plan core elements

Business plans.

Yeah, we all groan about writing them, and put doing so off as long as possible. What’s worse, how many business plans wind up in a file drawer, or in the cloud, never to be read again? So, I just have to ask “What is your business plan for?”

Avoid Barking up the Wrong Tree.

Posted by: Anne Kennedy & Gillian Muessig on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Finding investors.

It appears there is no slow down in this activity for Q4, if events are any indication. We just spent a day with investors from China at Seattle Biz TechSummit, and two major investor summits are took place in Europe: The NOAH conference in London and Web Summit in Lisbon. While it’s questionable whether a start-up will actually get funded at these, they are nevertheless excellent opportunities to make contact with potential investors. We certainly saw a lot of that at The Chinese Investor event.

We’re concerned about how many times startups actually qualify their potential investors so they don’t waste precious time and effort going after those who will never funds them … i.e. barking up the wrong tree?

What you Must Do in November: Evaluate your Team

Posted by: Anne Kennedy & Gillian Muessig on Wednesday, November 23, 2016

t’s November! What do start ups absolutely need to be doing this penultimate month of 2016?

Focus on the team, your employees.

In March we said the most important thing that must be done was to take a look at your team and ask the following questions:

Is everyone on the right seat on the bus? How did they perform in 2015? How much did their functions move your start up forward? Are their functions and responsibilities aligned with your 2016 goals?

Now as we approach the end of 2016, it’s time to review your employees’ performances. Again.

Build a Perfect Founder

Posted by: Anne Kennedy & Gillian Muessig on Thursday, August 4, 2016
Think like \'Build-a-Bear\' to build a perfect founder

Ever hear of ‘Build A Bear’… that site where you can put together your perfect Teddy Bear?

Well, we got to thinking about what it would take to build a perfect founder. Seriously. Let’s talk about how to build the perfect founder and how to get/identify/be one. We culled a few from some of our favorite go-to sources: First Round Review, Fast Company and Techstars.