A few months ago I left my job as a partner at a venture capital firm to start Plus, a startup building tools to help people capture, see, and share data from different sources. I thought most people would think that was crazy, but everyone I’ve spoken to — including my very risk-averse in-laws 😅 — has been surprisingly excited that I’m building something I’m passionate about.

According to the NY Times, ~50% of tech workers want to leave their job this year, so it’s not surprising that many people ask me why I did it. Here are some of…

Here’s a list of questions that VCs ask startups during the diligence process, along with some color on what they are *really* asking when they pose certain questions.

This is all written from the perspective of an early stage startup investor (me 👋) meeting a new startup, but hopefully it’s a useful resource to anyone investing time or money in a startup — whether you are vetting a new idea, evaluating startup jobs, or discussing a partnership with a startup.

Generally, I try to get through most of these topics in a 45 minute “first meeting,” so that’s why it’s…

Apparently this house costs $500M. But this article isn’t really about houses. Sorry!

Working in startup world really skews your perspective on what a company should be worth, just like living in the Bay Area really skews your perspective on what you to expect if you pay $1M for a house.

Inspired by those articles that show you what you can buy for $1M in different parts of the country, here are some financial metrics for three Seattle area companies. They look very different, but all are valued around $500M. Can you guess what each of them are?

Early stage startups, later stage startups, and public tech companies in the PNW

I’ve been working in Pacific Northwest venture capital for five years now, which means I’ve finally reached a kindergarten-level understanding of startups and investing! 🥳 In celebration, here’s a look back at how the PNW startup market has changed over those five years.

1. Many more deals, and even more capital

Since 2015, there’s been a 2x increase in the number of VC-backed seed deals per year, and the median seed deal has gone from a $1M investment at a $5M post-money valuation to a $2M investment at a $10M valuation.

Because of the combination of more deals and higher…

…and how many seed investments we might see this year

Data from Pitchbook

The chart above shows the number of seed deals per month for the last decade. In 2020, seed rounds have plummeted to levels we haven’t seen since 2013. For the last three years, there have been 2,000 to 2,500 seed deals by the end of March, but this year there have only been 1,200.

Interestingly, there is typically a spike in deals every January, and this year we did not see that spike, perhaps indicating a slowdown in the Chinese startup market and/or VCs paying early attention to the spread…

Last week, I shared some opinions on what’s going to happen to the startup market over the next few quarters. But this week, I thought I’d get some data instead of just speculating (breaking all sorts of VC rules).

Here are some observations on what will happen to venture deals over the next few quarters by looking at VC-backed deals before and after the 2000 dot-com crash and the 2008 global financial crisis.

Early Stage Deals and Valuations

The charts above show the number of Seed and Series A deals (blue bars), as well as their median post-money valuations (red lines), in the years before…

For the first time in human history, the entire world is focused on one problem. -@naval

image from u/RudyWillingham on r/seattle

One bright spot in the COVID-19 pandemic is everyone coming together to fight a common enemy (maybe, for the first time ever?). Many of the most iconic companies and institutions in the Pacific Northwest have been announcing initiatives to help out during this crisis, so here is a list of amazing PNW COVID-19 projects I’ve been watching:

📰 Staying informed: Fantastic, free coverage from the Seattle Times. Business news and updates from Geekwire. Great live updates from MyNorthwest. Dashboards and data from Tableau and…

There is an overwhelming amount of information about coronavirus out there right now, so I wanted to pull together the three most important charts for understanding the state of COVID-19 in the US right now. Here are three charts that summarize the current situation in terms of growth, severity, and next steps:

1. COVID-19 Cohort Chart by Country

One of the things we always look at in our investments is the performance of cohorts. …

Over the last few weeks, the S&P 500 dropped over 10%, with the largest one-day declines in nearly a decade. You’ve probably seen lots of articles about individual stocks that have been heavily impacted by coronavirus like Carnival Cruise Lines (-50% YTD) and Zoom (+65% YTD), but here are some category-level observations on what investors are buying and selling.

S&P 500 Performance by Sector

During the large drops on February 27 and 28, the various S&P 500 sectors moved together pretty closely, but last week, some sectors began to recover while others declined further:

Daniel Li

Founder of Plus, a tool to help people easily capture, see, and share data. Formerly a VC at Madrona Venture Group. Writing about startups and investing

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