Which Chicagoans are best at mentoring women?

TROY HENIKOFF

53, managing director, Math Venture Partners; lecturer on entrepreneurship and innovation, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management

"I love helping entrepreneurs," says Henikoff, founder of SurePayroll.com and co-founder of Excelerate Labs, now Techstars Chicago. "It's awesome to see them succeed." Henikoff requires chemistry in a mentoring relationship. "There needs to be something there—I am passionate about the company or person, and the company has to want to work with me," he says. Honesty is also necessary. "Some people think I'm too tough or trying to be a jerk," he says. "I'm not. I'm trying to help."

Amanda Lannert, CEO of Chicago-based Jellyvision, welcomes "unvarnished truth" from Henikoff. "He will tell you what you need to hear so you can get better," says Lannert, 44. She attributes a third of her network to Henikoff, and says he has sent employees, customers and other advisers her way. He's also helped her with venture pitches, one of which just yielded a $20 million investment in Jellyvision, which creates interactive employee-communication software. "I am a CEO because he was incredibly helpful with advice," Lannert says.

Henikoff mentors via 30-minute open-office appointments every Friday, a service he publicizes via Twitter, and through Techstars Chicago. The heaviest mentoring takes place through Math Venture Partners, where he invests time and ultimately money in startups he'd like to succeed.

Even while mentoring, Henikoff protects his network. One example is the way he handles requests for introductions. Henikoff asks for a forwardable email explaining why a mentee wants that introduction. He then forwards it to the person of interest. "I don't want people to feel obligated," Henikoff says. He sends four to five such emails a day with a success rate of 95 percent to 98 percent. "It's really amazing how this community is open to helping," he says.

Why Your Boss Is Still a White Guy

We’re not even talking about the right causes of the diversity problem in tech yet.

For the second year now, VC firm First Round Capital has released a fantastic “State of Startups” annual report. First Round surveyed over 700 founders and CEOs of technology startups to get their impressions on the current landscape of the startup world. The survey covers things like whether or not we’re in a bubble, how the IPO market is looking, and--yes--diversity in the tech world.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, you should definitely check out the report. It’s a relatively quick read and will give you a good fix for how folks are feeling about the environment we’re in today. But I want to dig into one particular topic that is near and dear to my heart: the fact that only 3% of venture funding goes to women and a measly 1% goes to people of color.

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5 reasons picking an investor is about more than the money

For those who follow the startup scene closely, it can be easy to get caught up in how much money a company is raising. But where the funding comes from can be just as important as the amount, because seasoned investors have a lot more to offer.

“Money is just money,” said MATH Venture Partners Managing Director Mark Achler. “The real value-add is our experience in scaling companies.”

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Startup Financial Modeling, Part 4: The Balance Sheet, Cash Flow and Unit Economics

By Will Little and Troy Henikoff

In the first three articles in this series, we looked at the big-picture motivation for startup financial modeling, why it’s important to start with your assumptions, and how to practically build your income statement and custom detail tabs. Today, we’ll finish off the series by examining how to construct the final components necessary to complete your model, including a quick discussion of unit economics and how to best keep your model updated. Feel free to ping us on Twitter (@wclittle@troyhenikoff) with any questions.

Download a Copy of the Example Model

To make following along this final article easier, download a free copy of our example financial model here. Remember, understanding the nuances of your own unique business is critical, so only use this (and any other model you find online) as a guide while you build your own model from scratch.

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Kicking The Can

When it comes to investment structures, I hope that my 30+ years as an entrepreneur and VC has led to some wisdom about what works and what doesn’t because it certainly has led me to have strong opinions on the topic.  People like to say that VCs are in the pattern recognition business.  If that’s true, then today I’m seeing a troubling pattern developing around company valuations aided and abetted by the overuse of debt.

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Startup Financial Modeling, Part 3: The Income Statement and Custom Detail Tabs

by Will Little and Troy Henikoff

In the first two posts in this series, we examined why building a financial model for your startup is important and how to practically get started with your assumptions tab. Today, we’ll continue by diving into the income statement and supporting tabs used to calculate your projected revenue and expenses.

But first, in case you aren’t yet convinced that it’s worth your time to build a financial model for your business, here’s a quick video we put together showing how a model can be used to gain insight about what assumptions drive forecasted cash most significantly:

We’ll discuss these types of learning nuances in more detail in our next (and final) post in this series. But first, we have some work to do in order to fill out the model.

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Startup Financial Modeling, Part 2: Start with Your Assumptions

by Will Little and Troy Henikoff

In the previous post of this series, we described what financial modeling is and why it is important for startup founders to build their own models from scratch. Today, we’ll begin by diving into how to practically start building a financial model.

Good financial models are built from the bottom up. They have assumptions that flow into backup sheets that flow into monthly statements that flow into annual summaries. You literally start with the smallest component and start building up.

What is an Assumptions Tab?

The assumptions tab should be the first tab within your spreadsheet and contain variables that will be referenced from other tabs. Rather than manually entering data into your income statement, you’ll roll up variables across your assumption and detail tabs. The ONLY place you should ever type a number is into an assumption cell. Every other cell is a calculation based on the assumptions!

The types of assumptions you’ll want to define are unique for your business type. Most commonly they are related to expected revenue from each product/service you sell, expected costs, initial investment dollars in the bank, etc…

Read More Here