Archives For Venture Captial

SXSW Interactive 2015 will be held from March 13-17th and I’m excited to speaking on the topic “Why Black Leaders Matter in Technology“. This will be my seventh time speaking at SXSW in the last eight years. The session will be held on Saturday, March 14th at 9:30am. Yes, that means don’t party to hard on Friday night.

If the title looks familiar, that’s because the talk is inspired from my USA Today article I wrote with the same title, “Wayne Sutton: Why black leaders matter in technology“.

Below is the full session description:

The Why Black Leaders Matter in Technology SXSW session will focus on the roles, responsibilities and impact that takes place when you merge of the worlds of entrepreneurship, culture, diversity, leadership and innovation. Sparked from the USA Today article on “Why black leaders matter in technology” ( ). The session will focus on solutions and research from successful Black leaders in various tech industries to provide an outline for all communities. The Why Black Leaders Matter session is an inclusive session for all diverse communities to discuss the role of African-Americans in tech.

The goal for the session is not only to discuss the “why” but cover the who and how can all communities support inclusion and create more leaders in today’s society.

If you’re attending SXSW, login to and bookmark the session and I’m looking forward to speaking, connecting with new and old friends, along with and answering any questions about the topic as well.

See you in Austin!

Courtesy of: Bplans


Are we in a bubble or not is the question on some LPs and venture capitalist minds. Regardless 2014 was record year in Venture Capital as $47.3 billion invested in 3,617 deals according to CB Insights. Today CB Insights released their U.S. Venture Capital Year in Review – 2014 report which you can download here.

Venture capital funding hit its highest annual mark since 2001 as venture investors participated in $47.3 billion across 3,617 deals. Even versus 2013, the past year was huge as venture capital skyrocketed 62% YoY due to multiple $500M+ mega-rounds while deal growth was more modest, climbing 8%. Of note, two quarters each – Q2’14 and Q4’14 – notched over $13B in funding.

This in-depth report analyzes financing and exit trends across U.S.-based rounds in which VCs participated as well as top investors, exits and deals in 2014. via CBinsights



In 2013, venture capital financing hit $29.2 billion across 3354 deals. Behind the continued surge in early-stage seed venture capital deals, 2013 marked the fifth straight year of record venture capital deal levels. On the funding front, venture capital funding levels increased in each successive quarter in 2013 and hit $8 billion in Q4 2013 across 849 deals – the highest quarterly funding mark since Q2’12 and a sign of potentially growing confidence throughout the venture ecosystem. Compared to 2012 and 2011, 2013 saw venture capital deals rise 3% and 9%. Funding increased 3% from 2012 but did not top 2011’s post-recession high of $30.8 billion.


End of Year Sees Surge of VC Funding

On a monthly basis, venture capital deals in 2013 topped those in 2012 in all but 4 months. October ’13 was the highest month for venture deals over the past year at 317 deals. As with deal levels, October ‘13 was the strongest month for VC funding behind mega tech deals to companies including MongoDB and Pinterest.

via 2013 Venture Capital Financing and Exit Annual Report.

Today I’m pleased to announce the public beta release of PitchTo. PitchTo is a dedicated platform for managing and rating founder pitches and provides a way for entrepreneurs to get feedback on their product or pitch.

While working with founders on their pitch deck either preparing for demo day or investor meetings I saw an ongoing theme. While in person feedback is great, founders would also like a better way to get feedback on their pitch from their network. Two more areas where I saw an opportunity for PitchTo is talking with investors about how they keep track of all their companies they see at pitch events, one on meetings, hackathons and demo days. Ironically, most investors were either using a note taking application like Evernote, google docs or good old pen and paper. The other space where PitchTo could be used is judging hackathons, pitch contest or startup weekends. Surprisely, a lot of the hackathons and pitch contest still use a pen and paper rating system such as in the photo below.

With PitchTo investors, pitch event judges can easily rate pitches and share the rating via email and or on social media sites. But PitchTo is not only for investors. For founders looking to get feedback on their pitch deck or pitch video, you can upload one or both to your profile and ask for feedback or if you’re pitching at an event, ask the audience to use PitchTo to rate your pitch. My thought has always been, during a pitch event or hackathon, it would be helpful for a founder to be able to collect feedback from the audience and not just from the judges.

PitchTo also has with a built in pitch score algorithm based off of nine pitch data points. The PitchTo Score is based on my experience working with founders on their pitches and researching with investors, venture capital firms and angel investment groups. The goal is to standardize how individual pitches are rated using all of the same data points in the decision making process of rating pitches and deciding investments.

The Nine Core Pitch Data Points
Founder: Does the founder has what it takes operate a success business?
Business Model: Does the company have a hockey stick style business model?
Presentation: How well did the founder present their pitch?
Competition Scale: Does the company have a lot of competition? It ranges from none to a crowded market.
Has The Company Found Customer Validation? Does the company have traction or are they still figuring things out?
Size of the Market: What is the big opportunity in terms of revenue, or user growth?
Sentiment: How did the pitch make you feel?
Would You Invest: A simple yes or no.
Would You Use This Product: A simple yes or no.

Additional Pitch Data Points
Rate The Concept Being Pitched: What problem are they trying to solve?
Rate The Team: Is it a “A+” team?
Rate The Design: How does the product user experience and user interface look?
Rate The Originality of the Company: Has this idea been seen/done before?
Overall Polish of the Product the Demo: What was the completion rate of the product during the demo?
Rate The Key Differentiation aka the Secret Sauce: Does this company has something special to increase their chance of success?

PitchTo is still in beta and I’m excited to hear feedback on how to make it even better.

You can join PitchTo at

via prophecy sciences

You need confidence
You are going to fail more than you succeed
Past experiences prepare you
Worse thing is have a partner that doesn’t work hard as you do
Choosing your partners is one of the most important things you can do
Three clicks to book it
There is a lot of stress when starting a company
Investors don’t want Ms they want Bs
Before you quit you have to give it 100%
You need people who will never give up
It’s better to have a few users to love you vs a 1000 users who like you
Do things that don’t scale
perseverance is what matters the most