Event Posts

Last week, Naval threw a Venture Hacks meetup at SXSW and sat on the Seed Combinators Panel with Paul Graham, David Cohen, Marc Nathan, and Joshua Baer. Much thanks to everyone who joined us. Here are some pics and highlights.


Photo by Joshua Baer

Photo by Elegant Machines

My favorite paraphrased quotes from the panel — I grabbed them from Dave McClure’s tweets:

“Can you start a startup alone? Yes, of course. it’s entirely possible to raise kids alone, but it’s easier to do it in a marriage.” – Naval

“The Y-Combinator application form is like an intellectual CAPTCHA.” – Paul Graham

“Incubators are graduate school for entrepreneurs… instead of getting a job, create jobs.” – Naval

“We often fund companies on 2nd/3rd try… Drew Houston at DropBox was an initial reject.” – Paul Graham

“Press is negative ROI in most startups.” – Naval

ReadWriteWeb also has a good round-up of the panel.


The last minute meetup was a monster, check out the pics and video. Thanks to everyone who came. You can find each other on Plancast and Facebook.

Photos and video by John Price

Naval here.

For those of you going to SXSW, I’ll be on the Seed Combinators Panel on Monday March 15 3:30pm. I’m joining Paul Graham, David Cohen, Marc Nathan, and Joshua Baer to talk about YStars, TechCombinators, SeedBoxes, and the like. Here’s the Plancast if you want me to “count you in.”

I’m also throwing a SXSW Venture Hacks Meetup on Sunday March 14 5-7pm in the Four Seasons Lobby Lounge at 98 San Jacinto Blvd. If you’re coming to the meetup, please RSVP on Facebook xor Plancast so we can get a headcount.

If you’re a Venture Hacker, please come talk to me about your startup and venture hacking at these two events. I’m looking forward to pressing the flesh and kissing some babies.

We’re teaching our first ever online workshop about “How to pitch investors” on eduFire — a platform for live video teaching online. Sign up here. I’ve taken classes on eduFire and it works really well; here are some recordings of their classes.

(Update: This class is full so I’ve opened up a second class. Sign up here.)

(Another update: The second class is also full. E-mail me to get on the waiting list for the next class. And if you want to buy a recording of the class, e-mail me or contact me on eduFire. We obviously won’t be able to work on your pitch with a recording, so it’s half the price ($49).)

What you’ll accomplish

You could be building the next Google — but investors won’t know it if your pitch doesn’t sing. You’re going to “walk” out the workshop with:

  • A great pitch for your startup.
  • A list of things your startup will need to accomplish before you can raise money.
  • An understanding of the fundamentals of pitching so you can revise your pitch anytime and teach your friends how to do it.
  • A copy of our Pitching Hacks e-book.

First we’ll cover the fundamentals:

What investors want to see
How to get intros to investors
High-concept pitches
Elevator pitches
Decks and presentations

Then we’ll work on your pitch as a group. You’ll get lots of hands-on advice from me and other students. I’ll also be sharing some of my latest pitching techniques which we haven’t published anywhere.

This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this and I’m psyched.

Time and Cost

The workshop costs $98 (just like Wal-Mart) and there are only 3 2 slots left (uh, somebody signed up while I was writing this). It consists of 2 sessions on Tuesday Nov 3rd 5-6pm Pacific and Thursday Nov 5th 5-6pm Pacific. You go to both sessions. Sign up here.

(Update: This class is full so I’ve opened a second class on Wed Nov 4th 1-2pm Pacific and Friday Nov 6th 1-2pm Pacific. You go to both sessions. Sign up here.)

(Another update: The second class is also full. If you want to buy a recording of the class, e-mail me or contact me on eduFire. We obviously won’t be able to work on your pitch with a recording, so it’s half the price.)


We’ve helped startups raise tens of millions of dollars from investors like Sequoia, Benchmark, Bessemer, etc. See the reviews of our pitching advice from entrepreneurs like Adam Smith at Xobni and Jonathan Grubb from Get Satisfaction.


The only prerequisite is determination. You’ll be even better prepared if you read the fundamentals above.

Contact me on eduFire or email nivi@venturehacks.com if you have any questions and sign up here.

This post is for people who want to get drunk with Boston VCs and help charity at the same time. For free.

Atlas Venture and General Catalyst are throwing a charity wine party in Boston on Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 6pm. You can buy tickets at TUGG’s site and learn more in this Xconomy article. VCs from about 10 Boston funds will be attending: Spark, Battery, CRV, etc.

Free tickets

They’ve given us 5 free tickets to give away (they’re normally $150) and we’re running a contest to give them away: Where do you think the money should go this year? Last year, the party raised $40K for Build, a Silicon Valley non-profit that helps students start small businesses.

Send your idea to dsamuels@tugg.org or tweet it with the #tugg tag. We’ll give free tickets to the 5 best ideas. Even if you don’t know where the money should go, send a note to say hello and introduce yourself.

Atlas Venture: A new supporter

Atlas Venture is now supporting Venture Hacks. That’s another way of saying they’re sponsoring us. But I like the idea behind “support” better. It’s more like the Hewlett Foundation sponsoring PBS, and less like P&G buying an ad on Days of our Lives.

Frankly, Atlas has supported us financially for quite a long time; I was an EIR at Atlas while I was getting Venture Hacks started. Many other firms and people have also supported us financially and otherwise — we need to figure out a way to thank them soon.