C2V Aug. '19 Notes from the Trenches

Welcome Aboard the Inaugural C2V Newsletter!

As most longtime friends of C2V know, we’re always up to something new and we like to share, so a newsletter seemed inevitable. Welcome to the inaugural C2 Ventures monthly update. 

Whether you’re a founder, a VC peer in the startup community, or you were otherwise lucky enough to make this list, we want this to be one of your most important reads of the month. So hold us to it!

The Latest From C2V

Here’s a quick recap (for the fortunate few who haven’t been cornered by Chris at an event in the past few months):

Company Expansion

C2V moved from being an angel investor brand to launching an early-stage venture fund, and in doing so we brought on Matt Olivo, a finance industry veteran who previously co‐ran a $1 billion trade finance portfolio and was later the CFO of a mid-sized trading firm. Most recently, Matt founded his own capital-raising and outsourced CFO-services business for several privately held trading companies and startups. Welcome Matt, it’s awesome to have you on the C2V Team!

Original Content Production

We partnered with a producer (a veteran of Saturday Night Live, Above Average and Animal Planet) and many other content producers to establish C2V Studios. Since then, Studios has completed our first promotional segment for Journy, a curated online travel service.

In addition, we’re continuing our series of founder and investor interviews, aimed at sharing experience and advice from the brightest minds in the startup ecosystem.

Check Out C2V Studios

The “Anti-Conference” Stories Summit

This exclusive C2 Ventures event is an invitation-only one-day gathering at a cool, private, and soon-to-be disclosed location, where founders, CEOs, and venture capitalists can let down their guard, pull up a chair, and share the untold life lessons, advice, and boardroom war-stories behind building some of today’s most successful companies.

The Stories Summit will feature world-class content, inspiring speakers, and outstanding networking opportunities to help foster leadership, industry advancement, and partnerships that will take your business to the next level. Stories is currently slated for March and sponsor opportunities are limited but still available. 

Stay tuned next month and beyond for:

  • Details on our fund’s initial close and the exciting companies we’ve identified for our first three investments

  • Our second C2V Studios promotional segment (currently in post-production) featuring a company that has built a leading-edge data marketplace

  • Our soon-to-be-launched podcast in partnership with Bill Wise of Mediaocean

The Intersection of Capital, Content, and Time:

As most of you know, this our credo, our mission, and our reason for being. We’re here because of the statistic that 75% of today’s startups fail, and more importantly, the pervasive view that this outcome is inevitable. C2 Ventures wants to change this misconception. 

Our experience and a growing body of research has shown that most startup failures are due to basic early-stage execution and management mistakes that are avoidable, and experienced advisor engagement can be a game-changing mitigant, which ties into our theme for this month’s publication. Startup failure is NOT an inevitability!

Check out blog post

Inspiring words from the trenches:

We have a slide in our investor pitch deck with the header,

“We Believe That While Unicorns May Be Random Probability Events, Zero-Return Investments Are Not.”

As we briefly touched on above, there is increasing evidence, beyond our own experience, that there is real merit to this idea. 

In a 2018 CB Insights Study of startup failures (from post-mortem interviews with founders of 101 failed companies), nearly 73% of reasons given pointed to financial, strategic, or operational management issues, while only 21% of reasons given related to misreading product/market fit or the character of management teams.

Examples of reasons given for failed startups included “Ran Out of Cash,” “Pricing/Cost Issues,” “Product Without a Business Model,” “Poor Marketing,” “Lose Focus,” and “Didn't Use Network (Not Leveraging Investors).”

These are all mistakes that, in our opinion, engaged advisors and investors can, and should, be able to help founders avoid. We hope this helps illustrate our belief in the early-stage community’s potential for increasing startup success rates. This is not just a tagline or even an idea supported only by anecdotal evidence from a limited data set. It’s real, there is a solution, and we aim to be part of that solution. 

What the C2V Team is Reading & Listening to:

Principles by Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio is a successful investor and entrepreneur. According to him, it wasn't a special set of innate abilities or skills that helped him achieve his success, but a series of unconventional principles that anyone can adopt. Whether it’s for business or life in general, Dalio's guide is a valuable resource to help any person or organization reach their goals.

How I Built This With Guy Raz - Peleton: John Foley

In general, we consider HIBT a must-listen podcast with many great episodes. Key takeaway: The profile of the investor is far less important than the support they can provide to the founders. In Peloton’s case, initial disappointment in failing to attract big-name VCs eventually resulted in a group of investors who believed in the company and put in the time and effort to make sure it succeeded.

That’s all for now. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, and we look forward to hearing from you. 

Chris & Matt

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