How crucial is business planning for a new business idea?
BF: A classical business plan is not useful at this point. Instead, I recommend people use Eric Ries’ Lean Startup Methodology and Steve Blank’s Startup Canvas approach.
What are your impressions of the start-up scene in Asia, and what are the challenges these companies face in being competitive against those in Silicon Valley?
BF: I don’t know the startup scene in Asia specifically well enough to have any deep comments.
What are the three most important things for startups to get right?
BF: People, product, and customers.
Can entrepreneurs be taught? Or are the skills innate?
BF: It’s both. There are an immense amount of educational opportunities available now – the immersive ones are by far the best. Things like Startup Weekend and accelerators like TechStars – where you get to deeply engage in creating companies while surrounded by mentors.
What are the biggest causes of startup failure?
BF: The wrong people on the team. A lack of understanding of what the customer really wants. And – running out of money!
What trends do you see in tech startups at the moment?
BF: Many more seed stage companies are getting started, which I think is awesome. The barriers to getting started continue to come down dramatically.
What are you looking for when you invest in a new startup?
BF: We have a set of themes that we use as our primary filter – Take a look at http://www.foundrygroup.com/themes for what we are interested in.