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The enterprise landscape is poised for a transformation thanks to recent innovations in a technology concept with roots that go way back: automation. In this post, Storm Ventures managing director Ryan Floyd explores the power and potential of automation with Markus Zirn, head of strategy and business development at Workato, a Storm portfolio company that recently completed a funding round.

Let’s start with a basic question: what is this idea of automation? We’ve been hearing a lot lately about RPA and enterprise automation. …


Any business that gets to $15–20M in revenue inevitably attracts some acquisition interest. Getting acquisition interest can be extremely exciting but also distracting. If being acquired is on your radar, now is a good time to research potential investors and learn more about the process. As a VC, I’ve been involved in the funding of more than 200 startups over 20 years, and here are my thoughts and advice for managing the process.

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Who are you dealing with?

There are many kinds of potential buyers, each with different motivations and strategies. Here is a rundown of the three most common acquirers:

A public company:

Public…


It’s tough as a founder on so many levels. As an investor in B2B startups, I’ve seen many of the same mistakes made — here are some thoughts on maybe trying to avoid some of the biggest pitfalls.

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GOING WITH THE WRONG CO-FOUNDER

The right co-founder is critical. The wrong one could cost you half the company — or worse sink the entire ship. The things you should optimize for are trust and transparency. Is she a great coder — great. But can you trust her? Transparency and trust are foundational because whether you fail or succeed, I promise you, there will be difficult days.


This is how I, as an investor, want to receive pitches

It might seem incredible that an unsolicited email from a startup founder to an investor they’ve never met could result in a response, let alone a multimillion-dollar deal, but it does happen. I know because we’ve made investments this way, including one of the most valuable companies in the Storm portfolio, which came to us through a cold email.

In this post, I’ll explain the qualities that can make a cold email successful — at least for me — so let’s dive in.

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Target your email appropriately

If you’re thinking about blasting out a mass email to every investor you can find an address…


What is the difference between an angel investor and a VC, and which should your tech start-up pitch to for investment?

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As a venture capital (VC) investor in tech startups, I’m often asked by new founders what the difference is between what I do and what angel investors do. They also want to know how pitching to angel investors differs from pitching to VCs.

What follows is a summary of the differences and a look at how those distinctions might impact your pitching strategy as a tech startup looking for different levels of funding.

What differentiates an angel investor from a VC

The lines have blurred over the years in the tech space, and there may be people who will disagree, but I see the fundamental difference between an…


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We all know data has become one the most potentially valuable resources inside of the enterprise — this has been a building trend for a decade, made even more real with the widespread cloud adoption coupled with relatively inexpensive data storage and applications (Teradata was great but came at a substantial cost). We have been on an amazing path in technology over the past decade collecting more and more data to help us make better decisions, make us more productive, and deliver new services.

Data is great — but if you cannot make use of it then all the effort…


Ryan Floyd, co-founding MD of Storm Ventures, explores how to create a strategy to tackle customer churn for a tech startup

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‘One of the biggest challenges for fast-growing companies is that because of all of the growth and spending, some of the issues causing customer churn can be hard to isolate and understand, which compounds the problem.’

You might think you’re onboarding plenty of business and making customers happy, but churn can strike unexpectedly. Some churn is normal but if it results in a 15+% loss of annual revenue, something is wrong and needs attention. The best companies have negative churn — that is they are expanding in their customer accounts so that growth in existing accounts is greater than any…


Nine-ish months into the global Covid-19 pandemic, remote work culture has truly taken hold by the sheer necessity for many organizations. It’s been challenging for many to navigate, and now there are new at-scale remote work challenges to solve. The novelty wore off about six months ago; at this point, it’s just reality. In many ways, however, it has opened our collective perspective on how to work more effectively. We convened a virtual roundtable discussion with several CFOs from companies in the Storm Ventures portfolio to see how they’re meeting these challenges, specifically from a CFO point of view.

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Storm Ventures’ roundtable for portfolio companies’ CFOs was hosted via the SignalWire platform, one of our latest investments

Making relocations permanent

Foremost…


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You probably already know the basics of term sheets. There have been many posts put together on things like valuation and types of stock, SAFEs, and option pools. In this post, I’ll delve into some more subtle details and challenges involved in negotiating your term sheet as an entrepreneur. This includes the intricacies of startup vesting — particularly founder vesting agreements — and pro rata rights.

Founder vesting agreements and why they’re important

Very few founders get their shares immediately. Not that it never happens, but it’s pretty rare. Most institutional investors will require you to impose some level of startup vesting. …


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Since the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic, it’s likely you’ve had to convert your existing team to a remote one involuntarily, or you’ve had to hire a totally new remote team. Naturally, this brings challenges. Below I’ve outlined the common ones I’ve come across with our portfolio companies and the best solutions they’ve found.

The two main types of remote workplaces that have emerged are Fully Distributed Remote Workers and Remote Teams.

  • A company with Fully Distributed Remote Workers may not have an office at all, or only a small one that acts as headquarters. Its workforce is mostly…

Ryan Floyd

Founder / Partner Storm Ventures. Early stage investor in enterprise focused startups in mobile, SaaS and cloud infrastructure blog: http://ryanfloyd.org

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