Picture Credit: https://www.wanderwithjo.com/6-modern-libraries-worth-visit/

Marathon reading is my favorite mental stimulation. This summer, almost every day I took time to unplug and let my brain feast on some fascinating reads. I’ve rounded up the list of five of my favorites:

Picture credits: https://ls-intranet.net

The number one reason why startups fail is due to misreading market demand — found in a striking 42% of cases — along with pricing/cost issues, user-unfriendly products, poor marketing, and product mistiming. To put your business on a path that increases the chances of survival and future growth start with 1) figuring out who your aspirational customer is and 2) designing your go-to-market strategy around her needs. The last thing you want is to spend long hours designing and polishing the product that no one wants to pay for.

Look for the…

Thinking beyond traditional approaches towards growth

Image credits: https://www.questrade.com

You’re a tech founder with a vision of building a product that will establish and dominate a brand-new category. You have an initial product, and maybe even raised capital. You are ready to launch and thinking about the right go-to-market strategies that will lead to quick and scalable growth — a critical juncture of your venture’s life cycle, as a majority of startups have only one chance to make a strong first impression.

Devising an effective go-to-market strategy requires thinking beyond traditional approaches towards growth, which are often not optimal for category-defining startups. …

AI-powered automation platform disrupts $544B+ accounting services market

Osome’s founding team: Konstantin Lange (COO), Victor Lysenko (CEO), Anton Roslov (CTO). Picture credits: Osome

Working extensively with founders at the seed stage over the last decade has helped me to develop a solid understanding of the major challenges faced on the ‘zero to one’ journey. Whether it’s designing a go-to-market strategy, finding a product-market fit, thinking through customer acquisition channels, or fundraising, I am passionate about helping visionary entrepreneurs redefine massive, inefficient markets from day zero.

One such market is accounting software. The average entrepreneur spends 68% of their time on back-office operations, leaving only 32% available for strategy and delivering on their long-term performance goals…

Combatting mental health stigma through digital technology, growing awareness and entrepreneurship-by-necessity mindset

Image Credits: Getty Images

As an angel and a VC, I’m driven by curiosity and passion for advancing innovative ideas that tackle pressing issues in essential sectors such as healthcare, focusing on often-overlooked emerging markets. I’m always on the lookout for new markets with untapped (or under-tapped) potential, broadening my scope beyond the usual industry and regional suspects to spot unique opportunities for growth. …

Designing a sophisticated, focused fundraising strategy is a stepping stone towards a startup’s success

Source: Google Search

One of the luxuries I have as a cross-border generalist VC and angel investor is the ability to see what works — and doesn’t work — for startups across a very broad range of industries, from wine (Vinebox and USUAL Wines) and wellness (ClassPass) to cybersecurity (Tortuga Logic), future-of-work (Gable), and healthcare (Nyquist Data).

Most great entrepreneurs I see are singularly focused on addressing customer pain points through delivering a new product or service to the market that is 10x superior to whatever competitors have to…

Ways to think about portfolio construction and reserve allocation when you launch your first pre-seed / seed fund

Photo Credit: National Baseball Library and Archives, via UMass.edu

‘All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it. I get back to the dugout and they ask me what it was I hit and I tell them I don’t know except it looked good.’

- Babe Ruth

Contrary to the general wisdom of venture capital, successful pre-seed and seed investing from a sub-$50m fund is a lot about initial portfolio construction. Of course, in ideal world, you want to get as much ownership percentage as early as…

Why betting on a founder’s persona is a better strategy to deliver venture returns

Image credit: Getty Images

Watching the continuing IPO galore and Series A valuations uptick got me thinking about two central approaches I see to early-stage venture capital investing, and where my own investment philosophy fits in: momentum-based vs value-based investing.

While the former represents a dominant and attractive strategy on a surface, its effectiveness can prove illusory, with overblown successive valuation generating unrealistic growth expectations and disappointing returns. …

An essay on trust, commitment and straightforward relationship with failure

Picture credit: https://goldenequatorventures.com

During deal negotiation process, it can be easy for venture capitalists to hyper-focus on codifying contractual covenants between ourselves and entrepreneurs, putting substantive relationship-building on the back burner. While tempting, this approach is a grave mistake: to succeed as a portfolio manager long-term, it’s critical to strike the right balance between control and trust, investing in relationships as much as in companies themselves.

Indeed, no information rights can substitute great relationships built on trust and transparency. While less immediately tangible than formal control mechanisms, good cooperative VC-founder relationships deeply affect…

Olga Maslikhova

Stanford GSB alum, early stage VC in consumer and SaaS, angel investor in ClassPass and Vinebox

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