Do you have a Dashboard for your Company?
Largely due to self-imposed constraints (as an EIR at Mayfield and a “mentor” for Carl Nichols’ EWMBA 295A class at the Haas School of Business), I can’t really blog about some of the really cool ideas I get to review and the bright individuals I have the privilege of working with. IOW, my blogging has been bogged down. That said, there are a few abstract topics I am going to jot down as time permits.
Both at Mayfield and Haas, I’m frequently asked by entrepreneurs about objective criteria by which an investment can be evaluated. This is a very broad question and there are no easy answers for early-stage companies. It often comes down to intuition about the market, the team, technology underpinnings and proposed business models. However, mid/late-stage companies do have a variety of parameters one could review. Not surprising, the same tools that a CEO uses to run a company can be used for building an investment thesis as well.
Here is my “1-page” dashboard. Each line item is owned by someone on the exec team and serves as a living document that can be used for internal management meetings, board meetings and, of course, investor meetings. There is always the alternative – a wing and a prayer.
- 1-line market & industry description
- Direct competitors
- Indirect competitors
- Outliers and/or market dynamics that could be disruptive
- Revenue & Forecast
- Sales Pipeline
- Partners and/or Channels
- Regions (regional differences that can impact)
- Legal issues, if any (patents, copyrights, other)
People (& Locations)
- HR (headcount, issues if any)
- External (Board of Directors, Board of Advisers)
- Current/shipping products
- Roadmap 12-18 months out
- Cash Flow & (if applicable) Zero-Cash-Date with & without revenue
- Top parameters from Balance Sheet
- Top parameters from Income Statement
Your mileage may vary, based upon your company’s unique situation and market it’s operating in. Feel free to adapt from here and leave ideas so others may benefit.