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The Four T’s: a PM-turned-VC’s framework for evaluating startups, part two

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This is part two of a series on The Four T's. Check out part one here.

Evaluating startups is part dark arts, part science. No two companies are the same, and certain traits just can’t be quantified effectively. But like any (former) product manager, I’ve put together my own framework that has helped me to assess startups in a structured and straightforward manner. I call this framework The Four T’s: Team, TAM, Tech, and Traction. Check out last week's article for more background. This week, we discuss Tech and Traction.
Tech

This is the area that most founders focus on, and on the surface it makes sense--people naturally want to talk about what they are building and how it will fundamentally disrupt the status quo. The truth is that most founders spend a bit too long on this section and not enough time on the team and problem context. if you don’t believe me, read this report from DocSend that analyzes which slides early stage investors tend to focus on. Spoiler alert: it’s th…

The Four T’s: a PM-turned-VC’s framework for evaluating startups, part one

Image
This is part one of a series on the Four T's. Check out part two here.

Evaluating startups is part dark arts, part science. No two companies are the same, and certain traits just can’t be quantified effectively. But like any (former) product manager, I’ve put together my own framework that has helped me to assess startups in a structured and straightforward manner. I call this framework The Four T’s: Team, TAM, Tech, and Traction. This week we'll start with Team and TAM.

Note that I'm not the first investor to use one or more of these T's, nor will I be the last. So why write this up and throw into the depths of the internets? I recently read and was inspired by Bloomberg Beta’s Criteria for Investing, which provides a concise yet comprehensive description of how that firm evaluates companies. Similarly, I’d rather entrepreneurs are able to put their best foot forward during the pitch and focus on what makes the company a great business and a good fit for partnering wi…