Dear Investor,




Today, we take a comical look at some of the happenings in the startup industry through a fictitious letter which may all be too true.

Dear investor,

Thank you for your recent financing in our startup. I am looking forward to building a long-term mutually beneficial partnership. I thought it would be prudent to write to you today to outline some of the things that we are now working on as well as manage your expectations moving forward.

I have decided to retain a PR firm for $25k a month on a 6-month retainer to work on a best efforts basis.  I could have probably hired three moles to work at some top notch mainstream publications for the $150K but we are confident that the one or so article we get will help us transcend to “escape velocity” because we don’t have much else planned in terms of user acquisition.

In continuing the momentum, I have also secured office space in the best part of the city at a very reasonable $120/sq foot on an extremely long-term lease. I recognize that building this startup into a unicorn is a marathon and not a race. I feel that this decision will strongly add to our company’s culture and serve as recruiting tool for future employees because of the proximity to local watering holes that serve overpriced drinks.

While speaking of culture, we’ve secured 200 hover boards for all our present and future employees.  We are hoping that there are no issues with legality or a raid similar to the one in CES. Time will tell on this as we face a bit of uncertainty but we have consulted with our lawyers who charge a startup friendly rate of $850/hr.  Lastly, on the culture front we have hired a Chief Happiness Officer and an outside consultant to audit the work of this new position to serve as a check and balance.

To be quite honest, I am not really sure what’s happening with product development.  I’m out every night of the week networking.  Don’t worry I’m usually going to events with free booze and free food.

At this point, you may be questioning my mental health. I have that covered also. I’ve signed up for a number of week-long communal events that attract other founders with exorbitant ticket prices and you’ll be footing the bill.

In terms of profitability, I’ve decided to skip thoughts around that for now and not even focus on ramen profitability.   I think you’d agree, that it’s better to lose a lot of money than make a little profit as we chase growth. Rest assured though, I do eat ramen often but it’s usually at a fancy place for $25 a plate to keep up appearances.

Lastly, if all else fails I’m confident that collectively we can devise some metrics that are not readily understood or widely used to demonstrate continual growth as my decisions outlined above will likely cause the company to run out of cash. This “demonstrable growth” can then be the foundation of securing further financing at a higher valuation.

If that doesn’t work out we can always pursue a “down” road.  But nomenclature aside, can we really call it a down round given the company was not worth anything close to its last valuation?



Your least favorite portfolio company




Image credit: CC by Matteo Paciotti

About the author: Reza Chowdhury

Recognized as a global thought leader in the startup ecosystem, Reza Chowdhury offers more than 15 years experience in emerging technology, which he brings to AlleyWatch as CEO and Founder. Through the course of his career, Reza has had the privilege of working to drive businesses from conception to eventual exit by deploying the acumen gained in his previous roles. His latest professional endeavors have allowed him to work very closely with thriving global technology and startup ecosystem.

Reza is also the founder of New York Startup Lab, which brings technology and knowledge based solutions to the entrepreneurial community with a specific focus on early stage companies. He began his career as securities trader on Wall Street.

Reza is often a featured international speaker, moderator, and judge at numerous events on technology and global entrepreneurship and was a featured presenter at the first Facebook Developer Garage in NYC. Both Reza and the companies he has been involved with have received accolades and recognition from prominent organizations including the fbFund. Reza was has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in NYC Tech by TechWeek on several occasions and is a NYC Venture Fellow, a world-class, year-long fellowship program designed to help high-potential entrepreneurs scale their ventures.

Reza is also an advisor to SD Asia and Dublin Globe, two organizations that are fostering the growth of local entrepreneurial ecosystems as well as an Mentor to the Grameenphone Accelerator.

Reza holds an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Georgetown University and completed his bachelors in Economics at the University at Albany. Reza has also completed certification programs in Private Equity and Venture Capital at Oxford University as well as International Business at New York University.

If you are interested in having Reza Chowdhury speak or moderate at one of your events, please send an email with the details of your event. If you contact us at this email for any reason other than what’s stated above, your correspondence will invariably be deleted.

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