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Lili Balfour

Lili Balfour is the founder and CEO of the SoMa-based financial advisory firm, Atelier Advisors, creator and host of Finance for Entrepreneurs, author of Master the Finance Game, and host of the Finance for Entrepreneurs broadcast on Spreecast.

After spending fifteen years in investment management and investment banking, she decided to develop a firm to cater to the specific needs of early-stage companies. At Atelier Advisors, Lili advises leading brands across industries: from tech to consumer goods. In the past, she has advised over 100 brands, including:

Bag, Borrow, or Steal, Visual IQ, Alpha Theory, Derivix, Practice Fusion, Peeled Snacks, Sustainable Minds, Firescope, Chix 6, Duchess Marden, Erin Fetherston, Eckart Tolle, and Stuart Skorman (founder of Reel.com, Elephant Pharmacy, Hungry Minds, and Clerk Dogs (sold to Netflix)).

While advising companies at Atelier Advisors, she observed a common theme – -brilliant founders avoided finance. She began writing about entrepreneurial finance to solve this problem.

As a native of Silicon Valley and a first generation Mexican American, Lili understands the importance of imparting wisdom learned in Silicon Valley to the rest of the world. Her goal is to teach the entire planet about entrepreneurial finance.

Connect with Lili



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Advice - Recently, Brian Grazer sat down with Marc Andreeseen to discuss the future of entertainment. You can listen to the full podcast here. Grazer believes that scalability is not fully accepted in the entertainment industry. Social media...
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Advice - For the past 8 years, I have been advising entrepreneurs on their growth and funding strategy. I’ve seen the worst and I’ve seen the best.Life is too short to learn from your own mistakes. Let’s learn from others.First...
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Advice - The growing trend in early-stage mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is to ditch the suits. According to Dealogic, 73% of acquirers utilized a formal investment-banking firm in 2003. By 2013, only 31% of acquirers used a formal...
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Advice - Whether you’re looking to raise a round of capital or sell your company, it’s important to understand how to value your company. The best way to value a company is to research comparable transactions in the market. We’ll take a...
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Techs and the City - Y Combinator's Female Founder Conference couldn't have come at a better time. Silicon Valley has been inundated with negative stories about the role women play in the region. Female Founders Conference gave us the other side of the...
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Crowdfunding - As with any form of monetary solicitation, crowdfunding has its perils and setbacks. Let’s walk through the three deadly mistakes entrepreneurs make with crowdfunding.Not Explaining EquityWhen Oculus was acquired by...
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Advice - It is true that there are fewer women than men getting funded and building billion dollar companies. The numbers are improving, yet we still have a long way to go. The answer to this problem is to start early and focus on the internal...
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Advice - The future looks bright for early-stage companies seeking capital as we prepare to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the JOBS Act – Title I.Emerging growth companies (defined as a company with total annual gross revenues of...
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Advice - The first quarter of 2014 has experienced the largest number of IPOs in the past decade, compared to first-quarter data from previous years. With the JOBS Act in place and an improved economy, the accelerated pace is not expected to...
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Advice - If you are doing anything worthwhile, you will have critics. Learn to discern between those providing valuable feedback on your product or service and those who simply have too much time on their hands and a sour attitude.When you...
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Op-ED - The Problem: I don’t believe there is a gender bias in the startup community but rather a personality bias. The startup world favors individuals who are focused on winning and are willing to go to any lengths to succeed....
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Advice - Regardless of the strategy you choose – IPO, sell or stay private – the best possible outcome for your company is to “make a dent in the Universe,” as Steve Jobs would say.While Apple was changing the way the world...
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Advice - The biggest mistake startup founders make in allocating their capital is not monitoring financial results. As a result, they end up engaging in activities that fail to enhance profitability. Here are three profit-eroding expenses...
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Op-ED - Where Have All the Innovators Gone?Growing up in Silicon Valley was a magical experience. The area was full of innovators who came to this country to build their dreams, which were built on ideas that served a real...
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Advice - Steve Blank covers the difference between a board of directors and an advisory board in “Don’t Give Away Your Board Seats.” I’d like to pick up where he left off. Now that you understand the importance of attracting advisers,...
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Advice - One of the top reasons companies fail is that they run out of money. That seems easy to avoid, right? Oddly enough, many entrepreneurs do not have clarity around their revenue sources and even fewer have a strong grasp of their...