Industry Outlook

April 10, 2014

How to Effectively Compete in eCommerce

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Mani ecommerce_medium

Norwest Venture Partners is an active investor within consumer Internet, particularly in ecommerce. Through our experience partnering with entrepreneurs to build companies, we have found that the most successful ecommerce companies reflect a few shared characteristics. Successful ecommerce companies are those that own their merchant category and have founding teams that understand their particular customer base especially well. These businesses connect with today’s customers in a unique way that enables simple, yet strong, branding to draw in an avid and loyal customer base.

There are many challenges associated with building a successful ecommerce business, but two major questions that must be addressed are 1) how can you compete against Amazon and 2) how do you avoid Google becoming your dominant source of traffic, both paid and unpaid.

Competing against Amazon is particularly difficult considering it is a well-capitalized retail giant that has ample resources and hum...

From The Trenches

February 26, 2014

The Secret Sauce of Successful Entrepreneurs? It’s All in Their Head.

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entrepreneur_medium

This  post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.

The boom and bust nature of Silicon Valley startups often results in entrepreneurs being viewed simplistically as “successes” or “failures” based on the outcome of their startups.  However, the real key to success is ones mindset, which allows entrepreneurship to be viewed as a journey rather than a distinct outcome.

As Stanford Psychology Professor and renowned author Carol Dweck writes in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, a person’s mindset is the better predictor of success.  People with a fixed mindset see their abilities as a fixed trait, while people with a growth mindset see them as malleable.  As a result, the two mindsets react very differently to failure and success.

Fixed mindsets attribute failu...

From The Trenches

February 14, 2014

Tips for Women Considering a Career in Private Equity/Venture Capital

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private equity analyst

I had the privilege of speaking on a Dow Jones Spreecast last week with three other female industry experts. Below are some takeaways for women considering a career in private equity/venture capital:

1. Venture capital is not like other financial industries: In other words, don’t be deterred by what you think of traditional investment banking. Venture capital firms focus on new and emerging businesses, and tend to be less conservative when it comes to evaluating opportunities. VCs also provide more than capital to help companies grow. For example at NVP, we also provide relevant domain expertise, a rich network of contacts and a breadth of services to add value to our companies.

2. Find a mentor or sponsor:  In order to elevate yourself to a management role in venture capital or growth equity, you should find yourself a mentor who can advise, guide and help you navigate your career path. But, r...

Industry Outlook

January 29, 2014

The Rise of Vertical-Specific SaaS Vendors

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SaaS blog

While the most publicized SaaS stories of the last 18 months have predominantly been about horizontal solutions such as WorkDay and ServiceNow (both whom sell extended product suites into a variety of industries), a second layer of innovation is occurring in many verticals that require more specialized solutions. In the public markets, Textura (TXTR) is a leading example of a vertical-specific SaaS solution that leverages data to improve financial efficiency within the construction industry. Veeva Systems (VEEV) is yet another highly successful SaaS business that has carved out a dominant market position within one vertical – pharma and life sciences.

Although these vertical-specific solutions share many common traits with their well-known horizontal software brethren, there are certain unique characteristics that are worth noting. In the past ~2 years, NVP has invested in a number of vertical-specific solutions across a variety of sectors, including read more