"Is now the right time for us to hire a CFO?"

"What about building our enterprise sales team?"

"If we’re a subscription e-commerce company, what's the optimal pricing strategy?"

These are just a handful of the questions that members of our portfolio companies ask us daily. We value the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and help companies solve problems exactly like these.

But as our roster continues to grow, both in number of companies and industries represented, we find ourselves leaning more and more on the expert members of our vast network to help tackle these issues so many founders face. Network. Is. Everything.

So for that reason, we decided to make it official. We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the CrossCut Ex...

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I’ve been reflecting on the topic of integrity in tech and entrepreneurship and wanted to share my thoughts with the broader tech community.

I have now been a VC for 14 years and over those years, I’ve seen a little bit of everything — good and bad — from the entrepreneurial community. There are many characteristics that correlate with success in the start-up world (hustle, intelligence, vision and good luck) and if returns or big exits were the only measurement of success, then I’m pretty sure that integrity wouldn’t be at the top of that list. This “win at all cost mindset” that permeates the tech ecosystem is disturbing to me.

For me, nothing matters more than integrity. I try to take a ...

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As I reflect back on the 4th of July holiday weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about what independence means to me and its meaning in relation to the tech industry and the U.S. Economy.

For CrossCut, as VCs, our independence comes in the form of controlling our schedules, running our own business and knowing that we control our own destiny through our efforts, connections and, obviously, some luck. (Talk about independence, I am writing this on my phone at the beach on a Thursday while watching my oldest son compete in a junior lifeguard competition.)

The flexibility of this job is the ultimate form of independence and my partners and I love the fact that we don’t have to clock in and that our success is not solely defined by...

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The Trials and Tribulations of Building a VC fund to Scale in LA

It is with great pleasure and a bit of exhaustion that my partners and I announce the official launch of the 3rd fund for CrossCut — a $75M fund — with a focus on being the first institutional capital into the most scalable business ideas and entrepreneurs that this region is producing. For the last 8 years, we’ve been positioning this fund as the “company-building capital of LA” and now we are properly capitalized to execute on that vision.

This blog post will be the first of what we plan to be more consistent attempts to share our point of view on the venture ecosystem, building great companies, our job as VCs and the role we play in catalyzing the seed-stage market of LA.

We will do this with honesty...

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Not for CrossCut with our annual event held during the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in February. Every year, we host our portfolio company CEOs and the LPs in our fund out for a great afternoon on the course watching the pro golfers have at it. Great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and for our portfolio CEOs to share notes and ideas on building great companies in LA.

The CrossCut team decided to let the facial hair flow this November to raise money and awareness for Men’s Health and Prostate Cancer. It was a fun exercise to see who had the skillz. The result was horrifying to our wives but provided a good laugh to the LA tech community. It’s a great cause and a great organization and we were glad to participate.

Silicon Valley has run away from the ecommerce category. The most common arguments among ecommerce bears are that the sector is over-invested and that late-stage valuations do not map to public company comps and realistic acquisition values. However, it’s foolish to fall into the lemming trap and write off the entire category.

Ecommerce spending by consumers is still growing like a weed, and there are plenty of opportunities for investors to generate great returns, especially by focusing on earlier-stage opportunities. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the funding landscape has gotten much more difficult for ecommerce companies and the bar is significantly higher to get investor attention.

Here are three key ingredients that help...

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Rick Smith, Managing Partner of CrossCut Ventures, discusses the importance of networking for entrepreneurs. Click here to watch the video

The article (written by Andreessen Horowitz’s Partner – Jeff Jordan @jeff_jordan) linked below is a perfect summary of the current funding landscape and the concern that the Partners at CrossCut have been preaching since early 2012. When things get frothy, individual angels think investing is “fun” and flood more money into the market. Generally, this money is unsophisticated, undisciplined and not willing to do the heavy-lifting that is often required when things don’t go to plan.

As markets start to shift and VC dollars tighten up, there is increased pressure on the seed-funded entrepreneurs and the milestones they must achieve to attract next rounds of financing. There is no greater example of this tha...

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A blog from CrossCut? We are as shocked as you are. We’re not sure how often you’ll see us post as we are pretty busy investing in and working with our portfolio companies while also running innovative early-stage technology companies in Southern California. Blogging and tweeting is not our forte and we’ve tried to keep a relatively low profile since we launched our first fund in 2008. But, as one of the most active seed-stage investors in LA, we’ve been urged by our entrepreneurs and our investors to share our perspective on this most unique time in technology and the emerging Southern California technology ecosystem.

This will be a collective effort of all the Partners as we all have unique perspectives and ...

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