Argon Ventures

Perspectives

  • Product Led Growth

    We are big believers in Product Led Growth and used many aspects of this discipline during our time at Brightcove. We appreciate the leadership our friends at OpenView have brought to PLG and this primer provides great background for those interested to learn more.

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  • We Represent the Whales

    VC: An American History by Tom Nicholas famously describes the New England whaling industry as the precursor to the modern venture capital industry.  But that metaphor didn’t sit right with me, at least as far as Argon is concerned.

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  • What is the "right" amount of data?

    Data, per se, and access to actionable insights about customers, markets, and performance, have long been viewed as highly valuable assets capable of enabling outsized market performance and potentially creating defensive “moats” for emerging companies. For those reasons, we see continually increasing emphasis on the ubiquity of sensors in hardware and machines and associated software applications, the deployment of computer vision in locations and facilities, automation in data collection and the application of intelligent learning algorithms for analysis of these new data streams, just to name a few areas. No doubt, this will continue. But we have also come to realize that a company’s superior understanding of data scale effects and their impact on product viability and optimization can be key to a company’s success.

    More specifically, understanding the “minimum viable data set” required to create value initially and how to effectively obtain it, and then understanding the “tipping point” at which the cost of additional data accumulation is not worth the incremental value, can each be keys to the creation of successful emerging businesses. Put simply, “more” data is not always better or needed, and in fact can be counterproductive. “Enough” data is required at the outset to yield initial dependable insights for a viable product. And “sufficient” data is required for a complete and mature product, to be sure. But understanding how much data is “enough” to create value at each stage -- and how to get it -- is rapidly becoming one of the key core competencies for emerging companies. And a program simply of ever-increasing data accumulation may result in cost and inefficiencies in analysis that outweigh the incremental value, if any, of an expanded data set.

    The “right” amount of data varies by industry, by the nature of the solution, and by stage. We see this directly in sectors such as digital health, logistics, future of work, and even industrial manufacturing and safety. How teams solve these data equations and how they execute against the answers they find will be increasingly major factors in determining their success.

  • The Case for Early International Expansion

    Young companies are now able to enter international markets at increasingly early junctures and they -- and their shareholders -- are able to reap extraordinary benefits and competitive advantages by doing so.

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  • Weathering Crises and Increasing Diversity in Venture Capital

    An interview of Bob by Schyler Alexandra Cole host of VCedia, an inclusive dialogue on funding and creating a better future. We cover topics on Bob's experience being part of the founding of two startups and growing them through two IPOs. How he looks at startup investment opportunities and a discussion on the challenges that diverse, emerging VC General Partners have when launching a new fund.

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  • Venture diversity is burdened by the unnecessary need for wealth

    At present, one needs to be wealthy to raise a new venture fund. This is an unnecessary structural barrier that materially limits the opportunity for new GPs, new funds, new perspective and new opportunity. With resulting downstream effects of less funding to underrepresented minorities.

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  • Discovery in the age of AI chatbots

    In the age of “Open Search” our society benefits from a radical marketplace of products and services that support our ability to explore and go off on far tangents. In a world of hyper-productivity, powered by AI, will we lose the opportunity to stumble upon unexpected surprises? Instead of narrowing my options toward a hyper-rational world, I would love to see systems that leverage AI to augment my discovery for the new and different.

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  • Alignment through Growth

    It’s important to recognize when your company hits a new step-function of “communications complexity” and evolve your forums for information sharing. Obviously how you align a team that fits in the same room is going to be very different than when you grow specialized teams, add more leaders, remote offices open, etc.

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  • Culture in the Early Startup

    Beer on Tap, No Meeting Thursdays and Foosball are simply shallow aspects of company culture and are less important than the character and intent behind the venture. The most important characteristic of company culture is answered through the question of Why. When I get to know founders, I often ask them “Out of everything in the world you could be doing, why this company? Why now?” Each individual you seek to join the team will fundamentally ask themselves these same questions.

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  • The diminishing power of influence

    I’ve always avoided being a manager. For nearly two decades, in the course of my professional career, being a manager has never held interest. Upon reflection my personal directive to avoid management has had the most to do with a desire to evade confrontation and conflict. My conscious effort to avoid management, to rely upon influence, established a situation where I lacked real authority as both companies scaled. It seems obvious in retrospect, but despite extending great effort purely through influence, I now recognize its impact diminishes in relative proportion to organization size.

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