Russ Wilcox

Partner at Pillar


How To: Raise a Seed Full Guide

Do you have a high-potential idea for starting a major new company? Would having additional capital make the difference between winning big and going home? If the answer is yes, raising a Seed Round might be for you. Read this A-Z guide on how to raise a Seed Round, from the inception of your idea to closing the round.

Top 10 Questions to Expect from VCs

Preparing for your first pitch meeting? Here are a few questions you will get often, and how best to answer.

How to: Reach Out to VCs

Raising a Seed Round? Then this may be your first time approaching a VC.

To avoid wasting your precious time and energy, invest 10-20  hours of research to create a list of targets who lead seed stage investments in your city

Narrow it down rigorously before you ask for introductions, and be cautious about accepting well-meaning but unfiltered introductions. Protect your own resilience in the future by screening every target carefully now.

When reaching out, referrals are critical. Consult your advisers and angels to figure out how you can get a warm referral. 

How to: Protect Your Profits

Imagine you launch a great product and start to grow quickly. What happens next? Life gets TOUGHER, because you will attract hostile attention from the incumbents who are losing business, and at the same time, a host of fast followers emerge to steal a piece of your success. What stops someone else from eating your lunch? In other words, how do you protect your profits?

How To: Manage Your Board of Directors

Serial CEO, Emily Green, shares tips to help you recruit, communicate with, and remain aligned with your board

How VCs Really Evaluate Potential Seed Investments

The VC’s decision to invest comes down to four core elements: scope, chemistry, unicorn potential and financial match.

How to: Protect Yourself in a Fire Sale

Innovation is hard, and not all startups succeed. Get your carve-out in writing.

How to: Pitch a VC Successfully (Even Over Zoom)

Your pitch deck should be aligned with your audience. Here’s how you can do that, even over Zoom.

How To: Manage Series A Termsheets

All of your hard work has paid off, you’ve received a term sheet! Now it’s time to manage the investors around the table to make sure you get the best deal possible.

How To Navigate a Term Sheet in the COVID-19 Era

Winners in the new world—as well as smaller startups or those leveraging existing relationships—will still close deals during this period. But be wary of investors who use this environment to propose term sheets full of red flags.

How To: Develop a Series A Pitch

Writing a terrific pitch deck is hard, just like writing a hit song is hard. Don’t shoot for average. Seed was about whether you can get in the game. Series A is about showing how you can win the game, and why this is a game worth winning. Read on for tips on creating the perfect pitch deck.

How To: Build an Investor List

If your company is ready for Series A, your biggest limiting factor will be finding investors. The greatest factor that can reduce the effort required to run the Series A process is to invest heavily in researching your targets well before you’re ready to raise. Read this article to learn how to create the perfect investor list.

How To: Build a Series A Budget

So, you’ve raised your Seed. Congratulations! While it may seem like you’re swimming in cash now, if you’re building a venture scale business, at some point, likely within the next 12-18 months, you will need more money. Read this article for advice on creating a Series A budget.

How To: Raise a Series A Full Guide

80 page guides don’t scare you? Of course not! Follow this A-Z guide to help you raise your Series A seamlessly.

10 Steps to Raising a Series A

Raising seed was a grueling process, and you feel eager now to leave behind all thoughts of fundraising and finally get back to building your business. But, you know Series A is just around the corner. How can you successfully raise your Series A? Read these 10 steps, and apply their lessons.

How To: Hire Your Leadership Team

When it comes to hiring, the are high — your company will succeed or fail by the team you build around you.


Read This First

So you are ready to raise a Series A? Check out this quick overview to help navigate our How to Raise a Series A Guide.

Part 6: The Cavalry - Defending Your Castle from Attack

With well-written contracts in place acting like a gate to guard your interactions with the outside world, you can finally rest content. You have set up all the elements needed to create an IP fortress, and your walls are growing every day. There’s just one topic left to cover – what to do if your castle is attacked?

Part 5: The Gate - Protecting Your IP Outside the Company

Next it is time to venture outside the castle, but you don’t want to let your ideas walk right out the front gate! Learn how to hold technical or scientific discussions without sacrificing your ability to file and control patents, and find out how best to structure joint development agreements with allies.

Part 4: The Walls - How to Run an Ongoing IP Program

Whenever you uncover a valuable invention, you have a system in place to identify, protect, and file on the right intellectual property. Each time you do, you will be building an additional outer wall to protect your core IP. Read about a comprehensive system for managing those processes in this section.

Part 3: The Keep - Your Critical First Patent Sprint

Now that you have a foundation cleared up, it’s time to build your fortress, and at the center of every fortress is the most protected area of all, the Keep. We better explain our castle analogy, and then tell you step by step how to get started.

Part 2: The Foundation - Before You Incorporate

In this section, we discuss how to evaluate a technology or science available to license, how to figure out if there is room to start a new company without getting sued by existing patentholders, and how to make a fair deal with a university or government lab licensing officer.

How To: Navigate CFIUS

Tips for Entrepreneurs Coping with FIRRMA, CFIUS, and Export Control.

How To: Build an IP Fortress Overview

Pillar VC’s A to Z Guide on All Matters Intellectual Property for Start-Up CEOs.

You Owe Your Team Prompt Layoffs and a New Plan

This post explains why sometimes you should embrace layoffs as a difficult but necessary step, how you should implement a layoff, and what you can do to rebuild morale down the road.

How To: Assess Product-Market Fit

Finding your way to product-market fit starts with getting close to customers, listening and learning.

How Much Should Startups Invest in Intellectual Property?

Before investing in patents, all startups should take two simple, low-cost steps: briefly check freedom to operate and put the right legal documents place.

Part 1: A Primer on Patents

What is a Patent? What Are the Parts of a Patent Application? Why Are Patents Valuable? What Types of Inventions Can Be Patented? Russ Wilcox answers all of these questions and more in Part 1: A Primer on Patents.

How to: Navigate Corporate Partnership Offers

After you launch your new company, you may be surprised at how swiftly big companies come knocking on your door. Is that an opportunity or a threat?




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