Mark Bivens

Five French startups best positioned for Asia

When someone from Journal du Net contacted me about my piece last year on 5 French Startups I Can’t Live Without, apparently they liked it so much that they decided to ride with the theme (hey, imitation is the best form of flattery, I suppose). JDN interviewed a handful of France’s first-rate VCs to each […]

Rebooting the brain on holiday

Rebooting the brain on holiday

I took a short holiday this summer, only one week. I should relativize this: one week falls on the long end for a typical American vacation period, but in Southern Europe taking off for only week in the summer is laughable. Unfortunately, one week was all I could afford given the busiest June and July […]

RudeVC summer reading list 2014

RudeVC summer reading list 2014

Reader feedback on past editions has prompted me to produce another summer reading list this year. The criteria for reaching this list are not strict, but the guiding principles for the selected books are: i) to have some connection to startups, technology, VC, or Europe; and ii) to not be too heavy or intensely intellectual. […]

Why French startups should consider Far East Asia

When I first arrived in France from Silicon Valley over ten years ago, I regularly received business plans from French startups that were limiting their sights to the French market. The few that spoke about international expansion would have a line in their financial projections for revenue in year 5 from Belgium or francophone Switzerland. […]

There’s no such thing as a free lunch (unless you’re in France)

Years ago wandering the side streets of Leuven, Belgium I stumbled across some graffiti that read, “Franz Ferdinand Found Alive: WW I A Mistake.” I’m not sure if this mischievous street tag represented the original expression (the phrase was often cited and later even titled a chapter in a book by Ned Lebow who revisits […]

Does bullying increase the risk of cancer?

The recent alumni magazine from my grammar school carried some devastating news: two of my previous classmates are battling cancer. My parents’ expat move had me leave that grade school over 25 years ago, and with a few exceptions, I haven’t really maintained contact with those classmates. I hadn’t even thought about these two individuals, […]

99/1 is the new 80/20

The game industry’s largest convention, the E3 Expo just took place. Reportedly, one of the highlights of the show was a demo of a new game called Adrift on the Oculus Rift platform. Adrift simulates a reality in which the gamer finds himself floating above the Earth alone on a decaying space station seeking out […]

Aspiring SaaS converts can learn a lot from Adobe

Selling software on a cloud-based subscription model has become so commonplace these days that new software startups must have a pretty compelling reason if they intend to pursue the traditional approach of perpetual license sales. The cloud model is recurring in nature and thus provides a more predictable revenue stream. In the traditional perpetual license […]

Scalability hack: think concavity instead of convexity

Scalability may well represent one of the most overused words in startup financing discussions. VCs use the word (and I’m guilty of this) as shorthand to refer to a startup’s ability to grow dramatically enough to deliver outsize returns to the investor. I like to simplify it as a joke that there are three kinds […]

The VC world in France needs more transparency. I’ll start.

Having waxed extensively about the opacity of France’s venture capital industry, I’ve decided it’s time that I practice what I preach. The venture capital sector in France operates in a fog of complexity, with limited accountability, and in some cases deliberate secrecy. I believe this is wrong. I believe that a VC fund’s investors, portfolio […]