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Dr. Linda Dahl

Dr. Linda Dahl

1 year ago

We eat corn in almost everything. Is It Important?

More on Cooking

Alexandra Walker-Jones

Alexandra Walker-Jones

1 year ago

These are the 15 foods you should eat daily and why.

Research on preventing disease, extending life, and caring for your body from the inside out

Photo by Isra E on Unsplash

Grapefruit and pomegranates aren't on the list, so ignore that. Mostly, I enjoyed the visual, but those fruits are healthful, too.

15 (or 17 if you consider the photo) different foods a day sounds like a lot. If you're not used to it  — it is.

These lists don't aim for perfection. Instead, use this article and the science below to eat more of these foods. If you can eat 5 foods one day and 5 the next, you're doing well. This list should be customized to your requirements and preferences.

“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it” -Heather Morgan.

The 15 Foods That You Should Consume Daily and Why:

1. Dark/Red Berries

(blueberries, blackberries, acai, goji, cherries, strawberries, raspberries)

The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study is the greatest definitive analysis of death and disease risk factors in history. They found the primary cause of both death, disability, and disease inside the United States was diet.

Not eating enough fruit, and specifically berries, was one of the best predictors of disease (1).

What's special about berries? It's their color! Berries have the most antioxidants of any fruit, second only to spices. The American Cancer Society found that those who ate the most berries were less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

2. Beans

Soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, split peas, chickpeas.

Beans are one of the most important predictors of survival in older people, according to global research (2).

For every 20 grams (2 tablespoons) of beans consumed daily, the risk of death is reduced by 8%.

Soybeans and soy foods are high in phytoestrogen, which reduces breast and prostate cancer risks. Phytoestrogen blocks the receptors' access to true estrogen, mitigating the effects of weight gain, dairy (high in estrogen), and hormonal fluctuations (3).

3. Nuts

(almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts)

Eating a handful of nuts every day reduces the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Nuts also reduce oxidation, blood sugar, and LDL (bad) cholesterol, improving arterial function (4).

Despite their high-fat content, studies have linked daily nut consumption to a slimmer waistline and a lower risk of obesity (5).

4. Flaxseed

(milled flaxseed)

2013 research found that ground flaxseed had one of the strongest anti-hypertensive effects of any food. A few tablespoons (added to a smoothie or baked goods) lowered blood pressure and stroke risk 23 times more than daily aerobic exercise (6).

Flax shouldn't replace exercise, but its nutritional punch is worth adding to your diet.

5. Other seeds

(chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds)

Seeds are high in fiber and omega-3 fats and can be added to most dishes without being noticed.

When eaten with or after a meal, chia seeds moderate blood sugar and reduce inflammatory chemicals in the blood (7). Overall, a great daily addition.

6. Dates

Dates are one of the world's highest sugar foods, with 80% sugar by weight. Pure cake frosting is 60%, maple syrup is 66%, and cotton-candy jelly beans are 70%.

Despite their high sugar content, dates have a low glycemic index, meaning they don't affect blood sugar levels dramatically. They also improve triglyceride and antioxidant stress levels (8).

Dates are a great source of energy and contain high levels of dietary fiber and polyphenols, making 3-10 dates a great way to fight disease, support gut health with prebiotics, and satisfy a sweet tooth (9).

7. Cruciferous Veggies

(broccoli, Brussel sprouts, horseradish, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, boy choy, arugula, radishes, turnip greens)

Cruciferous vegetables contain an active ingredient that makes them disease-fighting powerhouses. Sulforaphane protects our brain, eyesight, against free radicals and environmental hazards, and treats and prevents cancer (10).

Unless you eat raw cruciferous vegetables daily, you won't get enough sulforaphane (and thus, its protective nutritional benefits). Cooking destroys the enzyme needed to create this super-compound.

If you chop broccoli, cauliflower, or turnip greens and let them sit for 45 minutes before cooking them, the enzyme will have had enough time to work its sulforaphane magic, allowing the vegetables to retain the same nutritional value as if eaten raw. Crazy, right? For more on this, see What Chopping Your Vegetables Has to Do with Fighting Cancer.

8. Whole grains

(barley, brown rice, quinoa, oats, millet, popcorn, whole-wheat pasta, wild rice)

Whole-grains are one of the healthiest ways to consume your daily carbs and help maintain healthy gut flora.

This happens when fibre is broken down in the colon and starts a chain reaction, releasing beneficial substances into the bloodstream and reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and inflammation (11).

9. Spices

(turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, cloves, cardamom, chili powder, nutmeg, coriander)

7% of a person's cells will have DNA damage. This damage is caused by tiny breaks in our DNA caused by factors like free-radical exposure.

Free radicals cause mutations that damage lipids, proteins, and DNA, increasing the risk of disease and cancer. Free radicals are unavoidable because they result from cellular metabolism, but they can be avoided by consuming anti-oxidant and detoxifying foods.

Including spices and herbs like rosemary or ginger in our diet may cut DNA damage by 25%. Yes, this damage can be improved through diet. Turmeric worked better at a lower dose (just a pinch, daily). For maximum free-radical fighting (and anti-inflammatory) effectiveness, use 1.5 tablespoons of similar spices (12).

10. Leafy greens

(spinach, collard greens, lettuce, other salad greens, swiss chard)

Studies show that people who eat more leafy greens perform better on cognitive tests and slow brain aging by a year or two (13).

As we age, blood flow to the brain drops due to a decrease in nitric oxide, which prevents blood vessels from dilatation. Daily consumption of nitrate-rich vegetables like spinach and swiss chard may prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.

11. Fermented foods

(sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, plant-based kefir)

Miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut contain probiotics that support gut microbiome.

Probiotics balance the good and bad bacteria in our bodies and offer other benefits. Fermenting fruits and vegetables increases their antioxidant and vitamin content, preventing disease in multiple ways (14).

12. Sea vegetables

(seaweed, nori, dulse flakes)

A population study found that eating one sheet of nori seaweed per day may cut breast cancer risk by more than half (15).

Seaweed and sea vegetables may help moderate estrogen levels in the metabolism, reducing cancer and disease risk.

Sea vegetables make up 30% of the world's edible plants and contain unique phytonutrients. A teaspoon of these super sea-foods on your dinner will help fight disease from the inside out.

13. Water

I'm less concerned about whether you consider water food than whether you drink enough. If this list were ranked by what single item led to the best health outcomes, water would be first.

Research shows that people who drink 5 or more glasses of water per day have a 50% lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who drink 2 or less (16).

Drinking enough water boosts energy, improves skin, mental health, and digestion, and reduces the risk of various health issues, including obesity.

14. Tea

All tea consumption is linked to a lower risk of stroke, heart disease, and early death, with green tea leading for antioxidant content and immediate health benefits.

Green tea leaves may also be able to interfere with each stage of cancer formation, from the growth of the first mutated cell to the spread and progression of cancer in the body. Green tea is a quick and easy way to support your long-term and short-term health (17).

15. Supplemental B12 vitamin

B12, or cobalamin, is a vitamin responsible for cell metabolism. Not getting enough B12 can have serious consequences.

Historically, eating vegetables from untreated soil helped humans maintain their vitamin B12 levels. Due to modern sanitization, our farming soil lacks B12.

B12 is often cited as a problem only for vegetarians and vegans (as animals we eat are given B12 supplements before slaughter), but recent studies have found that plant-based eaters have lower B12 deficiency rates than any other diet (18).


Article Sources:

  1. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010)

2. I. Darmadi-Blackberry, M. Wahlqvist, A. Kouris-Blazos, et al. Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(2):217–20.

3. Guha N, Kwan ML, Quesenberry CP Jr, Weltzien EK, Castillo AL, Caan BJ. Soy isoflavones and risk of cancer recurrence in a cohort of breast cancer survivors: the Life After Cancer Epidemiology study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Nov;118(2):395–405.

4. Y. Bao, J. Han, F. B. Hu, E. L. Giovannucci, M. J. Stampfer, W. C. Willett, C. S. Fuchs. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. N. Engl. J. Med. 2013 369(21):2001–2011.

5. V. Vadivel, C. N. Kunyanga, H. K. Biesalski. Health benefits of nut consumption with special reference to body weight control. Nutrition 2012 28(11–12):1089–1097.

6. D Rodriguez-Leyva, W Weighell, A L Edel,R LaVallee, E Dibrov,R Pinneker, T G Maddaford, B Ramjiawan, M Aliani, R Guzman R, G N Pierce. Potent antihypertensive action of dietary flaxseed in hypertensive patients. Hypertension. 2013 Dec;62(6):1081–9. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.02094.

7. Vuksan V, Jenkins AL, Dias AG, Lee AS, Jovanovski E, Rogovik AL, Hanna A. Reduction in postprandial glucose excursion and prolongation of satiety: possible explanation of the long-term effects of whole grain Salba (Salvia Hispanica L.). Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Apr;64(4):436–8. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2009.159. Epub 2010 Jan 20. PMID: 20087375.

8. W. Rock, M. Rosenblat, H. Borochov-Neori, N. Volkova, S. Judeinstein, M. Elias, and M. Aviram. Effects of date (Phoenix dactylifera L., Medjool or Hallawi Variety) consumption by healthy subjects on serum glucose and lipid levels and on serum oxidative status: a pilot study. J. Agric. Food. Chem., 57(17):8010{8017, 2009.

9. Eid N, Enani S, Walton G, et al. The impact of date palm fruits and their component polyphenols, on gut microbial ecology, bacterial metabolites and colon cancer cell proliferation. J Nutr Sci. 2014;3:e46.

10. Li Y, Zhang T, Korkaya H, Liu S, Lee HF, Newman B, Yu Y, Clouthier SG, Schwartz SJ, Wicha MS, Sun D. Sulforaphane, a Dietary Component of Broccoli/Broccoli Sprouts, Inhibits Breast Cancer Stem Cells. Clin Cancer Res. 2010 May 1;16(9):2580–90.

11. Lappi J, Kolehmainen M, Mykkänen H, Poutanen K. Do large intestinal events explain the protective effects of whole grain foods against type 2 diabetes? Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(6):631–40.

12. S. S. Percival, J. P. V. Heuvel, C. J. Nieves, C. Montero, A. J. Migliaccio, J. Meadors. Bioavailability of Herbs and Spices in Humans as Determined by ex vivo Inflammatory Suppression and DNA Strand Breaks. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012 31(4):288–294.

13. Nurk E, Refsum H, Drevon CA, et al. Cognitive performance among the elderly in relation to the intake of plant foods. The Hordaland Health Study. Br J Nutr. 2010;104(8):1190–201.

14. Melini, F.; Melini, V.; Luziatelli, F.; Ficca, A.G.; Ruzzi, M. Health-Promoting Components in Fermented Foods: An Up-to-Date Systematic Review. Nutrients2019, 11, 1189.

15. H. Funahashi, T. Imai, T. Mase, M. Sekiya, K. Yokoi, H. Hayashi, A. Shibata, T. Hayashi, M. Nishikawa, N. Suda, Y. Hibi, Y. Mizuno, K. Tsukamura, A. Hayakawa, S. Tanuma. Seaweed prevents breast cancer? Jpn. J. Cancer Res. 2001 92(5):483–487.

16. Chan J, Knutsen SF, Blix GG, Lee JW, Fraser GE. Water, other fluids, and fatal coronary heart disease: the Adventist Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2002 May 1;155(9):827–33. doi: 10.1093/aje/155.9.827. PMID: 11978586.

17. Fujiki H, Imai K, Nakachi K, Shimizu M, Moriwaki H, Suganuma M. Challenging the effectiveness of green tea in primary and tertiary cancer prevention. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2012 Aug;138(8):1259–70.

18. Damayanti, D., Jaceldo-Siegl, K., Beeson, W. L., Fraser, G., Oda, K., & Haddad, E. H. (2018). Foods and Supplements Associated with Vitamin B12Biomarkers among Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Participants of the Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) Calibration Study. Nutrients, 10(6), 722. doi:10.3390/nu10060722

Karthik Rajan

Karthik Rajan

1 year ago

11 Cooking Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier 

Quick, easy and tasty (and dollops of parenting around food).

My wife and mom are both great mothers. They're super-efficient planners. They soak and ferment food. My 104-year-old grandfather loved fermented foods.

When I'm hungry and need something fast, I waffle to the pantry. Like most people, I like to improvise. I wish I knew these 11 hacks sooner.

1. The world's best pasta sauce only has 3 ingredients.

You watch recipe videos with prepped ingredients. In reality, prepping and washing take time. The food's taste isn't guaranteed. The raw truth at a sublime level is not talked about often.

Sometimes a radical recipe comes along that's so easy and tasty, you're dumbfounded. The Classic Italian Cook Book has a pasta recipe.

One 28-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes, one medium peeled onion, and 5 tablespoons of butter. And salt to taste.

Combine everything in a single pot and simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally. Toss the onion halves after 45 minutes and pour the sauce over pasta. Finish!

This simple recipe fights our deepest fears.

Salt to taste! Customized to perfection, no frills.

2. Reheating rice with ice. Magical.

Most of the world eats rice. I was raised in south India. My grandfather farmed rice in the Cauvery river delta.

The problem with rice With growing kids, you can't cook just enough. Leftovers are a norm. Microwaves help most people. Ice cubes are the frosting.

Before reheating rice in the microwave, add an ice cube. The ice will steam the rice, making it fluffy and delicious again.

3. Pineapple leaf 

if it comes off easy, it is ripe enough to cut. No rethinking.

My daughter loves pineapples like her dad. One daddy task is cutting them. Sharing immediate results is therapeutic.

Timing the cut has been the most annoying part over the years. The pineapple leaf tip reveals the fruitiness inside. Always loved it.

4. Magic knife words (rolling and curling)

Cutting hand: Roll the blade's back, not its tip, to cut.

Other hand: If you can’t see your finger tips, you can’t cut them. So curl your fingers.

I dislike that schools don't teach financial literacy or cutting skills.

My wife and I used scissors differently for 25 years. We both used the thumb. My index finger, her middle. We googled the difference when I noticed it and laughed. She's right.

This video teaches knifing skills:


5. Best advice about heat

If it's done in the pan, it's overdone on the plate.

This simple advice stands out when we worry about ingredients and proportions.

6. The truth about pasta water

Pasta water should be sea-salty.

Properly seasoning food separates good from great. Salt depends is a good line.

Want delicious pasta? Well, then kind of a lot, to be perfectly honest.

7. Clean as you go

Clean blender as you go by blending water and dish soap.

I find clean as you go easier than clean afterwords. This easy tip is gold.

8. Clean as you go (bis)

Microwave a bowl of water, vinegar, and a toothpick for 5 minutes.

2 cups water, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and a toothpick to prevent overflow.

5-minute microwave. Let the steam work for another 2 minutes. Sponge-off dirt and food. Simple.

9 and 10. Tools,tools, tools

Immersion blender and pressure cooker save time and money.

Narrative: I experienced fatherly pride. My middle-schooler loves science. We discussed boiling. I spoke. Water doesn't need 100°C to boil. She looked confused. 100 degrees assume something. The world around the water is a normal room. Changing water pressure affects its boiling point. This saves energy. Pressure cooker magic.

I captivated her. She's into science and sustainable living.

Whistling is a subliminal form of self-expression when done right. Pressure cookers remind me of simple pleasures.

Your handiness depends on your home tools. Immersion blenders are great for pre- and post-cooking. It eliminates chopping and washing. Second to the dishwasher, in my opinion.

11. One pepper is plenty

A story I share with my daughters.

Once, everyone thought about spice (not spicy). More valuable than silk. One of the three mighty oceans was named after a source country. Columbus sailed the wrong way and found America. The explorer called the natives after reaching his spice destination.

It was pre-internet days. His Google wasn't working.

My younger daughter listens in awe. Strong roots. Image cast. She can contextualize one of the ocean names.

I struggle with spices in daily life. Combinations are mind-boggling. I have more spices than Columbus. Flavor explosion has repercussions. You must closely follow the recipe without guarantees. Best aha. Double down on one spice and move on. If you like it, it's great.

I naturally gravitate towards cumin soups, fennel dishes, mint rice, oregano pasta, basil thai curry and cardamom pudding.

Variety enhances life. Each of my dishes is unique.

To each their own comfort food and nostalgic memories.

Happy living!

Scott Hickmann

Scott Hickmann

1 year ago   Draft

This is a draft

My wallpape

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Sam Bourgi

Sam Bourgi

2 years ago

DAOs are legal entities in Marshall Islands.

The Pacific island state recognizes decentralized autonomous organizations.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands has recognized decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) as legal entities, giving collectively owned and managed blockchain projects global recognition.

The Marshall Islands' amended the Non-Profit Entities Act 2021 that now recognizes DAOs, which are blockchain-based entities governed by self-organizing communities. Incorporating Admiralty LLC, the island country's first DAO, was made possible thanks to the amendement. MIDAO Directory Services Inc., a domestic organization established to assist DAOs in the Marshall Islands, assisted in the incorporation.

The new law currently allows any DAO to register and operate in the Marshall Islands.

“This is a unique moment to lead,” said Bobby Muller, former Marshall Islands chief secretary and co-founder of MIDAO. He believes DAOs will help create “more efficient and less hierarchical” organizations.

A global hub for DAOs, the Marshall Islands hopes to become a global hub for DAO registration, domicile, use cases, and mass adoption. He added:

"This includes low-cost incorporation, a supportive government with internationally recognized courts, and a technologically open environment."

According to the World Bank, the Marshall Islands is an independent island state in the Pacific Ocean near the Equator. To create a blockchain-based cryptocurrency that would be legal tender alongside the US dollar, the island state has been actively exploring use cases for digital assets since at least 2018.

In February 2018, the Marshall Islands approved the creation of a new cryptocurrency, Sovereign (SOV). As expected, the IMF has criticized the plan, citing concerns that a digital sovereign currency would jeopardize the state's financial stability. They have also criticized El Salvador, the first country to recognize Bitcoin (BTC) as legal tender.

Marshall Islands senator David Paul said the DAO legislation does not pose the same issues as a government-backed cryptocurrency. “A sovereign digital currency is financial and raises concerns about money laundering,” . This is more about giving DAOs legal recognition to make their case to regulators, investors, and consumers.

DC Palter

DC Palter

1 year ago

Why Are There So Few Startups in Japan?

Japan's startup challenge: 7 reasons

Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

Every day, another Silicon Valley business is bought for a billion dollars, making its founders rich while growing the economy and improving consumers' lives.

Google, Amazon, Twitter, and Medium dominate our daily lives. Tesla automobiles and Moderna Covid vaccinations.

The startup movement started in Silicon Valley, California, but the rest of the world is catching up. Global startup buzz is rising. Except Japan.

644 of CB Insights' 1170 unicorns—successful firms valued at over $1 billion—are US-based. China follows with 302 and India third with 108.

Japan? 6!

1% of US startups succeed. The third-largest economy is tied with small Switzerland for startup success.

Mexico (8), Indonesia (12), and Brazil (12) have more successful startups than Japan (16). South Korea has 16. Yikes! Problem?

Why Don't Startups Exist in Japan More?

Not about money. Japanese firms invest in startups. To invest in startups, big Japanese firms create Silicon Valley offices instead of Tokyo.

Startups aren't the issue either. Local governments are competing to be Japan's Shirikon Tani, providing entrepreneurs financing, office space, and founder visas.

Startup accelerators like Plug and Play in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, the Startup Hub in Kobe, and Google for Startups are many.

Most of the companies I've encountered in Japan are either local offices of foreign firms aiming to expand into the Japanese market or small businesses offering local services rather than disrupting a staid industry with new ideas.

There must be a reason Japan can develop world-beating giant corporations like Toyota, Nintendo, Shiseido, and Suntory but not inventive startups.

Culture, obviously. Japanese culture excels in teamwork, craftsmanship, and quality, but it hates moving fast, making mistakes, and breaking things.

If you have a brilliant idea in Silicon Valley, quit your job, get money from friends and family, and build a prototype. To fund the business, you approach angel investors and VCs.

Most non-startup folks don't aware that venture capitalists don't want good, profitable enterprises. That's wonderful if you're developing a solid small business to consult, open shops, or make a specialty product. However, you must pay for it or borrow money. Venture capitalists want moon rockets. Silicon Valley is big or bust. Almost 90% will explode and crash. The few successes are remarkable enough to make up for the failures.

Silicon Valley's high-risk, high-reward attitude contrasts with Japan's incrementalism. Japan makes the best automobiles and cleanrooms, but it fails to produce new items that grow the economy.

Changeable? Absolutely. But, what makes huge manufacturing enterprises successful and what makes Japan a safe and comfortable place to live are inextricably connected with the lack of startups.

Barriers to Startup Development in Japan

These are the 7 biggest obstacles to Japanese startup success.

  1. Unresponsive Employment Market

While the lifelong employment system in Japan is evolving, the average employee stays at their firm for 12 years (15 years for men at large organizations) compared to 4.3 years in the US. Seniority, not experience or aptitude, determines career routes, making it tough to quit a job to join a startup and then return to corporate work if it fails.

  1. Conservative Buyers

Even if your product is buggy and undocumented, US customers will migrate to a cheaper, superior one. Japanese corporations demand perfection from their trusted suppliers and keep with them forever. Startups need income fast, yet product evaluation takes forever.

  1. Failure intolerance

Japanese business failures harm lives. Failed forever. It hinders risk-taking. Silicon Valley embraces failure. Build another startup if your first fails. Build a third if that fails. Every setback is viewed as a learning opportunity for success.

4. No Corporate Purchases

Silicon Valley industrial giants will buy fast-growing startups for a lot of money. Many huge firms have stopped developing new goods and instead buy startups after the product is validated.

Japanese companies prefer in-house product development over startup acquisitions. No acquisitions mean no startup investment and no investor reward.

Startup investments can also be monetized through stock market listings. Public stock listings in Japan are risky because the Nikkei was stagnant for 35 years while the S&P rose 14x.

5. Social Unity Above Wealth

In Silicon Valley, everyone wants to be rich. That creates a competitive environment where everyone wants to succeed, but it also promotes fraud and societal problems.

Japan values communal harmony above individual success. Wealthy folks and overachievers are avoided. In Japan, renegades are nearly impossible.

6. Rote Learning Education System

Japanese high school graduates outperform most Americans. Nonetheless, Japanese education is known for its rote memorization. The American system, which fails too many kids, emphasizes creativity to create new products.

  1. Immigration.

Immigrants start 55% of successful Silicon Valley firms. Some come for university, some to escape poverty and war, and some are recruited by Silicon Valley startups and stay to start their own.

Japan is difficult for immigrants to start a business due to language barriers, visa restrictions, and social isolation.

How Japan Can Promote Innovation

Patchwork solutions to deep-rooted cultural issues will not work. If customers don't buy things, immigration visas won't aid startups. Startups must have a chance of being acquired for a huge sum to attract investors. If risky startups fail, employees won't join.

Will Japan never have a startup culture?

Once a consensus is reached, Japan changes rapidly. A dwindling population and standard of living may lead to such consensus.

Toyota and Sony were firms with renowned founders who used technology to transform the world. Repeatable.

Silicon Valley is flawed too. Many people struggle due to wealth disparities, job churn and layoffs, and the tremendous ups and downs of the economy caused by stock market fluctuations.

The founders of the 10% successful startups are heroes. The 90% that fail and return to good-paying jobs with benefits are never mentioned.

Silicon Valley startup culture and Japanese corporate culture are opposites. Each have pros and cons. Big Japanese corporations make the most reliable, dependable, high-quality products yet move too slowly. That's good for creating cars, not social networking apps.

Can innovation and success be encouraged without eroding social cohesion? That can motivate software firms to move fast and break things while recognizing the beauty and precision of expert craftsmen? A hybrid culture where Japan can make the world's best and most original items. Hopefully.

DC Palter

DC Palter

1 year ago

Is Venture Capital a Good Fit for Your Startup?

5 VC investment criteria

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I reviewed 200 startup business concepts last week. Brainache.

The enterprises sold various goods and services. The concepts were achingly similar: give us money, we'll produce a product, then get more to expand. No different from daily plans and pitches.

Most of those 200 plans sounded plausible. But 10% looked venture-worthy. 90% of startups need alternatives to venture finance.

With the success of VC-backed businesses and the growth of venture funds, a common misperception is that investors would fund any decent company idea. Finding investors that believe in the firm and founders is the key to funding.

Incorrect. Venture capital needs investing in certain enterprises. If your startup doesn't match the model, as most early-stage startups don't, you can revise your business plan or locate another source of capital.

Before spending six months pitching angels and VCs, make sure your startup fits these criteria.

Likely to generate $100 million in sales

First, I check the income predictions in a pitch deck. If it doesn't display $100M, don't bother.

The math doesn't work for venture financing in smaller businesses.

Say a fund invests $1 million in a startup valued at $5 million that is later acquired for $20 million. That's a win everyone should celebrate. Most VCs don't care.

Consider a $100M fund. The fund must reach $360M in 7 years with a 20% return. Only 20-30 investments are possible. 90% of the investments will fail, hence the 23 winners must return $100M-$200M apiece. $15M isn't worth the work.

Angel investors and tiny funds use the same ideas as venture funds, but their smaller scale affects the calculations. If a company can support its growth through exit on less than $2M in angel financing, it must have $25M in revenues before large companies will consider acquiring it.

Aiming for Hypergrowth

A startup's size isn't enough. It must expand fast.

Developing a great business takes time. Complex technology must be constructed and tested, a nationwide expansion must be built, or production procedures must go from lab to pilot to factories. These can be enormous, world-changing corporations, but venture investment is difficult.

The normal 10-year venture fund life. Investments are made during first 3–4 years.. 610 years pass between investment and fund dissolution. Funds need their investments to exit within 5 years, 7 at the most, therefore add a safety margin.

Longer exit times reduce ROI. A 2-fold return in a year is excellent. Loss at 2x in 7 years.

Lastly, VCs must prove success to raise their next capital. The 2nd fund is raised from 1st fund portfolio increases. Third fund is raised using 1st fund's cash return. Fund managers must raise new money quickly to keep their jobs.

Branding or technology that is protected

No big firm will buy a startup at a high price if they can produce a competing product for less. Their development teams, consumer base, and sales and marketing channels are large. Who needs you?

Patents, specialist knowledge, or brand name are the only answers. The acquirer buys this, not the thing.

I've heard of several promising startups. It's not a decent investment if there's no exit strategy.

A company that installs EV charging stations in apartments and shopping areas is an example. It's profitable, repeatable, and big. A terrific company. Not a startup.

This building company's operations aren't secret. No technology to protect, no special information competitors can't figure out, no go-to brand name. Despite the immense possibilities, a large construction company would be better off starting their own.

Most venture businesses build products, not services. Services can be profitable but hard to safeguard.

Probable purchase at high multiple

Once a software business proves its value, acquiring it is easy. Pharma and medtech firms have given up on their own research and instead acquire startups after regulatory permission. Many startups, especially in specialized areas, have this weakness.

That doesn't mean any lucrative $25M-plus business won't be acquired. In many businesses, the venture model requires a high exit premium.

A startup invents a new glue. 3M, BASF, Henkel, and others may buy them. Adding more adhesive to their catalogs won't boost commerce. They won't compete to buy the business. They'll only buy a startup at a profitable price. The acquisition price represents a moderate EBITDA multiple.

The company's $100M revenue presumably yields $10m in profits (assuming they’ve reached profitability at all). A $30M-$50M transaction is likely. Not terrible, but not what venture investors want after investing $25M to create a plant and develop the business.

Private equity buys profitable companies for a moderate profit multiple. It's a good exit for entrepreneurs, but not for investors seeking 10x or more what PE firms pay. If a startup offers private equity as an exit, the conversation is over.

Constructed for purchase

The startup wants a high-multiple exit. Unless the company targets $1B in revenue and does an IPO, exit means acquisition.

If they're constructing the business for acquisition or themselves, founders must decide.

If you want an indefinitely-running business, I applaud you. We need more long-term founders. Most successful organizations are founded around consumer demands, not venture capital's urge to grow fast and exit. Not venture funding.

if you don't match the venture model, what to do

VC funds moonshots. The 10% that succeed are extraordinary. Not every firm is a rocketship, and launching the wrong startup into space, even with money, will explode.

But just because your startup won't make $100M in 5 years doesn't mean it's a bad business. Most successful companies don't follow this model. It's not venture capital-friendly.

Although venture capital gets the most attention due to a few spectacular triumphs (and disasters), it's not the only or even most typical option to fund a firm.

Other ways to support your startup:

  • Personal and family resources, such as credit cards, second mortgages, and lines of credit

  • bootstrapping off of sales

  • government funding and honors

  • Private equity & project financing

  • collaborating with a big business

  • Including a business partner

Before pitching angels and VCs, be sure your startup qualifies. If so, include them in your pitch.