5 Early Stage Startup Risks

  1. Failure. The vast majority of venture backed early stage startups fail. Most of the numbers I see are in the 90s in terms of percent of those startups that eventually fail. It’s a very high risk, high reward security to invest in.
  2. Failure to fully raise. One of the biggest things I’ve learned as a founder of Titan Angels is that there’s a herd mentality with investors. For many investors, they won’t even consider an investment unless some other investor has already invested. Part of that can be chalked up to a lack of conviction on the part of investors but it’s really more about the risk associated with a startup failing to raise the money that they need to effectively launch. Let’s say a startup needs to raise $500,000. Would you want to be the first person to invest $20,000 in that company? They still need to raise another $480,000 after you have invested. And if they don’t raise the rest of that money then the startup will likely fail and will almost certainly failing at coming through on their growth potential.
  3. Technology Risk. Can the startup even make what they say they are going to make? It’s great that something works in the lab or in a model on the computer but can it be created at scale? You don’t know until you do it.
  4. Market Risk. Even if a founder has followed all the great advice from organizations like Y Combinator and experts like Paul Graham they never know for sure if all their affirmation from potential customers is actually going to come to fruition. Even if you get 95% of potential customers saying that they would by your product that doesn’t actually mean they are going to buy your product. You don’t know until you do it.
  5. Failure to raise enough money. This is another issue and for many first time founders it’s something that they don’t give enough attention to. Growing a startup is hard work and early successes could make it even harder because in that situation you’re going to need to raise more money to keep up with demand. Is that million they’re raising enough to last them to the next round of investment? Assuming they can get one, does taking out a loan early on in the life a startup make sense? Being under-funded could make it so that a startup misses out on taking advantage of an opportunity or multiple opportunities that could make or break their business in the long run. Looking at it another way, if you’re going on a car trip you’re going to make sure that you have more than enough gas in the tank to make it to the next gas station and if you don’t then you’re going to get stranded in the desert without much chance for help to come rolling by.

There are a lot of other risks with early stage startups but let’s stick with those five for now. Happy Good Friday!


Y Combinator’s Sobering Message to Startups

From Y Combinator:

For those of you who have started your company within the last 5 years, question what you believe to be the normal fundraising environment. Your fundraising experience was most likely not normal and future fundraises will be much more difficult.


Click the link above to read the whole thing.

One of the keys to building a successful business is to have a clear vision of what the outside world is up to. Know how good the economy is and drill down as far as possible. You might not think those high gas prices will negatively impact your cool new NFT avatar creation business that you are projecting to be a unicorn in four, maybe five, years but, trust me, they do have an impact.

Another something from Y Combinator worth a look is the video below about how to save your business during an economic downturn.


Raising Capital: What Every Startup Needs to Know

Presentation by John Bradley Jackson, Titan Angels fund manager and professor and director of Entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton, on raising capital.


Recommended Read for Startup Founders: Use This Proven CEO Productivity Trick for Startup Fundraising


Key takeaways:

  • Every member of a startup team has at least a handful of things that can be considered “top priority”, so you can’t just focus on one thing solely, such as fundraising
  • But there are some things you can do to help, says Joe Procopio, an entrepreneur with multiple exits under his belt
  • Creating a time frame for accomplishing your goal is important, otherwise it’s just a wish and a prayer
  • You can prioritize by focusing on a top-top priority at the start of every day and dedicating more time to it, as would be the case when you are raising money

Click the link above to read the whole article. It’s some excellent advice for founders to at least consider.

Lyrid Portfolio Company News Titan Angels II

Lyrid Raises $1.1m In Seed To Bring Cloud-Agnostic Technologies To Masses

Titan Angels II’s newest investment in Lyrid has just been announced. Here’s a snippet:

Lyrid announced a $1.1 million seed round led by a diverse set of notable venture capital with participation such as Plug and Play Ventures, GoAhead Ventures, Titan Angels, and ExpertDojo. The funding will help Lyrid introduce new auto-scaling managed Lyrid Kubernetes clusters on multiple cloud-hosted operators, automated updates, and consistent cluster and application monitoring. 

John Bradley Jackson, the fund manager for Titan Angels II had this to say about Lyrid:

Titan Angels II LLC is proud to announce an investment in Lyrid (, an innovative provider of a multi-cloud infrastructure platform. Lyrid is unique in that it is a “born global” company with a talented group of executives and technologists located all over the world. This global mindset has greatly accelerated their revenue stream while allowing them to provide greater value to their customers. Titan Angels II LLC forecasts a very bright future for Lyrid.

John Bradley Jackson, Fund Manager

Portfolio Company News

The Future of Health Testing | myLAB Box is leading the way

Lora Ivanova, the co-founder and CEO of myLAB Box, one of the companies we invested in through our first Titan Angels fund, was recently featured on a CNBC segment about the future of health. myLAB Box is a company that produces health testing kits for consumers to use at home. The trend was already strongly in line with this kind of service when we invested, which was before the pandemic, and the pandemic has only accelerated the shift to more at-home testing.

General Titan Angels Info

Titan Angels’ Notes

When we started our first fund five years ago we did so because we saw great investment opportunities all the time in our network that were getting passed over by other investors. These startups had great teams, good (but still unproven) business models, and seemed to us to be poised for explosive growth if only they could obtain some much needed funding and, in many circumstances, some helpful advice. So we decided to launch Titan Angels as a way to invest in these startups.

Since then, we have closed our first fund after investing in 19 companies and have opened a second fund, Titan Angels II, which has invested in seven companies to date, with one more investment that will soon be inked. You can take a look at these companies on our main page to see what kinds of companies we invest in. The common thread with all of them is that they are all very early stage companies when we invested.

There are other common threads for the companies that we invest in:

  • Solid founding team with experience and good character
  • Sustainable competitive advantage
  • Viable business model
  • Fast growth potential
  • Common sense exit plan
  • Defensible intellectual property

We decided to start Titan Angels’ Notes for a couple of reasons. The first reason was as a way of keeping tabs on public information from our portfolio companies in a way that is easily accessible to our members and to our extended networks. The other major reason for starting Notes is so that it can serve as a forum for discussing different aspects of investing and business in general.

Like the startups we invest in, Notes will evolve over time and we hope will provide value to those who read it.

In the meantime, if you would like to ask us any questions, discuss your business, are interested in becoming a member of Titan Angels II, or just want to talk about startups in general you can reach John Bradley Jackson at and Travis Lindsay can be reached at