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2013 – A Year for Balance

January 1, 2013

First, I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I’m excited about 2013, and the opportunities coming this year.

As I think many of us do at this time of year, I’ve been doing a lot of planning and goal-setting for the coming year. I’m not a New Year’s Resolution person, but I usually try to look holistically at the year ahead, set some overall goals for myself, and then work toward them.

This year my theme is balance.

I’m seeking balance not just in my own life, but also for the companies that I work with, and I’m hoping against hope that our dysfunctional government will seek some true fiscal balance this year.

For those who know me, and know that I love yoga, this is very much in line with my goal of keeping mind, body and spirit in balance. My issue is that I am not nearly as good at the practice as I am the theory. But, as with all things, I’m a work in progress, and this year my intention is to keep making progress.

Personal Balance

Personally, balance mostly comes down to time management, and aligning my time with my priorities. I’m going to run a few simple experiments following the templates provided by Stew Friedman in his Total Leadership Program. For those who haven’t read it, I highly recommend his book, and the program! http://www.totalleadership.org/

My simple experiments are:
– Shut off my computer and phone for 2 hours/day when I get home so I can spend some quality time with my family
– Leave a little food on my plate at each meal, and eat fresh greens every day
– Put one hour per day in my calendar to reach out to people I should be staying connected with. This will be a mix of personal, community and work, with the goal of doing a better job of staying connected and contributing this year than I did in 2012.

These are fairly simple experiments as you can see, and should be quite achievable. (I have much bigger goals behind these, but the theme is achieving balance in a stepwise fashion). That said, I keep a very taxing schedule, and don’t often leave much room for things that should be priorities, so it won’t be as easy as it may sound.

As I look at 2013 beyond my own personal goals and experiments, I’m hoping for balance in many areas.

At Blumberg Capital, we have been and are very active in funding seed-stage companies for the past few years. As we look to the new year, we expect to continue to be active investors, and are working hard to find the right balance of support for our portfolio and finding new opportunities. Our expanding team is giving us more bandwidth, and we very much pride ourselves on always being available for our companies. We strive to be the best partners that we possibly can be, and we are looking to continuously improve in 2013 and beyond.

Balance for Founders & Financings

I recently wrote a post on Venture Beat, “An Investor’s Guide to Surviving the Series A Crunch” http://ow.ly/gt44Z, where I gave some tips, and all of my advice can be linked to balance as well. It is imperative that founders take a close look at their plans– make sure there is enough time and money to get the company to the next level. CEO’s don’t have the ability to kick the can down the road the way Congress does. Balancing the resources available (which are often scarce) with desires and opportunities is a difficult thing. I find myself continually impressed by the CEO’s I work with, who are on top of all facets of their businesses and execute at high levels.

I expect this year to be one where there is a healthy balance in financing. There will be some Darwinian forces at work due to the large number of previously seed-funded companies, some of which will not be able to secure their next round. But, as my article in Venture Beat said, I see plenty of activity in Series A and later financing, and the very good companies will continue to find financing available. I believe there will be fewer seed deals done this year than in 2011 or 2012, but I expect some great companies to be started and funded this year.

Hoping for Balance at a National Level

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my sincere hope is that we can also find some balance in our country. I cannot say that the recent “fiscal cliff” negotiations have me very optimistic, but maybe we can find a way to break through at least some of the partisanship. I want to leave my daughters with a stronger and better country than we have today, but it will take a lot of work, some sacrifice and a bunch of balance to get there.

Bullish on 2013
I want to end by saying that I am very bullish about the opportunities for entrepreneurs in 2013; we are in the middle of a great wave of innovation, and I am fortunate to meet amazing people who want to change the world every day. I am optimistic that some of them will succeed, and 2013 will be a year of great progress.

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