A blog on technology commercialization and early tech-based start up development
I guess this is the very first time I’m thinking about this… As an investor, you’re supposed to help people out - and the money is often the least interesting asset you should put on the table.
Sure, money can do a lot - mostly, it can speed up stuff. But take a look a tech accelerators like Y Combinator, Techstars, Seedcamp, or One Year Labs… These guys are giving much more than money - they are coaching, bringing ideas, creating networks, improving skills, educating, pivoting, and adding so much more value!
Now, my question is: Are you helping entrepreneurs when you refuse to invest on their idea? From an investor point of view, you’re protecting your assets, reducing your risk, strategically managing your investment portfolio, and so on… But this can be devastating for an entrepreneur - his idea just got refused! How can you say know when you’ve asked him to share with you some of his biggest hopes and expectations?
Well, I guess it is natural to say no - sometimes it isn’t the right idea, the right time, the right implementation, the right team. Nevertheless, an investor still should be able to leave added value on the table, providing the most honest feedback he can give, and leaving the channel open.
Guess I had a tough time today saying another no… Welcome your thoughts on this!
Recently, I took a step out of my job as business analyst in a Portuguese hot software start-up, Cardmobili, to go on my own.
I am now working for a business angel investment company named a2b SGPS (sorry, no website yet, working on that). We are looking for early stage companies (even projects not-yet-company) in seed or start-up stage, or for more mature projects to invest in. We do prefer technology companies, or that have innovative approaches to the market. So, if you’re reading this, and are in Portugal, or willing to relocate here (and Porto is a great place), drop me a line, I’ll be happy to hear your idea.
OK, you’d say, this is the new venture… So why the plural? I’m also starting new projects on technology commercialization. I’ll be posting some stuff on these new projects in the future, so be sure to stop by!
Start ups are usually bootstraped, or ventured-backed by VCs or business angels. No news here. However, the vast majority of them (around 99.9%, I would say) include the entrepreneur: usually, the guy that had the original ideia, and has the drive and fire to persue it, exploit it, and make something larger than life.
Nevertheless, sometimes you do get to know strange people: guys that have ideias, that have started companies, that do know how to exploit a market opportunity, but do not want to execute the ideia they had. There can be many reasons for this… They have other companies to run, they have other interests. And so, they are willing to pay others to execute their ideas and implement them.
Now, what is wrong with this?
Nothing, if your entrepreneur sticks in close control of the newly founded startup, is in close touch with the person leading the company, and they breath the same air, share the same drive and passion… If it isn’t about the paycheck at the end of the day for the person leading the start up. God is in the details, and the fine tuning between these two souls must be so perfect they could understand each other without even speaking.
If all these conditions aren’t met, maybe our entrepreneur will just be surprised by a mushroom…
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, best known as Horace, was one of the greatest poets in Ancient Rome. I know it may sound strange to write about a poet on a blog about innovation and technology. But the fact is we was right:
“a book is only worth reading if, after long years of sitting closed inside a drawer, you reopen it and read it, you can’t find a flaw”
And this is exactly what I think of “The Macintosh Way”, by Guy Kawasaky. Although this book was written twenty years ago (I was just starting to learn my english), the fact is that it carries lessons on product development, evangelism and customer care anyone on the high tech industry should read. It has undoubtly become one of my favorite classics on how a company should develop and market high tech products. Doing the right thing, the right way, at the right time.
PS: If you follow Guy’s Twitter account, you can download the book free at http://freemacway.com/