For whatever reason I cannot post a comment to my own blog, which I find highly annoying – so, I am making a Q&A post. Here are two questions people have asked me in emails/tweets/and posts.
1. Is your mom okay? (From many).
I was really touched by this question. Thanks, so much. Yes. She is a new woman. (As some of you may have seen, my mom had a near-death experience due to truly weird complications after knee surgery.)
2. Any ideas on VC resources? (From Brent in Hawaii)
First of all, your site www.greencollartech.com is cool. Okay, re VC resources…
Brent, Without knowing more detail on what kinds of VC resources you’re looking for (e.g., finding avenues for deal flow, etc.) I make the following assumption: You’re LOOKING for financing.
Below are some general links for learning about and connecting with VCs. Pardon the “square 1” discussion if you already know all this. Of course, the #1 thing is usually a connection into the firm, so asking around is key. The #2 thing is understanding what stage they invest in, as well as their “personality” to make sure you all will play well together. If you are the CEO, prepare to get ousted and lose control if you bring in a VC. That is the worst case scenario aside from failure. (Is that very doomsday? Sorry if so. But, gotta put on your big boy/big girl Underoos to play with VCs.) I would go to a VC for two things:
A. Money (a lot) to get big fast, and
B. Expertise and connections.
If you have B, you could go to an angel. Most entrepreneurs start with FFF first (friends, family, fool hearty). RE: debt – this is a tough market for debt, as many know.
Here are some places I would start for VC info:
1. Guy Kawasaki (since you got to us via his Twitter stream) http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/09/venture_capital.html (good link from his blog, there are many others).
2. The people at Angel Soft: http://www.angelsoft.net/ “The ecosystem for early stage investing”
3. The people at NCVA (National Venture Capital Association) http://www.nvca.org/
4. The people at EMPEA (if you’re into emerging markets) http://www.empea.net/
5. The MIT Enterprise forum – http://enterpriseforum.mit.edu/. Don’t see one in Hawaii, but, if you know a motivated MIT alum, maybe you could start one there. Otherwise, just try to get in on the CA ones (if they’re any good). Here in DC, they seem to be one of the most visible entities for bringing investors and entrepreneurs together.
6. TAG (The Accelration Group) – http://www.acceleration-group.com/.
Connecting angels and entrepreneurs when I last spoke with them, always looking for deal flow.
EXTRA BONUS RESOURCE for WOMEN: Springboard Enterprises
7. UNIVERSITIES – always a good locus for VC activity. E.g., Any local business plan contests at universities near you in which VCs are involved. For instance, when I search for “Hawaii University Venture Capital” many relevant links come up, particularly the following:
You will also be in an interesting situation due to your location because my guess is:
A. Lots of pretty well-off VCs and Angels have homes/retire in Hawaii
B. They didn’t get rich by sitting on their tush, and are probably looking for an occasional venture or cause with which to involve themselves part time, even if they are “retired.”
Hope this helps!
P.s. Here is my basis for answering your question (about VCs, not my mom):
1. Hanging out with entrepreneurs
2. Hanging out with VCs
3. Raising $8 from New York Life with a sr. mgt team (of which I was a part) for an aging/health venture (after speaking w/ many VCs)
5. Being taught (e.g. going to these forums – and even back to my MBA – and getting the scoop from VCs…which, theoretically, is #2).
P.s.s. And, BTW, just when you think $2 or $5 or $8 million is a lot, talk to someone who invests tens or hundreds of millions in ventures. In a strange way, it can make things less intimidating. We know someone who invests only $50 to $500 million! Ha! Asking for $5k or $20k sponsorships seemed less intimidating after learning that.
P.s.s.s. Feel free, everyone, to comment on your favorite resources or push back on my assessment. This is just a quick and dirty.