Fri, 6 August 2010
Turnarounds ... Restructurings ... Reorganizations .. Oh My!
Alphonso Spence, CEO of Trinity Corporation, is a man you want on speed dial if you're having business difficulties. In addition to teaching business at two colleges, he's completed some real interesting turnarounds of distressed firms.
He joins The Looney Executive to discuss the signs and remedies for troubled businesses. In part I of our discussion Alphonso lays out some of the typical red flags of trouble. A couple of key, and obvious, signs include:
Also, Alphonso cites competition, or rather the inability to respond to it, as another key factor.
And of course Jennifer Vallarautto, CEO of Office Out Of The Box, returns to offer you tips on saving money and working with your office technology.
So click the link below or POD button above to listen now!
Fri, 18 June 2010
Find A Niche And Be King ... Or Queen!
So it's just another day in Silicon Valley. "Mature Entrepreneurs" are cashing out ... Growth Entrepreneurs are chirping about their new ventures and reading their press clippings ... Would-be entrepreneurs are meeting at coffee houses, student unions, Meet-up groups, and in private homes to discuss the new new thing!
But what about Middle America?
Detroit ... Dayton ... Cleveland ... St. Louis.
How do these and similar markets generate excitement and buzz about entrepreneurship?
Well Dave Gasper has some definite thoughts about that. Dave is the CEO of Initial Point Corp., an entrepreneurship consultancy based in Dayton, OH. As a successful serial entrepreneur and Angel investor, Dave has unique insight into what it takes to create a dynamic environment that fosters tech entrepreneurship.
In Part I of our discussion, Dave says that entrepreneurs need to find a niche and own it. He also says that technologists and business builders need to do better at connecting with each other
And by the way, did you know that one of the first search engines was developed in Dayton, OH?
Neither did I!
Last, but definitely not least, Jennifer Vallarautto returns in our new segment "Out Of The Box Ideas With Jen". She offers up some tips on making tech work together and Voice over IP technology ... Good Stuff!
So click the link below or POD button above to listen now!
Fri, 14 May 2010
Even savvy investors make big mistakes. And Jim Butz, an angel investor based in Carlsbad, CA, is no different. He's picked a dog or two. And from his mistakes he's learned a key rule of investing: By the way, that's not the same A team that includes Mr. T and 3 other army renegades. But it does mean your team must be top notch to attract equity investments. In Part II of our discussion on venture debt, Jim dishes on valuation, emerging tech in Southern California, and the time he got so mad that he went across the table at a group of, uh, confused entrepreneurs!
Even savvy investors make big mistakes. And Jim Butz, an angel investor based in Carlsbad, CA, is no different. He's picked a dog or two. And from his mistakes he's learned a key rule of investing:
By the way, that's not the same A team that includes Mr. T and 3 other army renegades. But it does mean your team must be top notch to attract equity investments.
In Part II of our discussion on venture debt, Jim dishes on valuation, emerging tech in Southern California, and the time he got so mad that he went across the table at a group of, uh, confused entrepreneurs!
Oh, and one more thing. Jennifer Vallarautto, President of Office Out Of The Box, offers up a great tip in our new segment "Out Of The Box Ideas With Jen".
So go ahead and click on the link below or the POD button above to hear the interview.
Fri, 30 April 2010
Uh Oh ... Chongo!
That's a well-known line from a late 1960's show called Danger Island. It's what someone said when a character named Chongo got into trouble.
And Jonathan Aberman is saying that right now about early stage venture investing in the U.S. Jonathan is Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures, an early stage VC firm in McLean, VA.
In Part Deux of the interview, Jonathan gives his perspective on how the federal governemt should collaborate with experienced company builders to kick-start early stage investing and innovation.
Oh yea, we even flashed back to the 1980's with a discussion about how former bond King Michael Milken used "junk bonds" to finance growth firms.
Finally, we're introducing a new segment called "Out-of-the-Box Ideas With Jen". Jennifer Vallarautto, President of Office-Out-of-the-Box, presents interesting tips and ideas for businesses.
Uh Oh Chongo! You're not listening yet. So go ahead and click on the link below or the POD button above to listen to our latest show!
Thu, 8 April 2010
So What's Your Exit Strategy?
Uh, I mean, how we will make money and when?
According to Jim Butz, that's what investors really mean when they ask about your exit strategy. Jim is the co-founder of Resonnect, a consulting company based in Carslbad, CA. He's also an investor with California Capital Partners, a venture debt firm near Los Angeles.
In Part I of our discussion, I started off thinking we'd discuss angel financing. But Jim initially focused on his bread and butter ... venture debt funding. It's an alternative and less expensive form of financing that's a hybrid between equity and debt (it's mostly debt by the way, with a little equity kicker added!). But it's definitely not for early stage firms with no profits to repay the debt.
Jim also gives an overview of how VCs make their money. But maybe the most intriguing item is his story about an investment in a pet pharma company. And the specialist vets treating the sick pets take only cash money homey!
Oh by the way, Jim runs a web site called Startup Coast. It has all sorts of great stuff for tech entrepreneurs.
So click the Direct Download link below to hear Jim's financing wisdom!
Thu, 25 March 2010
A Dinosaur lumbering through the forest!
That's how Jonathan Aberman describes the increasing concentration of venture capital into the hands of massive sized venture funds. This means that the big funds get bigger, slower, and more risk-averse ... as the smaller funds are being choked off from funding sources. This is one symptom of how U.S. innovation is being slowed by the trickling of early stage capital to entrepreneurs.
Jonathan Aberman is the Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures, an early stage VC fund based in The Washington, DC region. In Part I of his interview, Jonathan provides some ideas to jump-start early stage investing. His prescription, also described in detail in his free whitepaper, include:
Jonathan also gives a real good overview of the various stages of company financing. And he points out that some existing government programs already provide a bit of early stage financing.
For more details, you can find Jonathan's blog post and white paper - What the Government Should Do About the Decline in the Venture Capital Industry - at AmplifierNetwork.com, the social networking site of Amplifier Ventures.
In the meantime, delay no further Looney Executive. Listen now to our interview with Jonathan Aberman to learn about the current state of early stage investing!
Fri, 12 March 2010
Want another way to make some dough?
I'll assume your answer is a definite yes!
For many entrepreneurs, taking a technology from concept to product is the standard business practice. But there's another fast-growing model you should consider that could also be quite lucrative. It's called licensing.
Jeff Matsuura, world renown IP expert and author lays out a step-by-step approach to creating a licensing business model. As an attorney with the Alliance Law Group, Jeff has worked on numerous licensing projects.
And he lays out 3 key components to successful licensing:
According to Jeff, even though you're not manufacturing the product, you still need to have a robust marketing effort to find licensing partners!
Jeff also says that Ocean Tomo is an intellectual property marketplace that entrepreneurs should look at.
Thu, 25 February 2010
Be Prepared To Do Lots Of Research (Pun Intended)!
According to Jeff Shick, the process of technology commercialization can be a lucrative venture avenue for tech entrepreneurs. Whether it's commercializing technology from a federal government lab, or perhaps licensing technology from a university, there are numerous ways to exploit un-commercialized technology.
But it takes lots of market research to, uh, be successful in commercializing tech research.
Jeff is the Director of Manufacturing and Technology for the Ohio Small Business Development Centers. Operating in Central Ohio, he travels around assisting tech entrepreneurs with commercialization and licensing issues, among other things of course.
In our discussion, Jeff offers up some tips on how to successfully navigate tech commercialization:
Jeff also discusses the federal government small business innovative research program (SBIR) and provides some resources that will help you to discover potential tech commercialization opportunities and partners.
Listen now to hear Jeff's tips and advice on tech commercialization.
Happy Deal Hunting!
Fri, 12 February 2010
It's an age-old dilemma folks.
Where do you get the initial funds to build your product?
Like many other entrepreneurs, Troy Miller believed in his idea so much that he raided his retirement account for those initial funds ... $80,000 to be exact.
A good idea? Well, only time will tell!
Troy is the founder of ATM Central Development, a Columbus, OH based developer of healthcare applications. His key product is an application that professes to save hospitals $$$thousnds$$$ on the front end and potentially $$$millions$$$ over the course of a few years.
Sounds like an easy pitch to me!
In our Looney Executive interview, Troy dishes on issues such as:
And much more!
Troy is also an elected city councilman with definite ideas on tech public policy. Unfortunately, we didn't get to that compelling discussion. But we'll bring him back again ... I promise!
Now don't waste any more time. Listen to Troy's interview now!
Fri, 29 January 2010
Thu, 7 January 2010
You've Got To Think About Growth Beyond The Darkness!
The darkness for many is the current economic crisis that has caused tight lending, more scrutiny from equity investors, and cost-cutting from clients!
But you must think about growth anyway.
So says Susan Lentz. Susan is the Director of the Maricopa Small Business Development Center (SBDC), based in Tempe, AZ!
In a real interesting and frank discussion, Susan dishes on the role of SBDCs in facilitating business growth. She also provides some key tips including:
* Back up your entrepreneurial zeal with good research!
* Even most experts can't tell you if your venture will breakout or be a dud!
* Arizona has a small but growing tech venture community!
* Building a family venture can be ... uh, well let's say very challenging!
Susan also tells a great story about an entrepreneur that made millions with a very looney idea!
Now don't waste any more time. Listen to Susan's interview now!
Thu, 17 December 2009
What's Your Greatest Fear?
I'd bet that facing a large deadly predator bare-handed might be somewhere on the list!
But that's exactly what Tony Manuel had to do in coming face-to-face with a large mountain lion. Fortunately for Tony, the big cat decided to walk past him and go about his business. Actually, I think it's more fortunate for the mountain lion!
Tony Manuel is the founder and CEO of Stan Solutions, a Dayton, OH based defense technology firm. Stan Solutions makes technology that helps to minimize friendly fire incidents on the battlefield.
Tony's insights include:
* Entrepreneur tips: Look for the opportunity in a crisis!
* Why he's different: A family of 18 kids honed his highly competitive instincts!
* Differentiation: A multi-skilled workforce means less personnel and more productivity!
Tony has much more to tell. His personal story is the stuff of feature films. We just hit the very tip of the iceberg in this interview. But since he's one of our featured executives, in the coming months you'll learn a lot more about Tony as we follow him and Stan Solutions.
Now don't waste any more time. Listen to Tony's interview now!
Thu, 10 December 2009
Did you know that Ohio has the second largest Angel investment group in the U.S.?
I bet the answer is no!
Ohio also has one of the most progressive state-wide efforts to foster the growth of tech ventures and jobs.
Ted Ford, CEO of TechColumbus, joins the series to discuss tech ventures in Ohio. And Ted provides a fantastic look into one of the organizations at the front lines making tech ventures go, especially in Central Ohio.
TechColumbus provides services and assistance to help tech entrepreneurs hone their ideas, launch their ventures, raise capital and grow. This includes a nationally known incubator.
Ted's insights include:
* Financing tips: A clear biz plan and a President with tech startup and venture financing experience are key!
* Emerging tech sectors in Central Ohio: IT, medical devices, advanced materials!
* Entrepreneurs need to be willing to give up control to be successful!
Ted''s excellent adventures include an acid rain trip that was a debacle at the time, but became a great learning experience!
Acid rain ... I haven't heard that term since the 80's.
Ted’s Looniest Moment:
Having to raise $7.5 Million in 70 days for TechColumbus.
So delay no longer my friend. Listen to the interview now by clicking the "POD" button at the top left of the page!
Thu, 3 December 2009
What keeps an entrepreneur up at night?
Well the list is pretty long and might possibly include:
* Deciding between various options for raising capital ... but giving up equity and control in the process!
* Dealing with vendors that you've outsourced to for product development!
* Spending so much time away from your family to run the venture!
* Tripling the number of company employees!
* Investing all of your savings in the venture ... and not being paid for several months!
Well Manoj Ramnani has had to deal with all of these. Manoj is the Founder and CEO of DubMeNow, a mobile tech venture based in Vienna, VA.
DubMeNow is a business card exchange platform that allows easy information exchange between mobile phones. But the company has also penetrated the university market by allowing the distribution of various content to students' cell phones.
In total the company has raised $2,000,000, most of which has gone to product development and marketing. Since Manoj is one of our featured entrepreneurs, we'll be following his and DubMeNow's progress over the next several months.
It looks to be a real interesting ride as he and his cohorts reach near that magical 1,000,000 user milestone and attempt to turn DubMeNow into a viral success!
Manoj's biggest mistake in the last year:
Depending on outside vendors for product development work!
Manoj’s Looniest Moment:
Deciding whether to raise an additional $5,000,000 and give up lots of equity or raise a much smaller amount and keep a larger ownership of the firm ... but risk being under-funded!
So what are you waiting for? Listen to the interview to hear Manoj Ramnani's story and his fund-raising travails!
Fri, 27 November 2009
Contrary to popular opinion, RFID was not a character on any Star Wars Episode!
However, it does stand for Radio Frequency Identification. And it’s a technology that has numerous applications. One of those is for tracking sales data in retail point-of-sale systems.
Jack Eggert, Co-founder and CEO of WeConectIT, joins The Looney Executive to discuss his company, the technology, and the challenges of launching a tech venture.
Based in Dayton, OH, WeConectIT has a handful of installations and is looking for a broader rollout to additional locations. Jack and his partner started with $60,000 in friends and family funding. Now, in order to grow fast, they want to raise an additional $3,000,000!
Will Jack be able to raise the $3,000,000?
Well of course that remains to be seen. But since Jack is one of our “Featured Entrepreneurs” you’ll be able to follow his progress for the duration of this series.
One of Jack’s best tip for other fast-growth entrepreneurs:
Whatever you do … don’t under-fund your venture!
Jack’s favorite Mogul:
Jack’s Looniest Moment:
A very smart math PhD tried to connect to a network by simulating modem sounds with his mouth!
So what are you waiting for? Listen to the interview to find out more about Jack Eggert, WeConectIT, and RFID technology!
Thu, 19 November 2009
Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents … Oh My!
Attorney Jeff Matsuura helps to launch our new emerging growth series with a very interesting discussion on intellectual property, aka IP.
In less than 30 minutes, he gives an “Intellectual Property 101” course that defines IP and the different ways it can be protected.
Jeff is a pre-eminent global practitioner of IP law and the author of numerous books, including:
* The Law of the Internet
* Managing Intellectual Assets in the Digital Age
* Jefferson vs. The Patent Trolls
Thomas Jefferson had to fight Trolls … really?
According to Jeff, when you create something original from your own thoughts, you’ve created intellectual property.
But hold on a second.
He also says that by simply creating IP doesn’t necessarily mean it has any commercial value!
And commercial value is the measure of whether or not you should seek a patent, trademark, or other protection.
So to learn more about how to protect your own intellectual property listen now to this discussion with Jeff Matsuura.
Fri, 21 November 2008
Manoj Ramnani, CEO and Founder of DubMeNow, has a technology to automate the exchange of business information.
The Vienna, VA based firm just launched a product that facilitates the automatic exchange of business card information for those Looney Executives that have smart phones such as Apple's iPhone.
And his competitiors should be forewarned:
He loves the movie "Goodfellas".
As far as I know, he's not responsible for any bodies found in the East River or Arizona desert.
But he does have a another successful venture under his belt!
So listen in as Manoj discusses:
Thu, 6 November 2008
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To get to the other side of course!
What you might not know about that old joke is ... the chicken might have been wearing rose colored contact lenses!
Yes, someone pitched the idea of chicken contact lenses to Mark Levine, Managing Director of Core Capital Partners, a VC firm based in Washington, DC.
In Part II of my interview with Mark, he recounts that chicken tale and provides some insight into the VC world:
* Exit strategies
* Hot investment areas
* Why entrepreneurs should not be so focused on valuations
Mark also discusses the value of "The Art of War", and why upstart entrepreneurs are his favorite moguls, beating out the likes of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates!
Thu, 23 October 2008
Letitia Green is the Managing Director of The Virginia Active Angel Network based in Charlottesville, VA.
In Part II of our discussion, Letitia offers up some great tips including:
Letitia also tells the tale of the time a woman pitched her a real interesting investment opportunity:
A nationwide psychic franchise operation for paranormal activity!
Letitia also discusses whether or not a bubble exists in social networking.
Oh, and her favortie biz movie ... "War Games"!
Thu, 23 October 2008
IntepPros Consulting is a fast-growing technology services firm based in Massachussets, and with a regional office in Rockville, MD.
The company generates well over $20,000,000 in revenue ... with plans to reach more than 3 times that in the next few years!
At Twin Tech II, I interview Richard Dinnis, the Regional VP of the IntePro's Rockville, MD office about the firm's fast growth.
Thu, 9 October 2008
TechLab develops medical technology to diagnose what ails those of us with, uh how shall I say, intestinal problems!
Its founder, Tracy Wilkins, is a serial entrepreneur that has both bootstrapped his way to success, and leveraged venture financing to grow fast and cash out.
He likes bootstrapping better.
Listen to Tracy's compelling tales of business ... including a run-in with a large beer company over a T-shirt, and making the front page of a tabloid paper!
Thu, 9 October 2008
Here's Another Twin Tech II Bonus Interview!
Navigation Arts implements large complex web technology projects. This includes Web 2.0, Web 1.0, and Web no dot oh!
Listen to Michael Endres, VP of Client Services, discuss Navigation Arts and the state of Internet technology.
Direct download: Michael_Endres_-_VP_of_Client_Services_for_Navigation_Arts.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:45 PM
Thu, 2 October 2008
Twin Tech II brought together over 1,000 players from the Wahington - Baltimore technology communities. This includes emerging growth firms, government contractors, financiers, consultants, plain old geeks, and many more!
At Twin Tech II, Blake Glenn interviews the executives of a company called evDeliv.com, an upstart firm that promises to marry the desktop with the Internet in delivering all sorts of services.
Listen to Shawn Busteed (CEO) and Julie Soukup (VP of Marketing) tell the story of their exciting, but challenging, first year in business!
Now they're ready to grab for the money tree in the form of VC or Angel financing!
Wed, 1 October 2008
Mark Levine is a Managing Director with Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm based in Washington, DC.
In Part I of our discussion, Mark talks about:
... and so much more!
Thu, 11 September 2008
Entrepreneur Peter Corbett Launches iStrategy Labs, Co-Founds The Twin Tech Event, And Creates A Web Site For Cavemen!
Thu, 4 September 2008
Jeff Frizzell of the Hampton Roads Film Office Thinks Content Is Not King In This Era of Digital Media ... At Least Not Yet!
Thu, 21 August 2008
Thu, 7 August 2008
Thu, 24 July 2008
Thu, 10 July 2008
Thu, 26 June 2008
Thu, 19 June 2008
Thu, 5 June 2008
Thu, 22 May 2008
Thu, 8 May 2008
Thu, 1 May 2008
Thu, 24 April 2008
Fri, 18 April 2008