Meet the Team, Follow Progress and Enjoy the Ride

This blog is about the lives of a few entrepreneurs who are aiming to establish the next trend in social networking and the concept that will make it happen. Since our venture is all about connecting people together, we want to be involved and connected to you and we want you to be involved and connected to us. We'll be sharing with you: who we are, how we got started, how we’re doing and where we’re going...we're taking you along for the ride!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Grubstake Breakfast

What a long day this has been…but, I don’t want to end it, without first, getting this post out. Today, Martin and I, were finally in a room with VCs!! We attended the Grubstake Breakfast this morning, which is hosted three times a year, by the Business Alliance of George Mason University at the McLean Hilton, in McLean, Virginia.

Our wonderful Banker Judy arranged for us to be there. The way it works, eligible companies seeking $250,000 to $2 million in investment capital apply for the opportunity to make a formal presentation to a panel of investors and to an audience of other investors, fellow entrepreneurs, potential strategic partners, and other interested parties. After each presentation, the panel and the audience provide feedback and ask questions.

The companies that presented this morning were:

And The Learning Accelerator—can’t find a website for them.

I won’t critique the presentations or presenters since, frankly, who am I do to so…however, I will state how surprisingly different each presenters were, although, they all used the same basic six slides. The companies ranged from different industries and each presenters had a style of his/her own. One of the presenters did break a few of the: “How to properly pitch VCs rules”, I have been reading about. Four out of the five companies had the CEO presenting and one did not, which I thought was odd.

The other thing I found rather annoying was when a presenter used to terms “our secret sauce”--be it in their presentation or while answering questions, I decided that, that is one expression I will stay away from using.

The panel of VCs consisted of:
Hannah Clifford from InterSouth Partners, Mark Frantz from RedShift Ventures and S. Tien Wong from Opus8. Each member of the panel asked 1 to 2 questions to the presenters. None of the questions were tricky or difficult.

I walked away knowing that I could definitely, and with ease, do that type of presentation in this meduim and nail it. We will submit to present next quarter and will hopefully be selected, that is unless, we have raised the money by then.

We didn’t get to speak directly to any of the VCs, but we did meet a couple of interesting people and leads to potential funding.

As our first event of this nature, I feel it was a success and a good learning experience. I know, believe and am confident about what we have to offer, the potential of Why Go Solo and our abilities.

We will look for more of these type of events and will become regular attendees. That's really the way to do it. People, as in other entrepreneurs, investors, and supporting organizations have to see you at the events, get to know you, network with you and then, over time, more and more opportunities begin to present themselves.
We just have to remember...even taking baby steps, will eventually get you to the the top of Mt. Everest!


Martin Saenz said...

"our secret sauce" always touches a bad nerve with me when I hear it. Unless you are Houdini or some other talented magician, your business' can be figured out through research and reverse engineering (on the product side). I understand the presenter wish to show that their business is clever, but there are more impactful ways of expressing it, such as "our product x brings y value to the market. we have the expertise and knowledge to be first to market prior to any competitors making a move." This sounds more upfront and honest. "Secret sauce" sounds to be that it cannot be figured out and you have some monopoly on a concept.

My two cents for a penny thought.

Ann Bernard said...

I received another email this morning from DCBlogs and we were definitely rejected. No hard feelings...they made some valid points, I didn't agree with them but there's not point in pushing the issue.

Hannah Clifford said...

Thanks for the mention in your blog. Please say hi next time you're at an event; not all VCs bite.

The key to your success will be perseverance, self-awareness and surrounding yourself with a great team. There will be many bumps in the road; embrace the challenges and learn from them.

Good Luck!


Martin Saenz said...

Thanks for the kind words Hannah. We are giving it everything we have. Martin