Jason Mendelson - CUNVC Crash Course Series January 13 2010
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Jason Mendelson - CUNVC Crash Course Series January 13 2010

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Jason Mendelson on "Building a Business". Through a series of workshops, crash courses, and mentorship opportunities, the CU NVC experience supports the development of new ventures and culminates ...

Jason Mendelson on "Building a Business". Through a series of workshops, crash courses, and mentorship opportunities, the CU NVC experience supports the development of new ventures and culminates with a March 2010 competition. The CU NVC is presented by entrepreneurship centers and programs across campus, including the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, Silicon Flatirons Center, eShip, ATLAS, Technology Transfer Office, and the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program.

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Jason Mendelson - CUNVC Crash Course Series January 13 2010 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. 0
    How to Build a Company
    January 13, 2010
    University of Colorado’s New Venture Challenge
    Jason Mendelson, Co-Founder and Managing Director
    Foundry Group; Chair, Silicon Flatirons Entrepreneurship Initiative
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 2. Agenda
    The idea of this presentation is to give you an all-purpose summary on company building. The workshop presentations later this semester will dive into all of these subjects and more in depth
    How to come up with the right idea for you to pursue
    Building a team
    Setting up the business
    Getting financed
    Growing a business
    Operating a business
    Common mistakes people make
    PLEASE INTERRUPT ME. Chances are that you are less boring than I am
    1
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 3. How To Do It
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
    2
  • 4. The Idea
    Pick something that you are passionate about. I mean REALLY passionate
    Building a company is tough. If you aren’t in love with your idea going in, you are hosed
    If you aren’t scratching your own itch, you probably don’t have a great idea
    Make sure that you are “market,” though
    Consider the competition. Most people skip this step
    “We are different”
    Are you really? Assume adjacent companies move toward each other.
    Well funded “non-competitors” usually are
    3
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 5. The Idea
    Is a “non-competitor” really a competitor?
    Facebook – generic social network. You decide to create one targeted to musicians / soccer moms, etc.
    Competition might not be Facebook, but the time allocated to social networks by your customers. They only have so much. Plus, FB can quickly move to compete, if need be
    Can you make money from it? (and the answer isn’t “advertising”)
    When you talk to your friends, do they get excited about it? (If you don’t have any friends, then you have other issues that I can’t help you with)
    Make sure you don’t have “technology in search of a problem”
    Seriously vet your idea. Remember, people’s incentives are to say “go for it” – it’s not their time and money being wasted
    4
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 6. Building a Team
    Find a partner (if you can’t, there might be a larger problem)
    Find mentors/advisors (Boulder is great)
    Don’t get taken advantage of
    Be self aware. It’s much more attractive than confidence
    Learn to keep people engaged
    5
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 7. Setting up the Business
    Incorporate? LLC versus C-corp
    Get your Intellectual Property in order
    Get your employment situation in order
    Watch out for oral promises (yes, you can have an oral contract)
    You get what you pay for with lawyers, but there are tons of resources in Boulder
    Use resources like BDNT, BOCC, ELC, Crash Courses, the Bunker to learn more. Knowledge is power
    6
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 8. Financing
    Don’t assume that you are going to raise funds
    Do you need financing?
    The earlier you finance the more of the company you will give up
    Be greedy!
    Angel versus VC
    Executive Summaries versus Business Plans. What makes good ones?
    Your exec summary is critical
    Business plans are for you
    7
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 9. Growing and Operating a Business
    Constantly check your assumptions. Is your idea still compelling?
    Make sure what you are building will scale
    Be customer focused. Be insane about customer experience
    Don’t be afraid to get help. You don’t know everything
    Find smart tech guys / work in the cloud
    Always think about how you will make money. Even Twitter had a plan….
    Try to leverage others’ platforms / networks if you can
    Be really stingy in hiring non-tech people
    8
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 10. Some Common Mistakes
    Not taking the set up process seriously enough
    Employment
    IP
    Contractors versus employees
    Not picking the right team. Your first 4-6 hires will determine your fate
    Getting ahead on expenses – hiring ahead of revenue
    Keep the team lean and expect some pain. This is good pain
    Cash is massively valuable. Treat it as such
    Being a crappy fundraiser
    9
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 11. Some Common Mistakes
    Not knowing when to quit. Failure isn’t always failure
    Screwing up your one chance at good press
    Overpromising and under delivering
    Getting “Tech Crunched”
    Not having proper alignment with the management team
    Get away / offsites
    Vesting
    Thinking marketing and advertising will save you
    10
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 12. Summary
    Seriously, it’s really that simple
    So have fun. ☺
    11
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 13. Questions and Answers
    Q&A
    12
    ©2009, Foundry Group LLC, Proprietary and Confidential
  • 14. CU NVC: why participate?
    Entrepreneurial Launch Pad: nothing like doing it; support through workshops and Crash Courses
    Mentors: connect to area’s entrepreneurs
    Interdisciplinary experience
    “Intent to Compete” forms are due January 20 (necessary for mentor assignment)
    13
  • 15. Upcoming Events
    Workshop-Your Business Concept: Product and Service Offering, Page Moreau
    Wednesday, January 20, 2010 – ATLAS 100, 6pm
    Workshop-Your Market: Connecting with your Customers, Tom Keller
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - ATLAS Building, Room 100, 6:00PM
    Crash Course: Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 - Wolf Law Building, 6:00PM
    Workshop-Selling your Product: Reaching Your Customers, Erick Mueller
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - ATLAS Building, Room 100, 6:00PM
    Workshop-Making Money: Finding Economic Sustainability, Frank Moyes
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - ATLAS Building, Room 100, 6:00PM
    Workshop-Pitching and Selling Your Business Plan, George Deriso
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - ATLAS Building, Room 100, 6:00PM
    Business Plans DUE Monday, March 11, 2010
    Finalists and Wild Card Selected Friday, March 5, 2010
    14
  • 16. Networking Upstairs
    Meet companies looking for interns
    15
    • Essential10 (not on flier)
    • 17. Goldstone Partners
    • 18. Gravity Cycles (not on flier)
    • 19. LogRhythm
    • 20. myUsearch.com
    • 21. Rebit
    • 22. RecordNexus
    • 23. TravelFli
    • 24. Zayo Group
    • 25. Form a team to compete in the CU NVC!