Focus on Customers Even When Seeking VC Dollars

March 3rd, 2009 by Greg Boutin
MaRS Discovery District, Toronto, Canada This ...
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I came across those two recent powerpoint presentations on venture capital and I thought they were nicely exposing some of the business inner workings.
The first one is by Jason Mendelson, a VC with the Foundry Group and Mobius Venture Capital, and was recommended to me by Hank Neyming. The second one is from Charles Plant of MaRS Discovery District, the innovation hub in Toronto. Charles communicates a rather negative view of venture capital, but it has the merit of presenting some of the important things to consider before seeking VC money. I especially like the call to focus on customers first. This is not always possible, but designing for a defined market certainly is, and anyone involved with tech commercialization will tell you it’s often the exception rather than the rule.
Overall, both presentations remind us that valuation is more of an art than a science, and a compelling business case is your best weapon to maximize it and obtain favorable conditions from VCs. A tangible business proposition and revenue model should be embedded in any venture early on, and refined as things evolve.
View more presentations from rosscarlson. (tags: vc venture)

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  • Charles Plant


    It’s good to see your blog and find that someone is listening out there. I do try so hard to remain positive when it comes to start-up tech companies and vcs but it reminds me too much of the gold rush; thousands of people forsaking their lives and only a very few getting rich. The thousands who don’t succeed would have been better off starting a less capital hungry business.

    Hope all has progressed well since we last met.