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Archive for March, 2010

In the series of “Elevator Pitch on the Video” we are proud to present Jobita!

For more information please visit the website www.jobita.com.

This “Elevator Pitch on the Video” was produced by Venture Bonsai and is made with a specific script for companies looking for funding. With this well-defined script and process the production cost was 80% lower than it would normally be. For each company, there is also another video produced. This second video is “Investor Pitch”, it’s purpose being to answer in more details questions regarding the business and the investment round. It’s about 5 minutes long and access to that video is granted by the presenting company.

Thank you also for our sponsors!

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In the series of “Elevator Pitch on the Video” we are proud to present Venture Bonsai!

For more information please visit the website www.venturebonsai.com.

This “Elevator Pitch on the Video” was produced by Venture Bonsai and is made with a specific script for companies looking for funding. With this well-defined script and process the production cost was 80% lower than it would normally be. For each company, there is also another video produced. This second video is “Investor Pitch”, it’s purpose being to answer in more details questions regarding the business and the investment round. It’s about 5 minutes long and access to that video is granted by the presenting company.

Thank you also for our sponsors!

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In the series of “Elevator Pitch on the Video” we are proud to present QAim!

For more information please visit the website www.qaimgroup.com.

This “Elevator Pitch on the Video” was produced by Venture Bonsai and is made with a specific script for companies looking for funding. With this well-defined script and process the production cost was 80% lower than it would normally be. For each company, there is also another video produced. This second video is “Investor Pitch”, it’s purpose being to answer in more details questions regarding the business and the investment round. It’s about 5 minutes long and access to that video is granted by the presenting company.

Thank you also for our sponsors!

Read Full Post »

In the series of “Elevator Pitch on the Video” we are proud to present Fambit!

For more information please visit the website www.fambit.com.

This “Elevator Pitch on the Video” was produced by Venture Bonsai and is made with a specific script for companies looking for funding. With this well-defined script and process the production cost was 80% lower than it would normally be. For each company, there is also another video produced. This second video is “Investor Pitch”, it’s purpose being to answer in more details questions regarding the business and the investment round. It’s about 5 minutes long and access to that video is granted by the presenting company.

Thank you also for our sponsors!

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Today I had an opportunity to participate a pitching event arranged by FundingPost.com, in Palo Alto, California. The event consisted of group of entrepreneurs pitching for the audience and then the panel of Venture Capitalists giving comments on the state of the industry and the presentations as well.

It was stated that Friends&Family investment rounds can typically be up to half a million dollars (unless you have really rich friends and family) and VC investments typically start at 2 million. So there is a great gap in between, and that has increased the deal flow for angel investors. At the same time “time to liquidity” ie. time from investment to exit has doubled. Today, investors may have to be prepared to stick with the company even more than 10 years.

As always, some companies are more “hot” than others. That influences the interest to invest. In the best position is a company whose product or service is creating traction, revenue and is growing. Those companies may enjoy, even today, receiving several competing term sheets. On the other hand, rest of the companies have much more difficult situation.

Comparing the pitches to those seen back at home, there were few differences and many similarities:

  • wider range of industry segments
  • generally older and more experienced entrepreneurs
  • looking for funding in the range of 300,000 to 8 million
  • quality of pitches varied but in general, again, more or less same range than in Europe
  • in some cases more “forward-looking” pitches, with probably less substance but true interest

There were number of investors in the panel, moderated by Adrian Shulman, Partner at Bingham McCutchen.

I’m sharing some of the most interesting comments, in my opinion, what they said.

Ho Nam (General Partner & Co-Founder of Altos Ventures) said that they are looking for interesting phenomenon.

Obviously the best time to raise money is when you don’t need it. Venture Capitalists are like sheep, they move in herds. It’s entrepreneurs who think out of the box and are the smart ones in this room.

John Hall (Managing Director of Horizon Ventures) said that typically an entrepreneur should get investor’s attention within one minute. The problem and the solution must be so simple that your mother could understand it. Only after that message has gone through, it makes sense to go to the details. He also advices entrepreneurs to do background research on the investors, like have they done similar investments before. That way you also know to contact the right partner at the investor company. A good resource to check VC background, by the way, is The Funded.

Steve Goldberg (Partner at Venrock) said that they are looking for evidence of big market, early customers, great execution plan and team of people who can do it.

We fund entrepreneurs and we fund CEO’s.

Eric Chen (Venture Partner at WI Harper Group) was comparing the US entrepreneurial scene to that in China. He said in China even those start-ups who have million dollar revenue may not get funding as the competition is tough.

So what’s the biggest difference, say between Silicon Valley and Finland?

I’d say it’s the atmosphere, at least. And as it is all about motivation, acceptance of entrepreneurs but also competitiveness. It’s more likely here for entrepreneurs to keep trying, even after failing.

And how does our upcoming Venture Bonsai relate to this? As it’s a tool for entrepreneurs, it makes running a (crowd)funding round (with many investors) easier. It’s primary not meant for getting VC’s onboard, as it’s more for the seed stage. The standardized documents such as Shareholders’ Agreement, however do take into account VC investment being possibly the next step.

In summary, it was quite interesting to see the event, and gave a lot of things to think about, again.

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Launching with ‘good enough’ productization

Last week’s blog series ‘art of productization’ continues with more insights from Kati Riikonen, our guest writer in this week’s blog.

Yes, it’s true, ’good enough’ is not measured in the amount of features or the length of specification.  For productization, the key customer promise is a top priority it seldom requires all possible features to be showcased.

Often there is no need, nor it’s feasible, to do full productization journey before going out to market making mode.

The level of necessary productization is depending on many variables. Most importantly one should crystallize concrete goals for the post-launch actions. There are also big differences on targeted audience is B2B, B2C or C2C. In reality, the limiting factors for productization often tend to be time and money.

The following provides examples of productization check points for various types of launches.

Idea launch

  • Examples of next steps: Generate public discussion, idea exchange, testing the idea, scouting potential partners, gathering insights
  • Productization check list: None. Just go out and talk the way you do – all entrepreneurs should do idea launches every day!

Concept launch

  • Examples of next steps: Seeking for finance, crowd-sourcing for development or more insight, thought leadership, publicity, scouting for ecosystem partners
  • Productization check list: Initial customer promise, name and descriptor, differentiators, user experience and marketing assets.

Tip on naming: In B2C or C2C concept launch a legally protected name in early phase is a real asset. In B2B concept launch, it is more natural and often enough just to differentiate with customer promise and descriptors, rather than spend limited resources on the naming convention.

Tip on prioritization: In case of very limited resources, focus on the concept’s customer promise and end-user experience as top priorities regardless if it is B2B, B2C or C2C.

Commercial launch

  • Examples of next steps: Market and sell! Business development, marketing, scout, sign and train distribution channels, agents, personnel.
  • Productization check list: In case of B2C or C2C launch, the further the productization check list is completed, the more likely are scalable sales and operations to accelerate. Of course, there are always exceptions, but the fact is that agents and sales pros tend to sell what gives them the fastest and reasonable payback. Having all the productization assets at immediate disposal gives the team a head start.

Reminder: Productization process does not mean that it’s done in vacuum before going out to public. Direct end-user insight, dialogue and co-creation can – and often should – be part of the successful productization.

Feel free to post your comments & example cases!


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There is also a summary mindmap available (in English) and you can find the book itself here.

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