Wednesday, March 24, 2010

VC is for Vulture Capital-"Show me the big money"

As a business owner or entrepreneur, one of your main objectives will be to make money. So, relating to Venture Capitalists should be easy. Except, that what they are after is 'big money' and this means saying 'no' a great deal more times than 'yes'.

If you plan to pitch a VC firm, a useful starting point is Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 rule of Powerpoint pitches: A powerpoint presentation should have 10 slides, last 20 minutes and contain no font smaller than 30 points. Guy Kawasaki goes on to state that:

“The closest real-world analogy to raising money, whether you are seeking it from venture capitalists, angel investors, or the three Fs (friends, fools, and family), is speed dating. That’s right: In five minutes, people decide if they are interested in you, just as in bars and nightclubs. This isn’t right, and it isn’t fair, but it’s reality.”

The MaRS Initiative in Toronto (an Innovation Park connecting entrepreneurs, businesses and investors) published a set of entrepreneur tools to help with the challenge of raising finance. The presentation, titled 'What VC's want and why they call it Vulture Capital', is shown below. It gives you a good feel for what VCs look for, what it looks like to get an investment and the strings that the money tends to be attached to.

The morale: think big and start honing those negotiation skills.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mobile World Congress 2010-#mwc10 Summary Part 2

Time precludes me from going into more detail about my Mobile World Congress experience, but as a second part of my earlier post, here are some observations about the past event:


It was widely announced prior to the Congress that Nokia (and later LG) would be absent as exhibitors at the event. Nokia's cheeky move was to locate their Barcelona event HQ 100m from the entrance to the show at the ONCE Building on Gran Via. It is anyone's guess whether this actually was a money-saver (hiring a whole building is not cheap) but perhaps the bigger irony of the location was lost on others. In fact, the ONCE building is the Spanish Association for the Blind. Given Nokia's loss of traction in the key smartphone market, it was perhaps apt that they should be headquartered in a 'blind spot'.

LG's absence was hard to understand, but allowed Samsung to take all the glory from fans of Korean technology. Their App Store strategy is even more baffling, as LG launched a LiMo App Store (in some countries) but is looking to scrap that for a more generic store.

Another notable absentee was Palm.Those present last year, will have witnessed a great hoo-hah over their Palm Pre..clearly, all is not well at Palm, as they were near-invisible at this year's event


It was to be expected. Google stole a great deal of the limelight at the show. Partly, it was the excitement caused by the NexusOne giveway (want to get developers frothing with excitement for hours?Give them a new bit of hardware to play with!). Partly, it was Eric Schmidt's captivating keynote speech, where he laid a clear stake in the ground (and is continuing to do so in Abu Dhabi at the Abu Dhabi Media Show) when it comes to mobile. Simply put, Google is now placing mobile at the centre of its strategy.Could not be clearer than that. Everyone else playing in the yard has been warned!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

XConnect looking to dominate IP Interconnectivity

BARCELONA -I met Eli Katz, XConnect CEO, during the Mobile World Congress two weeks ago, for a priviliged insight into the VOIP star that is looking to shine bright in the new universe of digital voice and IP communications.

Eli discussed some of the XConnect's innovative products and enthused over HD voice. Today's analogue calls lead to a deterioration of sound quality which is notable to VOIP users when they make peer-to-peer calls (as on Skype, for example). With HD voice, intonations are much clearer and the jump from analogue to HD voice can be compared to that between mono- and stereo- sound: once you upgrade, you don't feel like going back.

XConnect also signed a deal last year under the GSMA Pathfinder initiative to enable interoperability between mobile operators and fixed telephony registries. This basically opens up next generation IP networks to telcos with legacy network infrastructure.

With Tier 1 VC funding of $22m, XConnect is well positioned for further growth as it seeks to out-compete companies like Synverse in its key markets of South Korea, Netherlands, USA and South Africa.