A sketchy economy has one very positive benefit - it drives creativity and innovation. Thursday evening (28 May 2009) the Tech Cost Venture Network/TCVN met in Irvine, once again opening the stage to a new crop of entrepreneur candidates, and provided a great seminar on the topic of "Raising Money - Friends, Family, and other Early Capital Sources."
In the fast pitch segment, 10 companies were given 30 seconds to impress a panel of 3 venture capital professionals from the Tech Coast Angels . The "fast pitch" guidelines are pretty simple, you have 30 seconds to present:
- Name, title, and company name
- Market pain or need you will satisfy
- Your solution
- Size of your market
- How you plan to make money
- Why you believe you and your team can execute
- What you are seeking (funding, staffing support, or introductions)
Last night the audience was introduced to several great ideas, including new ideas for coffee making, solar power, online shopping for executives, mobile and PDA phone applications, and a new vegan restaurant. The VC panel selected three finalists, and drilled further into their business plan, asking for clarification on pitch elements, as well as further exploring their business plan and ideas. The winner, the vegan restauranteur, won $100 and some one on one time with the VCs.
Engineers are a funny breed. We spend much of our lives being skeptical, proving or disproving ideas and theories. At the same time we crave new ideas and technologies.
Those engineers who are creative and develop new ideas often lack skills needed to turn visions into useful products. Enter OCTANe, fuel for the entrepreneurial spirit in Orange County and Southern California. OCTANe's goal is to fuel "innovation development" in Orange County and Southern California by connecting people, capital and technology. OCTANe accelerates entrepreneurs and company development for Orange County's information technology and biomedical industries.
On May 14th I attended an OCTANe's weekly event entitled "Entrepreneurial traps - Tips for developing companies. What the big guys know but won't tell you." The speaker was Mr. Rich Henson, co-founder of Source Scientific, and Irvine-based biotech product development company.