Insights – the world of tech ventures

Innovate, Adapt, or Die

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you lead them, and how much you get it.“ This quotation from S. Jobs was…

Vaporizing VC Interest

Originally posted on Anything's Possible:
Nearly every week, I receive an email from one of our portfolio founders that reads something like: “Hey, Eric, great news! We just got out of a meeting with Dave from AwesomeVC and he loves what we’re doing. I have a good feeling he’s going to lead our Series…

Venture Money In, Entrepreneur Out

The delicate relationships between founders and venture capitalists are rarely openly discussed and even less frequently have carefully laid down rules that protect both sides sensitive interests. Since nothing ever goes smooth in early-stage company, the reality of the situation calls to put in place measures which would allow to deal with unavoidable conflicts in…

Startup Math for Techies

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” is a saying derived from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Apparently many take this metaphor quite literally, with more than 4,400 patents issued by the US Patent Office for new mousetraps, with thousands of more unsuccessful applicants, making mousetraps the “most frequently invented device in U.S. history”. …

Shareholders Agreement 101

In the exciting early days in life of a startup, when the founders team is being setup or the external investors were just landed, one of the most important legal documents that defines the rules of the game, the Shareholders Agreement, is often treated lightly or its power underestimated by the first-time founders. Having been…

Rise of the $10 Million VC Seed Fund

Originally posted on David Cummings on Startups:
With the massive drop in cost to start a tech company, combined with successful VCs raising larger funds requiring bigger investments, there opened up an opportunity in the market for super angel / VC seed funds. In Atlanta alone we’ve seen several new funds within the past 12…

Founders, Investors, and CEOs

Why do so many founders in high-tech startups fail to successfully go through the corporate transitions and come out as winners at the end?  A good example is the story of SiGe Semiconductor. Founded by John Roberts with 2 other cofounders back in 1996 and ultimately acquired by Skyworks in 2011 for $210M, the company went through several reincarnations with three waves…

The battle of crowdfunding in Canada

There is a fierce battle going on right now in Canada’s high-tech sector, lobbying for the legislative changes in the country’s security laws to enact, so-called “crowdfunding” or “crowdsourcing” legislation, which would permit Canadian entrepreneurs to raise up to $1M for their startups in small chunks solicited (often over the Internet) from a fairly large number of individuals. What…

Eulogy for semiconductors in Canada

The last two nails were hammered into the semiconductor business in Canada recently with the acquisition of GENNUM  by Semtech and ZARLINK by Microsemi (both out of California). This follows the recent acqusition of SiGe Semiconductor by Skyworks and earlier TUNDRA by IDT. For all practical purposes we are left with no significant size Canada-based…

Ottawa start-ups suck?

Out of the 20 winners of the “CIX Top 20” competition at the recent Toronto conference (www.canadianinnovationexchange.com) there was only one, bitHeads – not exactly a young start-up, out of Ottawa this year. Most of the presenting companies were from Toronto, Waterloo or Montreal area. What’s wrong with us, guys? Here are some of my…

Early Exits – way to go!

“Today, the optimum financial strategy for most technology entrepreneurs is to raise money from angels and plan an early exit to a large company in just a few years for under $30 million.” That’s the essence of the message from Basil Peters’ book “Early Exits” which I have discovered for myself recently. Coming from the…

CIX – you need to be there!

Canadian Innovation Exchange (www.canadianinnovationexchange.com) taking place this year on December 1st, 2011 at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, is a cross-breed between a traditional VC Fair, a conference and a giant networking event. You can expect a mixed crowd of hungry company founders and entrepreneurs, jaded investors who have heard it all, benevolent government folks,…

Seed funding and Ontario politics

No matter what your personal political convictions or choices are, if you are a technology entrepreneur you need to be paying attention to what is being proposed, if anything, by the major parties in the current provincial elections in Ontario. What is at stake here is the dismal state of capital funding for high-tech startups…

OCRI Leadership

 It has been with relief that many of us in the Ottawa high-tech community greeted the recent appointment of Bruce Lazenby as a President of OCRI (currently re-named Invest Ottawa). Bruce is an experienced entrepreneur, a doer, an action man, and not yet another bland bureaucrat who never took any risks, never had to worry…


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