Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Twisted Path To VC Funding

I am in Silicon Valley to raise $5 million to found a company that will change the face of computing and communications forever.

People who know me would offer varying opinions about my personality, skills, my sanity. I've led a helluva life. And, at 52, I carry every lesson I've ever learned. None of those relate to what's involved in raising investment capital. They mostly relate to how to build great products that sell really well, and avoiding the pifalls common to that process.

Until recently I thought I was pretty good at understanding complex systems. After all, how many other people on the planet understand how microprocessors, networking, wired and wireless communications, operating systems, application software, and user interface and industrial design all interactively intertwine to define great products?

I have never encountered anything as complex and bewildering as the mind of a venture capitalist.

My simplistic view of VC guys has always been that they lived to find those rare deals that would safely generate massive percentage returns on their investments

I was wrong.

It appears that actual VC guys live to find simple deals that they can easily understand, and that fit neatly into their personal preconceptions about how things work. Those are the dimensions of their box.

Perhaps in time I could ferret out the reasons VC guys are like this. However, as the guy creating the deal, my motivation is to craft the best company possible, and that requires that I focus on understanding all of the elements affecting my business plan -- not on what may have twisted the thinking of a VC guy.

Over the past decade I've met and worked with and developed strategy with some of the smartest people in technology. Together, a few of us have incrementally evolved a reality based plan to meet the needs of the global market for the coming generation of small computing products. We have de-risked the venture to the point of humor. Every element large and small is based on off the shelf components, easily integrated. The result is much greater than the sum of those parts.

So, here we are, 200+ man-years into the project, within a year of hitting the market and shattering two different global industries. I am dropping off letters each day at the front desk of VC firms asking for appointments to talk about our project. And nobody is replying.

Shame. We can create order out of the chaotic mess that is presently both the computing and communications sectors. And, from that realignment would come profits. Lots of them.

And, some uniquely clever VC guy who is more in love with profits than his own preconceptions could hit the mother of all home runs.

I am in Silicon Valley to raise $5 million to found a company that will change the face of computing and communications forever.

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