Showing category "Business" (Show all posts)

Today's Capital Markets for Tech

Posted by Warren Bergen on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, In : Business 

The early stage capital markets are in constant motion. Low oil prices have shuttered the investing wallets of many Alberta business owners as they deal with the negative market impacts assaulting their businesses. Sometimes that’s actually true and other times it’s a very convenient excuse to decline a deal. The latter half of 2014 and the start of 2015 has tested the resolve of many entrepreneurs as they attempt to capitalize their businesses. Alberta still sees many tech startups get t...


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How to Create Massive Change

Posted by Warren Bergen on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, In : Business 

In 2012, my son asked me to join him and go for a run. Excited by the prospect of doing something together, I readily agreed and laced up my sneakers. I ran 4 blocks before my legs decided that this was quite enough. I was shocked. I was shocked because I was regularly running on a treadmill and I found out that it is not at all the same as running outside. My son was too. He looked at me with that look that must have been disappointment. I’m not sure what it looked like, because I couldn...


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Five Distinct Entrepreneur Personality Types and How They Each Run Their Startups

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, September 21, 2014, In : Business 

True entrepreneurs wrestle the future and bring it to us as they are the commercialization propellant of innovation.

Entrepreneurs create efficiencies, make things easier/better and sometimes even save lives. They also bring us entertainment, fun, fashion and better pie. These are an amazing people to know because they are generally glass half-full, forward-thinking builders who want to make a positive change in the world.

As we previously had a bit of fun withventure capitalist personality pro...


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Doomed to Fail? The Top Three Concerns Entrepreneurs Ignore Until It's Too Late

Posted by Warren Bergen on Thursday, July 24, 2014, In : Business 

Everybody knows that most startups fail, but are still shocked when it happens to them. They’re often bitter first and then depressed before eventually having the strength to try again.

The reasons for the failure can be selected from a long list, but usually it boils down to these top three simple lessons.

 

Limited Ability to Sell

Ask any venture capitalist or active angel who has invested in at least 50 companies this question: “How many companies of those invested actually hit their proje...


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5 Venture Capital Personality Types

Posted by Warren Bergen on Thursday, June 12, 2014, In : Business 

TOP 5 VC Personality Profiles

People often try to peg venture capitalists with a singular definition based on one experience, something they heard or just general perception. And entrepreneurs that pursue venture capital often don’t care which firm offers capital, as long as it gets offered. More selective entrepreneurs are more selective and seek those firms with great references from existing investees. The most selective entrepreneur will target specific general partners within the righ...


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Beautiful, Necessary Failure

Posted by Warren Bergen on Thursday, September 26, 2013, In : Business 

Jason’s heart skipped a beat when an 8-9-10 flop hit the poker table. His cards lay face down in front of him, but he was sure he held a 7 and a Jack which gave him a straight. Everyone folded to his modest raise except for Phil, who paused for a minute before calling the raise. Jason celebrated in his head as he began to smell a big win coming his way. Careful not to scare Phil off the hand, Jason made the next raise only moderately larger. Phil twisted in his seat and arched his back to c...


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Agriculture fertile ground for venture capitalists

Posted by Warren Bergen on Thursday, September 26, 2013, In : Business 

 In a hundred coffee shops right now, there are highly intelligent engineers talking about the next thing in mobile, or if there is still time to get in on big data. They love this stuff, but a lot of them are trying to find a wave of venture capital interest instead of seeking to create real value or even pursue a passion.

Creating a start-up by trying to catch a wave of en vogue financing is almost always a sure way to fail. There is a new wave coming, but it is driven by need and not by wha...


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Moving an investor from “not now” to “yes”

Posted by Warren Bergen on Thursday, September 26, 2013, In : Business 

Getting a “no” from any prospective investor can be hard to take. At first glance, it’s insulting. You’ve poured heart and soul into an idea and after 10 minutes of pitching, the investor doesn’t want to hear more. For the entrepreneur who wears the success or failure of his company as a reflection of their own self-worth, “no” is devastating. To them, it’s like being told that they aren’t a valid human being and that upsets a lot of entrepreneurs.

I am embarrassed to admit t...


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Crowdfunding Good, Crowdfinancing Bad

Posted by Warren Bergen on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, In : Business 
May 7, 2013/ TechVibes/-- The rise of sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Rockethub, Fundageek have successfully fueled the project dreams of artists, musicians, engineers and a plethora of other masters-of-the-universe.

Got the technology but not the funds to build a neurologically-engaged pillow that comforts the sleeper while providing high intensity dreams of succeeding as emperor?

These sites allow the project owner to profile and potentially receive funding to make their dream projects a r...


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Is Your VC Strong?

Posted by Warren Bergen on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, May. 4, 2013/ Troy Media/ – For a start-up that takes its fundraising seriously, it has to allow its CEO to tackle the project full-time for up to a year. The founders have studied the due diligence requirements ahead of the process and they approach the investment community in an orderly and structured fashion. The founders and CEO work hard to listen to the needs of the investors and respond with the same enthusiasm as they provide to the customers of their product or service...


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Alberta's tech sector has come a long way

Posted by Warren Bergen on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, In : Business 

Apr. 20, 2013/ Troy Media/ – The tech community in Alberta is like a playground.

While the word playground immediately triggers visions of happiness and fun in a sun-kissed Norman Rockwell world, this picture is not reflective of Alberta’s tech community, at least not entirely.

Ours is a playground with a few nice rides but lots of unfinished areas and zones with equipment that get put up and then taken down again. Some kids look quizzically upon two identical pieces of equipment erected si...


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As an entrepreneur, know when to call it quits

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, April 7, 2013, In : Business 

Jody Sherman founded several companies. Some got bought out for modest success and others failed. Ecomom was his last startup. Management and staff tried hard but Ecomom didn’t work and it burned.

When Sherman saw no hope for Ecomom, he saw no hope for himself so he ended his own life.

But there is more to the story, as told in a rivetingBusiness Insider article entitled The Story Of A Failed Startup And A Founder Driven To Suicide. It’s lengthy but you won’t stop reading once you’ve st...


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Beware the bad investor

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Mar. 23, 2013/ Troy Media/ – In an ideal scenario, your deal has attracted such interest that you have the luxury of choosing your investor. Most entrepreneurs are not afforded this luxury and will often need to take the investment dollar that is offered.

This I understand. Raising money for emerging companies can be incredibly difficult, so when money is offered, turning it away is not usually anybody’s first reaction. The point here is to direct your search in such a manner ...


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Talk to your venture capitalist before you crash and burn

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Mar. 10, 2013/ Troy Media/ – When a new venture is started, everything is positive. Things are happening fast. There is a rush of excitement, people are fully committed, hours are long and creativity is cranked to its peak. When traction, media attention or buzz begins revving, the venture capitalists are sure to notice. Cash comes in and everyone is pumped up. The founders are proud, employees are often happy to be part of that addictive environment and venture capitalists are...


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All venture capital is not created equal

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Feb. 24, 2013/ Troy Media/ – Most times raising capital is a tough haul. Endless pitching, grueling due diligence and an enormous commitment of time and money is usually required.

But once in a while there is a company that rises up and grabs the attention and the imagination of a swarm of venture capitalists(VCs) in a relatively short period of time. Maybe they stayed in stealth mode, quietly assembled a rock star team and signed a few big name customers and took the stage at a...


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What to do if your startup is suffering Founderitis

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Jan. 28, 2013/ Troy Media/ – Think of entrepreneurs as explorers.

To survive and thrive, they have to confront an ever-changing world and wrestle with the future. If they don’t, they die. They often do not and cannot know the exact course that they must take to successfully realize their vision, but they have the courage to leave shore anyway. You gotta love them.

But the entrepreneur suffering founderitis is not the entrepreneur we all admire; he is, rather, the delusional lun...


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The necessary perils of entrepreneurship

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Jan. 13, 2013/ Troy Media/ – There were nearly 900 people seated at round tables alternating small talk with bites of chicken. The ballroom was glamorous, the chicken was dry and few paid attention to the joke-telling emcee. “My wife says that if I don’t give up golf, she’s going to leave me. I’m really going to miss her! Har har! Isn’t that right Barry? Let me tell you about Barry . . .”

I looked across to the next table at Barry, CEO of a venture I had looked at a ...


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Friends rarely make the best business partners

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Dec. 30, 2012/ Troy Media/ – A big part of entrepreneurship is choosing your partners.

Over the life of the venture you will likely spend a great deal more of your waking hours with your business partners than you will with your spouse, or any significant other who cares to hang about in a non-paid capacity for that matter. A lot of companies are started by friends, which is entirely understandable.

“I want a new hoodie, but every hoodie out there sucks.”

“Yeah.”

“Hey, yo...


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How to put a value on your startup tech company

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Dec. 16, 2012/ Troy Media/ – When a new company is launched, the odds are stacked heavily against the entrepreneur. It is stacked especially high against the tech entrepreneur.

University of Tennessee Research tells us that more than half of all new businesses fail by the end of year four but only 37 per cent of technology businesses remain operable by that same time. Despite this fact, new technology firms are sprouting up constantly and that’s good.

Entrepreneurship drives ou...


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There is Only One Way to Meet Money

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Dec. 1, 2012/ Troy Media/ – How you approach a venture capitalist (VC) can be the difference between receiving a quick glance or gaining direct attention. It can be very tempting to cold call venture capital web search results or chase down a harried VC at an entrepreneur event. While those attempts may work, it’s a low probability tactic and just might ruin your shot. Ideally you want to be referred to a VC.

Literary agents receive unsolicited submissions in enormous quantiti...


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Raising capital is not always the only option

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Nov. 17, 2012/ Troy Media/ – Most of us in the entrepreneurial space, whether building, supporting or funding early stage companies, assume attracting investor capital is just the normal course of business.

We have been conditioned to believe or accept that once an entrepreneur gets a business underway raising investor capital is just part of the plan. Some entrepreneurs begin crafting their investor pitch before they even start up the company. And for a lot of companies it is t...


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How to attract the right talent to achieve financial success

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Nov. 3,2012/ Troy Media/ – When examining the whowhatwherewhen and why of any startup, it’s the who that will most directly impact the level of success that is achieved. Making the right connections and finding the right people will be entirely reflected in the management team, staff, advisory board, customer list and availability of capital.

While that statement may seem obvious enough, there are few entrepreneurs who succeed in networking to such a degree that they tow...


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Understanding venture capitalists

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Oct. 27,2012/ Troy Media/ – Every year in Alberta hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors congregate at the base of the mountains at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Over the course of two days, approximately 50 IT, life science and cleantech companies make their pitch to an audience of venture capitalists and angel investors.

Panels, speakers and networking round out the event. At one of the dinners last year, an entrepreneur immediately began pitching the venture capitalist (...


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How a venture capitalist knows your deal is weak

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Business 

CALGARY, AB, Oct. 20,2012/ Troy Media/ – It is an industry accepted standard that venture capitalists will fund one of 100 deals. Some entrepreneurs will not be given more than a few minutes to pitch, others will get a longer meeting, while a lucky few will move into a process of successive interviews and discussions.

But, in the end, only one deal will get funded.

The venture capitalist is actually attempting to find the reason not to invest in your company as quickly as possible in order to...


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Dear Entrepreneur: Read This and You Just Might Survive

Posted by Warren Bergen on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, In : Business 
“And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain.”
Frank Sinatra

In a normal market environment, it is difficult to raise capital for an early stage technology company and that is usually a good thing. A process requiring significant effort on behalf on the entrepreneur to raise capital will motivate the worthy founder and team to better prepare themselves than those competing for the same investment dollars. However, we currently are not in a normal market as we are all witnessi...

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Volunteers & Argentine Army Rescue Alberta Entrepreneur

Posted by Warren Bergen on Saturday, March 31, 2012, In : Business 

Jim reached down to see if there was blood.  The 40 foot drop down to the jagged rocks below hadn’t gone well. His foot stuck out at an odd angle, but luckily the bone had not broken the skin. When he looked down at his broken ankle, his first thought was that he had just ruined his friend’s climb as he would now be a burden.  Jim and Dave were rock climbing outside of El Chalten in the province of Santa Cruz in Argentina. The first few days had gone well. They were rather experienced cli...


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Customer Service & Infant Open Heart Surgery

Posted by Warren Bergen on Saturday, March 3, 2012, In : Business 

I remember the day I fell in love with my first born. She was only weeks old and sleeping on my chest as I lay on a Sunday sofa. I had agreed to have kids because I thought it was the thing to do once married for a time. No one had ever told me how dramatic, rewarding, engrossing, and utterly thrilling it can be as well. Certainly there are things you give up and big changes occur that don’t always feel convenient or cool. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love being a father and fe...


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5 Things I Love About Startups

Posted by Warren Bergen on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, In : Business 
1. Creativity - At no other time in an organization’s life cycle, is the team more creative than at the start. Ideas are flowing freely and everything is new. At the start, it’s a blank slate and you can be anything. Baggage is either non-existent or very limited. Teaming with people who want to venture out with you and are just as committed is a tremendously exciting time. A word of caution: while many feel that process is irrelevant at the start, it is critical. The venture that heads ...
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Entrepreneur Gone Wild

Posted by Warren Bergen on Tuesday, January 10, 2012, In : Business 
Entrepreneurs are the new explorers. Often they do not and cannot know the exact course that they must take to successfully realize their vision, but have the courage to leave shore anyway and I love them. But this post is not about the good entrepreneur, but rather the delusional lunatic. The one that's crazy. Not fun crazy. I mean lost it crazy. Slam-a-fork-in-the-back-of-your-hand-and-wish-it-were-all-a-dream crazy.


 

Yes, lots of investors are nuts too, but I'll deal with that in an...
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Advisory Boards for Start-ups

Posted by Warren Bergen on Friday, December 30, 2011, In : Business 
For three years I managed an angel/venture capital investor group that specialized in technology start-ups. During that time, I saw over 600 technology deals. I was in the thick of deal flow and everyday was filled with meetings with entrepreneurs and investors. And because a lot of entrepreneurs knew that I was a connection to a lot of investors, I often received calls from entrepreneurs from outside the tech space wanting to know if I could "introduce them to a couple of guys". One afternoo...
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Defeat & Joy

Posted by Warren Bergen on Sunday, December 18, 2011, In : Business 
There were nearly 900 people seated at round tables alternating small talk with bites of chicken. The ballroom was glamorous, the chicken was dry and few paid attention to the joke telling emcee. "My wife say that if I don't give up golf, she's going to leave me. I'm really going to miss her! Har har! Isn't that right Barry? Let me tell you about Barry..."
 


I looked across to the next table at Barry, CEO of a venture I had looked at a few years prior for funding. He had been in a very diffi...

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The Cost of Capital & Bears in the Trees

Posted by Warren Bergen on Saturday, December 10, 2011, In : Business 
It's well past closing on Wednesday and here, in the thick of the week, a good chunk of the staff is still head down, working hard at their jobs to get things done. It's a sign the CEO has done the job to motivate them to physically and emotionally "buy-in" to goals of the company. Maybe Kim has setup stock options for them or maybe they simply believe in the vision. Usually, she would be encouraged by the effort and proud of what is happening. But on this day, the Kim is tense, nervous and s...
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Great Entrepreneurs, Lame Horses and Shooting the Start-up Zombie

Posted by Warren Bergen on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, In : Business 
There's an old saying among investors, "Take your time getting in, but get out fast." The inference here being that finding a deal in which to invest is hard to so be careful, but take losses quickly and early because it's just part of the investment business. Venture capitalists often talk about the 2-6-2 rule. Out of ten investments, two will be a complete washout, two will be winners and six will remain in the land of the walking dead. These Zombie Corp(ses) trudge along and never seem to ...
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Choosing Business Partners & Being Burned Alive

Posted by Warren Bergen on Friday, December 2, 2011, In : Business 
Those of us who have thrashed our tail to break the surface and seized the bait that twirled in wait, often find ourselves repeatedly and forever drawn by an unseen force down the path of a new venture. The lure of entrepreneurship swings a shiny hook.
 
 

A tremendously significant element of a new venture is choosing your partners. For the ensuing years, you will likely spend a great deal more of your waking hours with your business partners than you will with your spouse, or any significant o...

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Raising Capital is Tough When There's Rust in the Trunk

Posted by Warren Bergen on Friday, November 25, 2011, In : Business 
Normally, when I'm asked to give my How to Raise Money presentation, I wear a tie and direct attention to my powerpoint presentation. I have the advantage of at least 60 minutes and my listeners are usually rewarded with snacks and booze at the end. Assuming you have less than 60 minutes and you're already drinking, I'll keep my posts short.

Capital for early stage companies is in short supply. Yes activity is up recently, but demand far outpaces supply.

 


Why? Because returns have not been good...

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