Corrections or additions?
This article by Jeff Lippincott was prepared
for the October 11, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
Courting Venture Capital
How do you know what to say to a venture capitalist
once you have determined that it’s time to take move forward with
your business plan? Learn the right way to approach venture
at the New Jersey Entrepreneur’s Forum entitled, "What Do VCs
Want?" at McAteers restaurant in Somerset, Thursday, October 12,
6:30 p.m. Cost $45. Call 908-789-3424.
According to Ron Hahn
venture capital firm Early Stage Enterprises (ESE), venture
are looking for investment opportunities that have the following
and has the skills to sell a product or service to a customer
"We find one of the key ingredients is a CEO who can sell,"
says Hahn. "Ultimately a successful business sells products and
services and makes a profit, so the ability to sell is a key
has invested about $20 million in 16 companies to date, and has helped
those companies raise another $70 million through other parties. A
new partner, Kef Kasdin
ESE (www.esevc.com) specializes in investing in companies in the
from Connecticut to Virginia, that are in the early stages of
life. ESE’s preferred first round investment ranges from $500,000
to $1 million. "Other venture capital companies would do a deal
for $5 million where we would never do one that large," says Hahn.
"ESE provides a level of capital typically earlier than most of
the venture capital firms nationally or in this region would tend
"ESE tries to deal with the earliest stage of venture
says Hahn, "and we’re prepared to make a seed investment in a
company that is not quite ready to sell a product or service."
According to Hahn, in some cases the investment is made at the end
of a sort of test-marketing phase called "beta-testing." Beta
testing is letting a customer use a product or service for free or
at a discount in return for the customer’s comments on what they liked
or didn’t like about the product or service and any additional
the customers may have.
ESE also invests in companies that have completed beta-testing and
are ready to offer a product or service.
Hahn feels that there is an underserved market segment in the
region for a third kind of investment his firm makes: Companies that
are selling products and services but with less than $3 million in
annual revenue at the time of investment.
What tips does Hahn have for those contemplating wading into venture
business plan should be a document that the management of the company
creates and should talk about the market opportunity that the company
is going after, the innovation that its product or service makes in
the marketplace, who the management team consists of, the business
potential, and financial objectives."
"It’s surprising, sometimes we get business plans and we read
through them and we actually can’t quite figure out what their
is," says Hahn.
but will make perhaps four to six investments per year. The best
to get the attention of ESE, or any venture capitalist, is to be
by people they know and trust in the community.
be surprised how many people come into our office and ask us `What
would you like to know about our business plan?’ We need to see how
you are going to approach potential new customers."
at UCLA. A professor had asked a group of students to go out a find
a company that would permit the students to come in and do some free
consulting. "I became fascinated with the entrepreneurial
— somebody who takes significant risks to build a business
Hahn sees a lot of interesting technologies but feels that often the
missing ingredient is capable management. To be successful in getting
the interest of venture capitalist Hahn advises, "Put together
a management team that has the right kind of background and
because that is what will impress us."
"People who should approach us are those who have taken some
to make the business a reality. They still need capital to get from
here to there. And even though their accomplishments may be at a very
early stage, they’ve done something that convinces us that it truly
is a real business opportunity."
— Jeff Lippincott
Most people are very busy, with very little time in
their schedule available for volunteering, but I suspect that some
people would be eager to help transform a young person’s life,"
says Maureen J. Quinn
on Lawrenceville Road.
Quinn launches her a recruiting campaign with a kickoff meeting for
volunteer mentors on Thursday, October 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rider
University Science & Technology Center, Room 102. E-mail:
or call 609-278-5844.
This multi-cultural, one-to-one mentor program helps high school
decide on their educational career goals — and then helps them
meet those goals. Volunteer mentors are matched with a student to
work on an eight-month project, which they choose together. The
must involve an environmental issue that can be researched and tested
scientifically. The pair work on the project together for two hours
per week. The result: a classroom lesson taught by the high school
student and an entry in the EnvironMentors Fair.
Plus a big increase in the self esteem of the student and, claims
Quinn, lots of fun for the mentor. Mentors do not, by the way, need
to be an environmental professional, and they get plenty of training
"I’ve seen the students that I mentor change their outlook about
the importance of protecting the environment in just a few short
says John J. Rosania
years. "The project gives students the opportunity to interact
with another adult, aside from their teachers and parents, that they
have common interests with. These interactions help the student to
grow as a person, gain self confidence, and most importantly, have
someone to look up to. You cannot put a price on this."
Corrections or additions?
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