Archive for October, 2014
Mentors and Vintage Oar
This is a picture of my 55+ year-old wooden oars after I opened up our boat this past spring. They looked pretty beat up: chipped and peeled paint…cracks in the wood…and they were graying at the edges.
Were they past their useful life? Would I need to replace them with a brand new pair?
Before trashing them, consider this –> these oars have a rich history that you could never imagine by catching a glimpse of them lying on a dock or in the bottom of a boat.
These oars have done their job quietly and well in rowboats, dinghies, motorboats and sailboats. The type of boat didn’t matter to my oars.
They were always there when I really needed them.
Doesn’t that sum up a good mentor, senior advisor, or board member? Versatile and at the ready when you need their capabilities.
I’ve been mingling with a large number of established company directors and startup mentors over the last few months. The director crowd was at the 2014 Private Company Governance Summit and the mentor crowd was at the MassChallenge Accelerator Program. MassChallenge runs a ‘mentor matching’ series of events to connect mentors and entrepreneurs who have been selected to be in the startup program.
Hello Founder, Hello Mr. Oar!
The MassChallenge matching events are quick. Founders pitch their company and describe their needs and the mentors rattle off their curriculum vitae in about 5 minutes. Imagine the scene…the founders are staring at the oars pictured above (aka ‘yours truly’). I can quickly tell the ones who look at the oars with disinterest or indifference. Translation: “I want oars that are slick and shiny.” Others, who may be a bit more intuitive, can sense what is underneath the oars’ rich patina, and their reaction might be: “I wonder if the experiences or history that created the chipping or wear and tear could be helpful to me.”
My oars have had 5 major roles over their 55 year life:
- Providing Propulsion
- Enabling Exploration
- Creating Fun
- Fixing Mistakes
- Being At The Ready
Providing Propulsion: My parents started boating with a wooden homemade rowboat and these oars when I was a young boy. The oars were new and had a fresh coat of marine varnish. Want to go from point A to Point B? It was either get out and swim or use the oars! Rowing took practice, but I learned to get it right.
Enabling Exploration: I loved to poke around the inlet on Cape Cod where our cottage was located. It was a fairly expansive body of water so I had many places to scout out and investigate. After a while, my parents invested in a small outboard engine so boating became much easier; however, the oars allowed me to reach down and check the water depth, navigate the shallows, get around sandbars and push through eelgrass when the tide was uncooperative. The oars extended my reach.
Creating Fun: Ever used oars to whack at crabs (I was just a kid…don’t call PETA) or do some serious splashing? I used to splash my girlfriend (“…don’t do that again!” “OK… splash!”) Note: she still married me…and I splashed her again this summer.
Fixing Mistakes: The oars have helped me recover from boating mistakes (also known as ‘running aground’) and set off on a new, better course. Luckily for me, the Cape Cod waters I frequented were forgiving…sandbars and muck, no piles of rocks like Coastal Maine or Lake Winnipesaukee.
Being At The Ready: Our boat now has a 150HP Evinrude ETEC engine and the oars quietly and patiently wait in the boat to ‘be at the ready’. They are there as backup power, a safety net, to fend off another boat or to help to a water skier who needs a steady object to grab.
Advice to founders and CEOs: Quality, reliable mentors provide startup propulsion, help management teams explore new directions and uncharted waters, inject fun into occasional tough days, offer turnaround advice to fix navigational mistakes, and are there when the founding team needs a steady hand to grab. As a bonus, they are chock full of stories!
P.S. I thought the oars needed a bit of TLC this summer. Here is the new look!
Jim McHugh is an experienced executive and a CEO coach. You can find this post, as well as additional content on his blog called 9Stucks. You can also follow Jim on Twitter (@9Stucks) by clicking here.
Silicon Valley VC confidence drops for first time in 2 years
- Cromwell Schubarth — Senior Technology Reporter- Silicon Valley Business Journal
Confidence among Silicon Valley venture capital investors dropped for the first time in two year in the third quarter, according to a new survey.
The report from the University of San Francisco is the latest sign of nervousness among VCs as startup valuations hit the roof and a growing number of IPOs are underperforming or being delayed.
Among the VC-backed companies that have decided to delay offerings are Los Altos-based Box and Sunnyvale-based Good Technology. Bloomberg reports that Zoosk, GoDaddy and Yodle also may wait until next year.
The survey also comes after various reports indicated strong but slowing venture funding in the third quarter.
The survey managed by Prof. Mark Cannice asked 33 VCs in the region to rank their confidence on a five-point scale, with one being low and five being high.
The third quarter index came in at 3.89, which is still relatively high, but is down from the 4.02 registered in the second quarter. It is the first drop recorded since early 2012.
“The break in the upward trend could indicate slowing momentum going forward as the VC confidence reading is future oriented,” Cannice wrote in his report.
Some prominent VCs, including Bill Gurley of Benchmark and Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz, have publicly warned startups to be careful not to burn through too much of their cash at this time.
One of the VCs in the survey who is growing more cautious is Robert Ackerman of Allegis Capital.
“While the engine of innovation is running at full speed, there is considerable risk of overheating, particularly in consumer sectors,” he said. “The excess of capital available to these companies is inflating both valuations and their wage costs. The laws of gravity remain universal and, at some point, we can expect to see a reconciliation between hype and hope.”
Jon Soberg of Expansive Ventures said, “The ‘bubble’ talk has grown louder, especially discussion about high valuations and burn rates. I expect VCs will be more conservative in the coming months and will fulfill the predictions of things slowing down. I still see great innovation and opportunities, and I expect that we will continue to see great companies being built and scaled, but possibly with a little lower valuations.”
An interesting twist may be that as venture-backed companies wait longer to exit through an IPO or acquisition, they become more vulnerable to shifting global macro-economic factors.
“With market demand lagging in China and in most of Europe, many companies are finding it difficult to forecast 2015 international sales,” Kurt Keilhacker of Techfund Capital said. “As a result, many U.S. companies are forecasting modest growth with the headwinds of softening demand internationally and an appreciating U.S. dollar.”
Despite signs of weakening exits, a number of the VCs in the survey remain confident.
Venky Ganesan of Menlo Ventures said, “The major trends driving entrepreneurial growth remain intact — mobile and social for consumers; cloud and Big Data for enterprises. The world we live in is being refashioned by these trends and we are in the second inning of the game. There will be some short term perturbations and some of the excesses we see in certain sectors will get curtailed, but the long term secular trend remains intact.”
Click here to subscribe to TechFlash Silicon Valley, the free daily email newsletter about the region’s founders and funders.
Cromwell Schubarth is the Senior Technology Reporter at the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Details for Bay Area Ventures, SiriusXM Satellite Radio Interview
NETWORK: SiriusXM Satellite Radio
CHANNEL: Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School, channel 111
SHOW: Bay Area Ventures
HOST(S): Don Landwirth & Sam Brasch
DATE: Monday, October 27th, 2014
TIME: 4:00 PM Pacific Standard Time/ 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
LENGTH: Approximately 45 – 60 minutes
TYPE: IN STUDIO
ADDRESS: Wharton | San Francisco at Hills Bros. Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94105
CONTACT: Lisa M. Mantineo, Producer
Also, please note:
If your friends, family, blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, or others want to listen, they can also use our FREE trial here.
Please see video -“When to pull the plug on a dying startup company”. This was on PBS News Hour on 10/21, reporter – Steve Goldbloom
Steve Gerbsman is 5 minutes and 39 seconds into the video.
5 Mistakes Every Startup Should Avoid
This post is sponsored by Desk.com.
It’s not enough to have a trailblazing business idea anymore. Between 80% and 90% of startups fail, according to several studies. Even ones that seem destined for success — those that have millions in funding and are backed by passionate entrepreneurs — can still collapse.
While startups fail for all sorts of reasons, there are five reasons that pop up over and over, including a lack of direction and an ineffective marketing strategy. If you’re starting your own company, avoid these five common startup mistakes at all costs.
1. Lack of direction.
It’s great to hire talented, excited, and ambitious people for your startup — after all, company culture is very important — but you also need to have people with experience who can guide your company toward long-term success. Sprinkle in a few seasoned employees who understand the nuances of growing a business from the ground up.
2. The wrong technology.
Some startups fail to understand their target audience and how they use technology. For instance, if you’re creating an online source for retirees, then you have to recognize they would most likely prefer talking to a person instead of, say, text messaging or video conferencing. You can still add those features, but always take your audiences’ tech habits into consideration when creating a product or service.
3. Putting all your eggs in one basket.
Does your startup have tunnel vision? Many startups fail because they take an all-or-nothing approach, therefore alienating potential investors, when they should be willing to adapt and diversify. If you have one great product that is bound to sell, ensure there will be more happening down the road.
4. Not having the right goals from the start.
Go big or go home, but don’t go too big or it could all come crashing down. You don’t want to expand too quickly, but you don’t want to move at a snail’s pace either. Make sure your business is growing steadily by planning where you would like it to be a month, year, and even five years from now. Constantly revisit and update your business plan as things change, and gather feedback as you go.
5. Failing at marketing.
The hard truth is that no one will buy from you if they don’t know who you are. Marketing — that is, direct-mail campaigns, search-engine optimization, blogging, and so forth — should be a key part of your startup from day one. Every successful startup needs to integrate marketing into its budget, and if you want to outsource it to an outside marketing company, make sure you go with an established one.
Update to The Bidding Process, Procedures for the Sale of certain Assets and Intellectual Property of AxioMed Spine Corp. – Gerbsman Partners
Posted in "Date Certain M&A Process", AxioMed Spine Corp, Blog of Intellectual Capital, Distressed Intellectual Property, Distressed IP, Gerbsman Partners, Inetellectual Property, Intellectual capital, Steven R. Gerbsman, tagged Date Certain M&A Process, Gerbsman Partners, Sale of AxioMed Spine Corp., steven r gerbsman on October 20, 2014| Leave a Comment »
The Bidding Process, Procedures for the Sale of certain Assets and Intellectual Property of AxioMed Spine Corp.
Further to Gerbsman Partners previous e-mail sales letter and bidding process of October 10, 2014 and October 2, 2014, regarding the sale of certain assets of AxioMed Spine Corp., (AxioMed), I attach the form of agreement (“APA”) that we will be requesting the bidders for certain Assets and Intellectual Property of AxioMed execute and deliver in connection with such transaction and wire transfer information for the refundable deposit required with bids The AxioMed Assets have been previously supplied, as outlined in AxioMed sales letter. Ken, Jim and I are available to follow up and review the Bidding Process.
Gerbsman Partners (http://www.gerbsmanpartners.com) has been retained by Venture Lending & Leasing VI, Inc. and Venture Lending & Leasing VII, Inc. (together “WTI”), the senior secured lender to AxioMed Spine Corp., (“AxioMed”), (http://www.axiomed.com) to solicit interest for the acquisition of all or substantially all of AxioMed’s assets, including its Intellectual Property (“IP”), in whole or in part (collectively, the “AxioMed Assets”). Please be advised that the AxioMed Assets are being offered for sale pursuant to Section 9-610 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Purchasers of the AxioMed Assets will receive all of AxioMed’s right, title, and interest in the purchased portion of WTI’s collateral, which consists of substantially all of AxioMed’s assets, as provided in the Uniform Commercial Code.
A portion of the fixed asset list is subject to a secured lien by the Ohio Department of Development- Innovation Loan Fund. Please review the fixed asset list regarding this equipment and bid for this equipment separately. There is no guarantee that the Ohio Department of Development – Innovation Loan Fund will accept any bid.
Any and all the assets of AxioMed will be sold on an “as is, where is” basis and will be subject to “The Bidding Process for Interested Buyers”, outlined below.
Prior to the bid date of October 31, 2014., I would encourage all interested parties to have their counsel speak with Jeffrey Klugman of Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP, counsel to WTI. (phone 415 248 1533 or 415 981 1400; email email@example.com). He is available to discuss any questions or comments of a legal nature relating to the transactions contemplated by the APA.
I have also attached wire transfer information for the refundable deposit of $250,000.00 that is required for interested parties when they submit a bid. The wire transfer information is for the trust account of Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP, counsel to WTI. All refundable deposits will be held in trust by Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP and the deposits will be sent back to non-successful bidders.
The Bidding Process for Interested Buyers
Interested and qualified parties will be expected to sign a nondisclosure agreement (attached hereto as Exhibit A) to have access to key members of the management and intellectual capital teams and the due diligence “war room” documentation (the “Due Diligence Access”). Each interested party, as a consequence of the Due Diligence Access granted to it, shall be deemed to acknowledge and represent (i) that it is bound by the bidding procedures described herein; (ii) that it has an opportunity to inspect and examine the AxioMed Assets and to review all pertinent documents and information with respect thereto; (iii) that it is not relying upon any written or oral statements, representations, or warranties of WTI, Gerbsman Partners, or AxioMed, or their respective staff, agents, or attorneys; and (iv) all such documents and reports have been provided solely for the convenience of the interested party, and WTI, AxioMed, and Gerbsman Partners (and their respective, staff, agents, or attorneys) do not make any representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the same.
Following an initial round of due diligence, interested parties will be invited to participate with a sealed bid, for the acquisition of the AxioMed Assets. Sealed bids must be submitted so that they are actually received by Gerbsman Partners no later than Friday, October 31, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time (the “Bid Deadline”) at AxioMed’s office, located at 5350 Transportation Blvd., # 18, Garfield Heights, Ohio 44125. Please also email firstname.lastname@example.org with any bid. Please bid on the fixed assets that are secured by the Ohio Department of Development- Innovation Loan Fund separately. Detail information is available in the due diligence room.
Bids should identify those assets being tendered for in a specific and identifiable way. A portion of the fixed asset list is subject to a secured lien by the Ohio Department of Development- Innovation Loan Fund. Please review the fixed asset list regarding this equipment and bid for this equipment separately.
Any person or other entity making a bid must be prepared to provide independent confirmation that they possess the financial resources to complete the purchase where applicable. All bids must be accompanied by a refundable deposit in the amount of $250,000 (the refundable deposit should be sent by wire transfer to the trust account of Greene Radovsky Maloney Share & Hennigh LLP, counsel to WTI). The winning bidder will be notified within 3 business days of the Bid Deadline. Unsuccessful bidders will have their deposits returned to them within 3 business days of notification that they are an unsuccessful bidder.
WTI reserves the right to, in its sole discretion, accept or reject any bid, or withdraw any or all of the assets from sale. Interested parties should understand that it is expected that the highest and best bid submitted will be chosen as the winning bidder and bidders may not have the opportunity to improve their bids after submission.
WTI will require the successful bidder to close within a 7 day period; WTI currently anticipates any transaction will close on or around November 11, 2014. Any or all of the assets of AxioMed will be sold on an “as is, where is” basis, with no representation or warranties whatsoever.
All sales, transfer, and recording taxes, stamp taxes, or similar taxes, if any, relating to the sale of the AxioMed Assets shall be the sole responsibility of the successful bidder and shall be paid to WTI at the closing of each transaction. For additional information, please see below and/or contact:
For additional information, please see below and/or contact:
Steven R. Gerbsman