Potomac Tech Wire’s Startup Outlook 2015

03 Nov Potomac Tech Wire’s Startup Outlook 2015

Potomac Tech Wire hosted its “Startup Outlook 2015: Growing a Company in the Current Market” program last Thursday at the new Tysons Tower.

The event kicked off with a keynote from Phil Bronner of Quad Learning on “Understanding Both Sides of the Table: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Venture Capital.” Bronner drew on his 12.5 years as a General Partner for Novak Biddle Venture Partners and experience raising $21 million for Quad Learning to craft his insights for the startup audience. One of my favorite anecdotes from his engaging presentation included Luke Skywalker and Yoda. Paraphrasing Bronner: “If you are selling light sabers, Luke Skywalker would be a great target investor. And a great way to get to Luke, would be through his trusted advisor, Yoda.”

Here are the highlights of Bronner’s tips on things for entrepreneurs to consider as they pursue venture capital:

  1. Venture Capitalists want to do deals, but you have to FIND a way to break through.
  2. To break through, you have to find the right VC for YOUR deal. If you do, they will add more value and pay a higher price for your deal.
  3. You are FULLY vested the VC is not.
  4. All VCs are not alike. Even in the same firm there are huge differences in performance.
  5. The right VC can add a lot of value to your business. More than they cost.

Bronner’s keynote was followed by an entrepreneurs’ panel filled with leaders of successful startups in the region. In addition to Bronner, the panelists included:

  • Jon Chapman, Co-founder/CSO, EverFi
  • Ric Fleisher,Co-founder/EVP, Urgent.ly
  • Blake Hall, Founder/CEO, ID.me
  • Tien Wong, Founder/CEO, Appnetic

Paul Sherman, Publisher of Potomac Tech Wire moderated their discussion on raising venture capital, major tech trends, and growing new ventures in the current market environment.

Major takeaways from the panel were that the DC region is solid in its growing reputation as a great place to start a business; early stage talent is abundant, but growth stage talent is harder to find in the region; and cultivating a strong team and customer relationships continue to be as important as ever. One of the pieces of advice on hiring that stood out for me was to seek out the over-the-top positive personalities and avoid negative, wet rag types that will drain your energy and impede your progress.

It was a great event packed with even better insights.

Lisa Throckmorton
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