Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 4:42 PM [General]
Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 5:21 PM [General]
For part one of “Everything I Know About Pitching VCs I Learned From Monty Python,” click here.
With help from The Pythons, Matt Fates and I collaborated on some ideas to help turn your exceptional slide deck into an exceptional fundraising pitch.
The other key to a great pitch is to highlight your magic, the thing that makes you stand-out from the dozens of other entrepreneurs the VC will see this year. Sometimes you really do have a better mousetrap and the idea can “sell itself.” But there are other kinds of magic: identifying a large and underserved market, having a killer go-to-market strategy, attracting a kick-ass technology, sales or executive team, or having traction with important marquee customers. If you can cut down a tree with a herring, say so. Whatever your particular magic, just make sure it’s not buried in your pitch.
6) Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three.
To read the rest of this post, please visit the AscentVP blog, The Investing Edge of Enterprise IT: Everything I Know About Pitching VCs I Learned From Monty Python (Part Two).
Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 1:39 PM [General]
Most VCs number the annual business plans they see in a year in the thousands, but the implication is the same: There has to be more to distinguish your fundraising pitch than ten or 15 slides in 30-point font.
That’s where Monty Python comes in. John Cleese, Eric Idle and their associates were a VC’s dream, launching a comedy program on television that was so innovative and so influential that it changed the future of their business. And then, after four years, they decided they’d run out of really good ideas and got tired of TV and left for their next big adventure: movies. They had extraordinary, focused success with game-changing ideas and a clean exit at the top of their game.
Wouldn’t it be great if they could write that about each of us one day?
So, with help from The Pythons, Matt Fates and I collaborated on these eight ideas to help turn your exceptional slide deck into an exceptional fundraising pitch.
1) “Of course, it’s a bit of a jump, isn’t it? I mean, er… chartered accountancy to lion taming in one go… You don’t think it might be better if you worked your way towards lion taming, say via banking?”
As an entrepreneur, you spend day and night working at, thinking about and living a particular idea. Your pitch deck is almost entirely about that idea and how it can be successful. But VCs invest in more than ideas. In fact, most VCs will tell you that a good entrepreneur and a good team trump a good idea every time. They want to invest in you. So, be prepared to talk about yourself. What are some of the relevant experiences that brought you to your idea? How will those experiences help you to be successful? And, if your idea is to tame lions, and you really are a chartered accountant, you might consider bringing a lion tamer onto your team.
To read the rest of this post, please visit the Ascent blog: The Investing Edge of Enterprise IT
Friday, January 25, 2013, 3:40 PM [General]
Recently I had a breakfast meeting with the senior IT team from one of the largest banks in the world. Typically with organizations of such size, changes in IT infrastructure don’t occur often – enterprise sales cycles can be slow, and the implications of change can be so massive that they’re burdensome to users and IT. It was refreshing then to learn about a few key areas where new technology adoption is driving real change. It was clear evidence that they view such initiatives as strategic advantages, and they are making material headway in driving broad adoption within an enormous company.
Of the many areas of technology we discussed, the main themes that stuck out to me were:
Read the rest of this post here: ascentvp.com/blog/data-analytics/technol...
Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 1:12 PM [General]
We are very pleased that our second B2B Enterprise IT Forum was so well received. Thank you for all of the positive feedback. We had a strong turnout, smart questions from our audience, and great advice from our panelists on how to successfully sell enterprise IT. If you weren’t able to attend, we’ve compiled some of the key takeaways from our panel, which together possess nearly a century of enterprise sales experience.
On pre-sale preparation:
To read the full post, click here.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 11:02 AM [General]
In June we hosted the inaugural B2B IT Forum, a new event series that focuses exclusively on rapidly emerging enterprise IT technologies. That event, which focused on cloud security, brought together some great local minds; we enjoyed hearing presentations from CloudLock, Copiun and Content Raven, and meeting people who share our interest in enterprise IT.
Our October forum is titled “Cracking the Code in Enterprise Sales,” and will examine the changes we’ve seen in how long-term business relationships are brokered. We will discuss the lessons to be learned from the evolution of enterprise selling, as well as practical methods for leveraging the viral dynamics of the consumerization of IT.
Read the rest of the post here.
Thursday, July 26, 2012, 12:10 PM [General]
Even before Governor Patrick announced the Massachusetts Big Data Initiative in May, the state had already established itself as the big data capital of the world. We have 12,000 people employed in the sector in more than 100 companies. We have big money flowing from venture capital ($350 million in 2011) to fund local startups offering new solutions. We are also already home to storage giant EMC, which lends further credibility to this burgeoning field.
But while this is all good news, there remains a major hurdle: Most enterprises have no idea what to do with all of this data that’s growing exponentially every second. And big data companies cannot sell their products without doing a better job of explaining “so what?”
Read the rest of this post here.
Thursday, July 19, 2012, 11:03 AM [General]
Big data is a hot topic, especially here in Massachusetts – arguably the Big Data capital of the world with 12,000 people employed in big data jobs in more than 100 companies across the state, an unmatched talent pool from top universities, and home to EMC Corp.
While data analytics has been around for many years, recently the term ‘Big Data’ has exploded. Since our April launch of the Ascent Enterprise IT Index, which measures social buzz around trend-setting topics such as virtualization, BYOD, cloud security and big data, we found big data to be the consistent winner with the most mentions – nearly 250,000.
But within those conversations, what’s interesting is that there has been a noticeable decline in the talk about extracting data and an increase in chatter about the scalability of it.
Of note, a Wall Street Journal piece on the recent buyout of Digg, one of the first social aggregation sites, explained that four years after being founded in 2004, Digg was valued at more than $160 million, but was sold last week for a mere $500,000. Why? For one thing, Digg was not able to effectively house the data entering their system every day.
During their re-launch in 2010, Digg realized they had problems with the scalability of their existing MySQL database software, and started a shift over to another open source system, Cassandra. But the new Digg launched before the new database was effectively installed, and their team was unable to fix the problems. This turned out to be a killer.
The data explosion of recent years has forced the hands of organizations everywhere, not just Digg. The ability to scale your internal database is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity. The companies that can store and manage vast amounts of data seamlessly will have a major advantage; those that do not, will struggle and may even perish.
Thursday, July 19, 2012, 11:02 AM [General]
Anytime you start something new – be it a job, a training regimen, or in the case of the entrepreneurs we back, a company – there’s always a lot of excitement and energy. That was very much the case Tuesday when we held our inaugural B2B IT Forum at the Microsoft NERD Center. We heard great presentations, met a lot of smart people, and had a lot of fun – so much so that we’re already looking forward to our next event in September (stay tuned for details on that). If you missed Tuesday’s event, here’s a quick recap.
After attendees had some time to eat, drink, and mingle, Luke and I kicked off the formal part of our event with a quick overview of the night’s topic (cloud security), and the void we’re trying to fill with this local event focused exclusively on enterprise IT. Then we settled in to hear our presenters give overviews of their companies and how they related to cloud security.
First up was Gil Zimmermann, founder and CEO of CloudLock, a cloud data security company. Describing the market opportunity for companies like CloudLock, Gil said he believes cloud adoption numbers cited by analysts like Gartner trend lower than what’s actually taking place. Those numbers could be higher, he said, but the #1 barrier to adoption continues to be security. Gil argued that IT must develop effective policies that deal with governance and compliance while giving users the ownership to use the cloud as a collaborative tool.
Next was Puneesh Chaudhry, founder and CEO of Copiun, which helps organizations collaborate securely on mobile devices. Asking for a show of audiences hands, Puneesh proved the prevalence of tablets (only a few attendees did not own one) and discussed how today’s employees do not want to be told by IT which mobile devices they can use for work-related purposes.
Last to present was Joe Moriarty, SVP of Sales and Marketing at ContentRaven, which allows users to securely share and track content with third parties. Joe explained that content tracking is not only important from a security standpoint, but it can help organizations make better content development decisions in the future.
Our judges, John Stafford of Raytheon and Ann Halford of Staples, played the Simon Cowell role – tough but fair. They asked sharp questions that promoted a healthy discussion around each company’s value proposition. In the end, though, the winner was decided by our audience.
The votes were tallied, and ContentRaven was the people’s choice.
Thanks to everyone who attended, our presenters, and a special thank you to our judges John and Ann. It was good to see old friends and new faces. Given the focus of the event, there were many security-related folks, but there were also plenty of people working in different areas of Enterprise IT who came to learn and network with us. We hope everyone had a great time, and hope to see you in September.