Friday, January 29, 2010

Seeking: Entrepreneurs and Undergrads in Sydney

We are about to kick off another term at UNSW in Sydney, including my course "STRE2010: Principles & Practice of Innovation & Entrepreneurship" The course textbook is Guy Kawasaki's Art of the Start which is available in most bookstores. Last term, the top reasons that students were interested in the course were because of the guest speaker entrepreneurs and interdisciplinary group work. Guest speakers mean you get the real deal on how companies got off the ground, not just a list of theoretical things to look out for. And, group work resembles the real world, in which a company's performance depends on people with different backgrounds working together.

Undergrads: Take STRE2010. Enrollment is already half-full. It's a Gen Ed course, too! Deliverables are:
  • 4-page business outline
  • 3 and 5 minute business pitch
  • 2 mid-terms
  • Be a guest speaker! Meet the next generation of entrepreneurs, coach them, invest in them, hire them as interns, become inspired.
  • Get a business pitch for your company. This term, I am exploring pairing teams up with entrepreneurs who have a business idea that needs a little more meat on the bones. This will be an option for teams who are struggling to come up with their own idea.
See you in a few weeks.

PS: Already taken STRE2010? Looking for more at UNSW? Check out STRE3001, Managing Business Strategy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Early exits of tech start-ups reaching new levels

Over dinner with a CFO friend last week, I heard Google has a 20/20/20 rule. They like to buy companies that are under 20 people, under $20M revenues, and I forget what the other 20 was. An email I got from Basil today, provided a little more background (his post). Apparently this is a trend with fortune 500 companies, that already have all the marketing might they need, but are cutting R&D costs. They aren't interested in buying market share, they want YOU! They want smart people. If the company you're working on (and in) doesn't work out, they know that smart people are able to parlay the motivation and drive into something new. The unspoken story here is that even though M&A's are heading towards tiny pre-revenue companies, you still need more than a single visionary with an idea on a napkin. You need at least a team and a proof of concept.

Clicking around on Basil's blog also pointed me to this great story about Nexus and Parason including handing handing a paper bag of money to someone to leak information to their competitor that Nexus was up for sale.