Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PR COVERAGE - Nice little Fillip

The other day I was a speaker at an all-day event on the pros and cons of Intellectual Property protection.

It was promoted by Fillip, the organisation that has been very helpful and supportive with the RE:tie invention I am marketing.

Seems my adventures with RE:tie are deemed an entertaining example of the roller-coaster ride it can all represent. At least it got some nifty PR in the Birmingham Post, and major regional daily.

I also had a lot of good feedback from many present, which was encouraging, as we were talking hard-nosed types from the VC and associated worlds.

I feel like sharing an exchange I had with one kind soul who offered some good advice on dealing with money men, with my answers in reply putting it in the context of one from the more creative side of the equation.

One major drum I banged at the event was that too much resource was going into funding the making of things and not enough into complementing these efforts with sales. Inventors tend not to be great at Business Plans or pitching to boards packed with bean counters.

Note that (in big bold letters), they will not do everything for you and I’m afraid to say it takes a considerable and consistent time and energy commitment from the current management team to enable them to do their job.

Don't get me wrong. I will meet more than halfway. The more I do, the more I save... and make. Thing is, there is no management team... I'm it. Chief cook and bottle washer. I can do time and energy. What I can't become is something I am not. Too many suits so far seem to have a problem getting their heads round that. I need a team of complementing talents. Some consultant telling me what I need that I have already told 'em I know I need... er... no.
It will take longer and be more painful than you ever imagine at the start, but there is no magic bullet to either funding or a stronger management team.

It will take longer and be more painful than you ever imagine at the start, but there is no magic bullet to either funding or a stronger management team.

Length and pain noted. Been there, am still... got the T shirt. Robert the Bruce is my inspiration.

I understand where you are, I was in the same position, there was one of me, but if you don’t support them, it’s impossible for them to produce the resources you’ll need to take it to the next stage.

Finding, and clicking with the right guys is the mission. Intros like this one will help that happen.

No VC is going to even consider you without a solid plan.

Noted. But most I'd not be targeting. Their skill sets are inappropriate and while I need hard-nosed money men reigning me in, wannabe Dragon's Denners who have no vision of making the world better whilst making money are not either. Without folk who pluck ideas from the ether, guys like this are nothing. A joke about a one word business plan is funny to other suits, but cheap. What about the story of how they saw a product's potential and worked with the creator to make the plan perfect, if necessary using network contacts to complete the jigsaw. 'Computer says no' followed by 'try again, do better and come back when it's how I expect it' is not a mindset I'd want on my team, even if I could find a way of helping them deliver money I need to pay back with interest. I don't need money as such; I need talent and access... which does take money. It makes sense to have that role performed by a player on my team with a vested interest in long term success, not a vulture hovering above seeking a quick return.

You need the following pieces clearly worked out in your mind to pass on even before you approach anyone else–

The potential for the business, numbers (size of market not micro detail)

The routes to market

The licensing potential

Detailed current and IP road map

SWOT analysis – risks & threats, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses

Where you fit in and your future role

What skills you’re going to need to rent in the future

Exactly what do you want to do with the funds and how will it achieve the growth that will reward anyone coming in

Investors from what I hear rarely feel comfortable with one product companies

Noted. Not really a problem, because it's a design with license potential. See rapstrap. Plus I do have more second use ideas in mind. I need a hero to play off first. Then there is a whole raft of other inventions to come. I am at least smart enough to keep 'em tucked away until I can afford to protect them, and give all necessary resources to exploiting them. Being the guy behind the 'RE:tie' is a brand foundation I am building here.

And I think you need an idea of what will generate growth moving forward.

Those numbers exist, but already this is moving into areas I am not qualified to handle effectively. If a bridge is needed to interface with a VC, so be it. That's who I need to find to fight my corner. There is no point pitting me against a suit who expects me to fit into their mindset totally as it will end in tears.

I am here to make money by doing good. Not just for me, but all who hitch up. That means seeing the potential of what I am seeking to achieve and convincing me that they can make it happen as much as I need to convince them it's worth the effort. A way with P&L's and a swanky office and a client list means diddly. I seek added value, personality matching and end-benefit focus.

If you get the opportunity to pitch to any investors they want to see someone; extremely clear, passionate, focussed, with very defined aims. Don’t forget at our level, 90% of what they’re investing in is your ability to deliver, bring in the rest of the team and manage and motivate.

I am at the bringing in the rest of team stage. It seems my pitch has re-inspired a few to wish to help, with luck not for up front money but to share in the rewards.

My instinct is that you need at least one deal already in place to use as a platform.

Agree. Too many in this country are set on being first to be second. I get one and the dominoes will fall. It will give me great pleasure to charge those who could have had a much better deal a lot longer ago... anything I feel like.

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