Posts Tagged VCs

Where are VCs investing in DevOps


Image result for non copyrighted images, devops, VCsIn software engineering culture, unifying software development and software operation is gaining great momentum. Automation and monitoring at all steps of software construction from integration, testing, releasing to deployment, and infrastructure management, DevOps shortens development cycles, ensures more dependable releases and is more closely aligned with business objectives. Recent M&A activities of DevOps companies like AppDynamics and Automic Software and $100M+ investments in DevOps solution providers like UIPath,, XebiaLabs and Tricentis points to the red hot market, ripe of entrepreneurial innovation.

VCs have clearly embraced this transformation in culture and processes as a more efficient organizational culture for development and deployment practices.  But as yet, DevOps sector is in the early phase. There will be incredible new opportunities for entrepreneurs in this sector, in the next few years. A panel of industry leaders will discuss and opine on new opportunities for entrepreneurs, at TiE Inflect 2018. Register for the largest entrepreneurship conference with exciting tracks in Blockchain, FinTech, DevOps, HealthTech, CyberSecurity, MarTech and more to take place in in May, in Santa Clara, CA  at www.tieinflect.org .

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Angel View on Investing


Ms. Lee Rauch, founding member of HealthTech Capital, an angel investment group formed to mentor and fund early stage companies talked about Angel View on Investing, at http://www.bio2deviecegroup.org event. HealthTech Capital focuses on companies that apply innovative information technologies that can reduce healthcare costs and improve quality.

 

There are roughly 225K active angel investors in the US, about 12k participate in angel groups. Compared to VC firms, angels tend to make smaller investments.  Angel groups are geographically diverse, whereas many VCs are often clustered in specific geographical areas, primarily the West coast and the East coast.  Angel groups are also more flexible, consider early stage investments, and are also likely to be motivated to build communities and mentor young entrepreneurs.  Angels typically invest their own money.

 

HealthTech Capital looks at investing in companies standing at the intersection of healthcare, IT  & consumer products. It’s membership covers a broad range of expertise.  HealthTech Capital is somewhat newer Angel group on the block having started in mid 2010.  They stress high value added technologies that are end user product driven, look at solving problems, and require minimal or no FDA approval.  They also prefer companies that are not trying to go for new reimbursement codes from Medicare and Medicaid.  Some of the examples of companies funded by HealthTech Capital include, Cadence (has a device that can help in walking for people with severe mobility impairment), Pharma Science (provides code imprints on prescription drug packages that patient can look up to verify they are getting the right stuff), Care in Sync (has software product that physicians, case managers and nurses can use to coordinate care transition plans for hospital patients,  Wellness FX (provides tools for patients to help them collect, manage and interpret their own health data), and My Health Teams (social networking company for patients and caregivers to connect with others like them in order to share experiences and identify resources.

 

So what would make a company a good candidate?  To be funded by HealthTech, a company must be focused on solving a problem, with new, innovative, and high growth technology.  Ideally, it should be generating $20-50M in revenues and must have a significant earnings potential in the next 3-7 years, with potential for 10X-20X return for the investors.  It is preferred that they have completed some development, with a developed or at near completion prototype, with existing customers or potentially committed customers who may be willing advocates, and have a road map for likely liquidity within 3 to  7 years from the time of investment.  It is also desired that the founders and owners have their own cash and sweat equity investment, are flexible and willing to give up some amount of ownership and control in exchange for financing, and are open to advice from the investors.

 

Rauch explained the breakdown with specific numbers in various scenarios and then proceeded to explain the presentation process.  She recommended that companies do their homework, follow tips and guidelines posted on the website, and approach the Angels through their network.  They need to have clarity regarding their needs, milestones, and how the money will be used, and must acknowledge the gaps.  Typical process at HealthTech Capital begins with the partners commenting upon and rating candidate companies on their online rating system.  During their monthly pre-screening meetings, they select 4-5 companies, each month, which are invited to come and make a presentation.  About a total of 25 companies are selected annually to make more detailed presentation at the dinner meetings, followed by blind voting by the partners. Companies with high votes advance to due diligence.  About 80% of the companies advanced to due diligence are likely to get funded.  Their due diligence includes thorough and detailed information about the value proposition, the business model, the problem the company is seeking to solve, information regarding total and target markets, information on who the decision makers are, cost to establish the market presence, estimated sales cycles, technology, barriers to competitors, company’s secret sauce and what would keep the competitors from replicating it, potential acquirers, and a plan to address any regulation and reimbursement issues.

 

The presentation was followed by Q&A.

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GITPRO (www.gitpro.org) conference, 2012 on Emerging Technologies & Opportunities


The GITPRO conference had full attendance with almost 400 participants, including volunteers, panelists, keynotes, and sponsors.  The three tracks dedicated to technology, career and leadership, and startup boot camp were well attended and well received.  Below are some highlights from the three keynotes and then from each of the tracks.

Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur, writer, and entrepreneurship coach at Stanford, gave an excellent keynote on how to build a scalable startup whose goal is to solve for unknown customers, unknown features.  While the focus in larger companies is on execution of known business models, the startups are temporary organizations with goal to search for repeatable and scalable business model built on value proposition for the customers after acquiring thorough, deep and intimate knowledge of customers’ needs and pain points.  In his keynote, Anand Deshpande, CEO of Persistent Systems, shared the opportunities and business landscape inIndia. Indiais not just a consumer of science and data but is emerging as an active and viable participant and meaningful contributor in science and data and R&D.   Dr. Prasad Kaipa’s keynote was focused on how one can grow professionally to become a wise leader, not just a smart one.  With stories and examples from Mahabharata, Kaipa shared how a wise leader is called to a noble purpose, uses multiple forms of intelligence, and is not attached to a fixed point of view or ideology.

Shishu Bedi, COO of AdMaxim and David Cao, Founder & President of Great Wall Club discussed monetization of mobile apps, in the tech track.  Mobile platform has seen accelerated growth and the next revolution will be in smart TVs to reach millions of people and future technologies will dramatically change how we interact with TV, said Bedi.  The new generation of TVs will have all the applications and functionality of smart phones, tablets, and PCs and this will be the hottest space during the next few years.  It will be about who understand the user demographics and how the user interacts with TV.  Cao also believed that understanding of user behavior was important to monetization in this space.  According to Cao, although the distribution of android apps market is bigger than the iPhone apps market, monetization of android market is much more difficult because user behavior is unpredictable in the android market.

Ajit Deora Partner, LightSpeed Ventures and Shan Sinha, exCEO of DocVerse (sold to Google) discussed the basics of raising investment.  What VCs care about is getting huge multiples on their investment with least amount of risk, in the minimum time period, said Deora.  Deora went on to define that in more detail.  VCs generally expect to get 20% ownership, with 5X returns, in the minimum time period.  They like the least amount of risk, with great and team with proven track record, huge market with less to no market risk, low technology risk, scalable business model, and capital efficiency.  A huge market takes care of execution risk and though team issues can be fixed, no one can fix market challenges, so market risk is a definite no, no, said Deora.  Low tech risk means VCs like technology that is implementable and scalable.  Sinha shared his 3 basic rules for fundraising.  Rule no. 1 is about having and telling a compelling story about how entrepreneur’s product or technology will enable changing the world for better.  Rule no. 2 is having a clear understanding that investment is a tactic and not a milestone.  A milestone is growing the team or refining the product or increasing the customer base and the investment should enable the achievement of the milestone.  Before going out and asking for money, the entrepreneur must define the milestone and ask if it is a meaningful milestone that will substantially increase the value, when the milestone is achieved.  Rule no. 3 is about determining the need and raising the right amount and not too little money or too much money.

Rajesh Shetty,Mentorand Coach and Praveena Varadrajan, VP at FICO discussed essentials of managing with influence, in the leadership track.  In today’s technology age, it is not the first impression that we should focus on but the zeroth impression.  “People do their homework about you, even before you have the opportunity to meet them”, said Shetty.  Building a personal brand is not about what one says about oneself, or the extension of one’s employer’s brand, or one’s presence on the social media, or about one’s power and influence, nor is it a gift, nor is branding permanent.  In order to build your brand, said Shetty, “you must prove to the world that it is an assessment of your promise to the world and capacity to fulfill and execute it and with ongoing proof of accomplishments by people who are competent to make that assessment, typically in the field of your expertise”.  So what actions one must take to build a strong personal brand?  “Start with your strengths”, said Shetty.  The strengths that may be invisible would emerge, if one kept a journal or notes or by talking to the mentors who often have a greater insight in the mentees’ strengths.  And with all that, one must contribute meaningfully that would leave the world, a better place.  Varadrajan advised that contributing meaningfully is a precursor to managing with influence.  It is important to share the big picture and build credibility by interacting with honesty and integrity, said Varadrajan.

 

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