As part of IBM Entrepreneur Week I spent yesterday in the IBM Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA attending a daylong event: “Connecting Companies with Capital”. Although we knew that as an expansion-stage investor Georgian Partners wouldn’t become a near-term source for any of those seeking funding we find it a real win-win to talk with early stage companies to share ideas and give feedback. Of course our particular area of interest and passion are our thesis area of Applied Analytics and how companies can use it to increase company and customer value.
Throughout the day some great insights were reinforced in main tents, roundtables and breakout sessions. Chris Lynch opened with personal examples and reminded us that failures do occur but that it’s the hard work that matters. A primary focus of his is on great people. He’s even seeded the same individual multiple times even though prior investments didn’t work out. Best selling author and consultant Victor Rosansky hammered on the need to successfully sell to customers by meeting their needs with a reminder that business leaders must base decisions on proven data.
In an energetic and fast-paced Speed Mentoring hour I was able to hold 8 sessions and during coffee and other breaks, I probably heard from another 4 companies. In some cases, I gave feedback about a company’s business strategy while in others we talked about go-to-market or business development strategies. In all cases the discussions were lively, interactive and hopefully of value.
A last great takeaway was hammered during a breakout session on Markets was on how a company needs to push away all distractions and focus, focus, focus.
My thanks to Joe Perry and the IBM team for the opportunity to participate. I hope that we’ll be able to do this again. As this was a global event there was a parallel session running at IBM Toronto.