Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Parade - TiE Con Texas 2006

I apologize for being late today in posting the Friday Parade of Random Cool Things, but I was attending an all day conference sponsored by TiE Austin: TiE Con Texas 2006 - Business Without Borders: Entrepreneurship Unleashed.

TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs Group) always does a phenomenal job of drawing in the "A-Team" of local entrepreneurs, investors and service providers to their events....and today was no exception. The groups motto sums up the whole program today, "Fostering Entrepreneurship Through Education, Mentoring and Networking".

The program consisted of a variety of expert speakers and panel discussions. So much good information that it would not do justice to try to report on the whole day. I particularly enjoyed the panel discussion, "Disruption & Convergence - The New Entrepreneur".

The moderator was Paul Hurdlow of DLA Piper, and the panelists were:

Jikku Venkat, CTO - United Devices
Mike Maples, Jr., - Maples Investments
Dave Panos, Co-founder & CEO - Pluck Corporation
Venu Shamapant, General Partner - Austin Ventures

Focusing on how entrepreneurship, venture capital and exit strategies are rapidly changing along with the unprecedented pace of business and technology innovations, these business executives and venture capitalists shared personal experiences of growing businesses in the old, new and new new economies.

"Timing is everything" according to Dave Panos, whose company is now taking the new social media industry by storm. While they have changed directions since inception, they have captured a market segment and continue to grow with a combination of great technology, hard work and the right timing.

My favorite comment came from Mike Maples, Jr, who said that "$500K is the new $5 million" in respect to why it is better for start-ups to establish their formula and eliminate up front risk and then raise growth capital. Taking too much money too early puts too much time and the investors money in jeopardy.

With the costs of being a public company rising, and IPO is not always the best exit strategy, and companies need to examine their options early. Raising less money allows for more exit options down the line.

They also discussed the importance of patents for tech companies, but it was made clear that few companies have ever succeeded because of the patents, rather they are in place for protections down the line. To rely to heavily on the patent wont get them anywhere. Companies need to focus on things they can control (building a large and sustainable business).

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

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