Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Venture Capital Goes Back to Basics

open :: business

HBS Working Knowledge: Alumni Insights: Daniel Ahn: Venture Capital Goes Back to Basics

Some interesting things mentioned in this article:

...the one-two punch of the dot-com implosion and slowing economy
has restored to the industry a sense of level-headedness, emphasis on
due diligence, and realistic expectations.

"Basically we are taking our time and building companies. We're not
going to ramp product development and teams ahead of customer needs,
which is generally what firms have been doing. We're more on the
conservative side."

"One of the most important things is the really great people you
can recruit. This was not the case in 1999-2000," Ahn says. Plenty of
smart, talented people are looking for their next opportunity in a
well-back startup. Better yet for entrepreneurs, these execs have
realistic compensation expectations.

The second advantage of this market is access to resources such as
lawyers, consultants, and recruiters, all of whom were rather busier a
year ago.

Ahn also steered his own startup, an experience that provided
perspective on the life of an entrepreneur. He co-founded and was
president of Endpoint Technologies Inc., which developed and sold
real-time manufacturing control systems for semiconductor device
production. The company was later acquired by Applied Materials.

"I learned that I didn't know that much, that it's a lot different
doing it yourself as opposed to coaching someone else. Entrepreneurship
is best left to the professionals."

Today, the best potential markets he is looking at are those
hardware, software, and services helping the transition of business
communications from analog to digital, marrying the Internet with
voice, video and real-time communications.

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