More Funding, Low Valuations, Getting M&A Ready
With a fast-growing entrepreneur environment - thanks to the somewhat recovering economy, this is a good time to go back to investors and find out what they are looking for. As we know, valuations are low, exits are limited but the business idea mill goes on nonetheless.
Now that the 40 plus set is the fastest-growing portion of the entrepreneurial class, the fundable ideas tend to be niche solutions. Geoff Judge talked about his own pre-investor record at 24/7 Media and true to form, is looking at investing in new kinds of ad networks - especially ones that are focused on specific high-growth areas.
Juan Lopez-Alcarcel described a kind of localization ploy that is quite common in Europe. When a US restaurant reservation company tried to spend money opening up in Europe, the locals quickly demurred when they realized their businesses would now appear on record and therefore subject to taxes. So a local entrepreneur stepped in with a similar idea but without the record-keeping. Often, local knock-offs like the first German version of eBay get acquired - or they just do well by using local knowledge.
Michael Kurdziel talked about exits which today, are mostly M&A. However, VC investment appears to be growing and new markets are emerging to trade and therefore create liquidity for founders stock. The bottom line, however, seems to be: find out what companies are buying and make your start-up M&A ready!
About the Speakers
Michael Kurdziel is the Managing Director of Landmark Ventures. He was a Partner and Managing Director with ARC Investment Partners, a Director at Activision, Inc., and a founding member of DealerTrack (Nasdaq: TRAK).
Juan Lopez-Valcarcel the Managing Director for The Digital
Sunrise Group, a new incubator and angel investment group for European digital startups. He was a VP in the Digital Media team at NBC Universal and the General Manager for iVillage.com
Geoff Judge is an active investor in early stage companies and member of The NY Angels. He was the Chief Revenue Officer of Piczo and COO of Preclick, a Digital Photography software firm with clients such as Hewlett Packard, Wal-Mart, Costco, and Sandisk.