The Sunday New York Times featured an article about how entrepreneurs are resisting turning to venture capitalist for money. As you can imagine the article has generated a lot of buzz and the usual “piling on” that follows a media attack on a group, especially a wealthy group. The article describes how venture capital is bad for some startups and attempts to provide some reasons for this.
I awoke this morning to an interesting roundup of headlines. First, Clemson soundly defeated Alabama for the NCAA Division I Football National Championship. It is Clemson’s second national championship in the last three years and third overall. Clemson? Next, was news that a last ditch effort to save Sears had failed. Followed by an announcement that Amazon was now the most valuable company in the world.
Apple opened 2019 by flipping the proverbial bird to its competitors, namely Google. Though Apple doesn’t attend CES it didn’t stop the company from erecting a massive billboard near the venue highlighting the iPhone’s privacy features. The billboard reads, “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone,” followed by a link to Apple’s privacy features. Since Tim Cook’s admonishment of Facebook in 2018 for the company’s hacks and sale of personal data, privacy appears to be the strategy for iPhone marketing in the new year.
I belong to a private equity business group in my town that meets once a month to discuss various topics related to the industry. This week's topic was CEO Transitions. The panel consisted of a venture capitalist who does seed stage investments, a middle market private equity firm partner who is focused on industrial companies and an executive recruiter. Following are a few key points that came out of the discussion:
A few years ago I began working on a new class designed for students who wanted to learn about basic financial accounting, raising money, and putting that money to work building value in their business. I met with entrepreneurs and asked what they wished they had known about finance before starting their businesses. Then I met with investors and asked what they had wished entrepreneurs better understood about finance before getting funded. It was from these conversations that I designed the curriculum that would become Entrepreneurial Finance - a class that has been oversubscribed every semester that it has been offered at Babson College - even when it had an 8am start during senior spring!