Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rough and Tumble


Status: Dave did not have an easy time of things today

We met with four of the six angel investors interested in financing our company,  reviewing our investment proposal and progress towards our first product.  It’s an in-depth discussion of our plans and budgets, challenging every assertion and assumption, rapid-fire questioning for several hours.  The process is completely non-linear, hopping from topic to topic, diving suddenly, then skipping ahead  or back. 

It reminded me of what you see on Dragon’s Den: absolutely necessary to quickly assessing and critiquing a business, but disorienting and frustrating on the receiving end. Our prepared agenda survived for all of five minutes before being swept away. Then there was a rocky period of coming up to speed on the process; afterward I think I kept up.  By the half-way point, I was remembering passion and hand gestures, when to embrace a question and how to correct one. 


TimeIn the end, we agreed that our (wonderful) team is making (solid) progress towards achieving our (significant) Stage 1 milestones, and that the product represents significant opportunity to improve patient outcomes, reduce hospital costs, and generate attractive investment returns. 

However, there were four points where the group spun us hard. Errors cascade, and correcting them creates more confusion.  And, in the end, they (rightly) postpone their decision, asking for more information on budget details, valuation method, an investment strategy, and clarification of founder’s cash participation.  It’s hard to know if they are saying (“No, and this is why” or “Get back to us and we’ll see”, but it definitely not a ‘Yes’.   Presuming success, we’ll provide answers to everyone by the end of this week, then follow up by phone or meetings afterward to discuss next stepsgantt

If you have additional questions please let us know; We would welcome your investment and your participation in the business.

Personal aside: Each time I got a step forward in the process, I think I’m reaching the end of the process.  Instead, I find it’s only the next step.  And then, each time I fail, I have to go back to the Start, repeating the whole to process through.  It’s becoming an endurance event: I’m learning a lot, but I’m  wearing down.  I need to have an end in sight.


Textual Healer said...

At which point you should proably go to You Tube (or your CD collection) and dig out Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush singing 'Don't give up'.
Good luck

Dave Hampton said...

Yep, so right... Instead, I've worked with my CFO to redo the budget and make a response to them all...calls next week to see if we can still bring any of them into the fold. The issue is whether the resources run out before the will to pursue this does.