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Each year 600,000 new businesses are started in the US, but in 2010 venture capital funded just 2,792 companies. Even assuming all the VC deals were for new start ups (hint: they weren’t), 597,208 or so businesses somehow got up and running without the blessing of a VC partner committee.
Yet to read the business press, one would be forgiven for assuming that the only path to riches for an entrepreneur is to give up most of the equity and control of his or her company in exchange for a few million dollars from angel investors and venture capitalists.
While some angel and venture funded companies do have great success, they are a tiny minority even in the universe of fast growing companies. In 2007 when Entrepreneur Magazine published the 500 hottest companies in America just 3.5% had received venture capital and only 15% had ANY outside capital.
At the November 1st meeting we will explore the strategies successful entrepreneurs have used to get their business up and growing without outside equity capital. Topics will include: bootstrapping,SBIR funding, winning business plan competitions, business models and cash flow management methods that allow founders to get their companies off the ground and to maintain control and equity in their business.
Panelists:Steve Derezinski, CEO and Co-founder, Metal Oxygen Separation Technologies, Inc.
Mr. Derezinski is CEO and Co-founder of Metal Oxygen Separation Technologies, Inc. (http://www.moxst.com ) Metal Oxygen Separation Technologies was initially funded by government grants and SBIRs, and just won a $6M Department of Energy Award in August. Mr. Derezinski’s background is in engineering/MBA and he is experienced with deep IP-based technology breakthroughs inside research universities and creating a compelling business model for them. Prior to MOxST, Mr. Derezinski was Founder and Director of Georgia Tech's VentureLab, and worked closely with faculty members on commercializing their technologies, by helping them focus on specific target markets and drilling down to understand the real strength of their technology. While running the program, Mr. Derezinski launched 8 companies which have raised a combined $43M in VC funding.
Mr. Derezinski received an MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management as an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow; his research focus is on university-based startups. In addition, Mr. Derezinski also holds a S.B. degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and is a past-President of the MIT Alumni Club of Atlanta, and has served on MIT's National Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Mr. Derezinski is very active in the Clean Energy community and has served as a judge for the MIT $200K Clean Energy Entrepreneurship Prize and as a mentor for the Ignite Clean Energy Competition.
Waseem Daher, Senior Director, Oracle
Waseem Daher is a Senior Director at Oracle. He joined Oracle through the acquisition of Ksplice in July 2011, where he was a founder and the head of sales and marketing. He received both his BS and MEng at MIT, and he lives and works in Cambridge, Mass.
KSplice enables applying Linux Security updates without rebooting. It is like having a mechanic work on your car while you keep driving. Ksplice was initially funded by winning the MIT 100K Business Plan Competition and several international software competitions.
Maureen Mansfield, Co-Founder, iTravelNow
Maureen Mansfield, MA, is a Co-Founder of iTourNow (www.iTourNow.com ), an e-commerce Internet company that simplifies the travel process. The company is a bootstrapped startup conceived during a Harvard University class project on entrepreneurship. Even though Maureen and her co-founders began negotiations toward signing a Term Sheet with Angel investors valuing the company at $10M, negotiations ended as the co-founders decided to maintain majority control of the company since the business was gaining momentum and earning revenues. iTourNow continues to be funded and managed by its co-founders, until the right venture funding deal becomes available.
Maureen attributes her ability to bootstrap to both sets of her grandparents, entrepreneurs in Massachusetts and national-award winning athletes who ran a working farm in Iowa. She grew up hearing stories about the Great Depression, how to stretch a dollar, and the importance of helping a neighbor.
Maureen began her career as a television reporter and has since worked in business development. While working for professional service consulting firms, Maureen produced their most profitable years, which increased their market shares, bottom lines, and new hires to meet clients' needs. Volunteerism has always been a part of Maureen's upbringing and life, and she founded two charities that continue today. Maureen received an MA in Management from Harvard University; a BA from The University of Iowa in Journalism and Mass Communication; a BA from The University of Iowa in Communication Studies (with training from The Iowa Writers' Workshop); and a certificate in project management.
Michael S. Chester, President, International Manufacturing Consultants, www.imcglobaladvisors.com
Mike has founded and built companies, set up manufacturing operations, formed strategic partnerships, set up global joint ventures, raised over $40M for startups which he co-founded, including two based in China, and commercialized technologies. Mike advises startups in high tech, clean tech, software, and manufacturing.
One of his startups provides mobile banking services in China. A cell biology company which he cofounded, also in China, has just been sold. Tonbu which developed web-based collaborative environments for the electronics industry grew to 142 employees. Mike spent 16 years with IBM designing robots and automation, marketing and selling IBM products to manufacturing companies, setting up global operations and supply chains, and founding an IBM consulting organization for manufacturing clients which he grew into a $20M business. Mike also lived in China from 1986-1987 while consulting to companies owned by the Machine Building Ministry and taught graduate courses at Hunan University.
Mike earned his BS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University and his MBA from Union College. He is past Chair of the IEEE Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network, has served on the board of APICS Boston, and was a member of the planning committee of the MIT Enterprise Forum for over 10 years. Two of the companies competing in the Ignite Clean Energy Competition (Clean Energy Open) which he mentored placed 2nd and 3rd. He is also a judge in the Mass Challenge competition. His certifications include APICS CPIM and CIRM and Operational Excellence by the Supplier Excellence Alliance (SEA) for Aerospace companies. Mike is a frequent speaker at conferences on Global Entrepreneurship, Supply Chains, Manufacturing, and China business. Mike and his sons have competed on the TV show Robot Wars with their robotic rabbit, “Bunny Attack”.