Wishing you the best of the season and much happiness and success in 2011
Bryan C Webb, P. Eng.
It just occurred to me that I might be able to assist other Canadian start ups that are seeking government funding.
If this fits your situation, give me a call at 905-562-9650.
Bryan C Webb, P. Eng.
Norton Scientific Inc
We have been told that our request for funding by one of the government operations has been approved for a small loan. This will help to cover upcoming design costs but not the total marketing costs.
It is unclear to me as to where their $ number came from as our request was not close to their maximum. However, it provides a breathing spell and may lead other government orgs to supporting our endeavor. The good news is that the deal will not be one of convertible debt and the interest rate is half of what we were prepared to offer.
We move forward with promise and excitement!!
It seems that the government funding opportunities are similar to banks in that history and/or lots of collateral is needed – start ups have none of the former and little of the later. A viable business plan with detailed sales forecasts and cash flows just is not enough to raise seed funding even at the $200K level.
The federal and provincial governments spends millions to advertise availability of some funds yet puts bureaucratic road blocks in place to slow or stop the money flow to those that can use it to create jobs, export sales and wealth. Few in power actually understand running a business (most have not started their own) nor technology and innovation. We were told that an innovative way to approach the market and sell is not acceptable!! Is not ALL innovation the key in an innovation program? Few understand technology and seem unable to call in experts to look at plans based on technology.
It seems that they spend all the cash just looking (paying their own salaries) but not supporting. Where is the calculated risk and support for innovation? Entrepreneurs are risk takers but it is a calculated risk. Some financial support (and less bureaucracy) would go a long way to helping Canada improve its dismal status in global innovation around the globe…
Rogers trip to the UK resulted in a commitment from the University of Abertay in Dundee to buy a unit (should ship in Sept) as well as collaborate on future devices and white papers. in addition, we now have 2 potential distributors; one of them would like us to sell their devices in North America – another revenue stream.
From a finance perspective, we will apply for funding to collaborate with the University and we have a meeting Jul 21 to discuss FedDev funds – fingers are crossed.
We are close to choosing a CRM to use; may be Pipeline Deals if the referrals work out.
We are choosing an enclosaure for the NS4910 PAM. If you want to, look at the alternatives and let me know your preference (and why):
Norton Scientific continues to move forward. We have initiated the final design of the electronics and software. Thus, we are expecting 5 units for demo/sale by the mid- to end- of September. Exciting times lie ahead.
Our first investor has cut the check (and it is in the bank!) and now my partner Roger is in the UK meeting with a couple of customers as well as a collaborator and 2 potential distributors. I’m busy selecting a new CRM for use and generating a list of those top potential customers to visit within a 200 mile range (mainly GTA).
This week I have a meeting with folks from U of Guelph and Queens U. It will be interesting to focus on their needs.
We hope to hear from the FedDev people this week or next in order to present our case to them for some additional funding loans. Never could find any grants and many of the OCE/HTX options do not seem to “fit” us or us them. So much for governments in Canada and Ontario making dollars available.
Mainly I see their announcements as photo ops for telling great stories that make them appear to be doing something good while their bureaucrats figure out how to say “no” instead of working with small companies that can create jobs and export sales…
Happy Canada Day!!
Well, another week has passed. It seems my urgency is not matched by those with cash.
On the other hand, it appears that we are finally getting some traction. We have 1 investor willing to ante up 25% and are getting close to getting some government agency assistance from 2 different areas (local FedDev funds and specific industry commercialization funds for export sales).
Of course, the long trail of paper must be generated and that is what is the bottleneck right now.
On the other hand, we met with a university and just talked about the product and concept (unwilling to show them the rough prototype in a gray box). They get it! They agreed with the concept and strategy of how to position ourselves in the market. They have agreed to order 2 units as soon as we have units to sell!!
We have started the final design process and should have the first 5 units off the production line in 12-16 weeks. After that we art a production for 20 units.
Things are improving!!
ENJOY Fathers Day!!
These serve 2 distinct and different needs:
1) The pitch deck should be no more than 8-9 slides. It should contain only the key information – what, why, how, who, etc.. Do not try to accommodate all details – just the key ones! If you want to see mine for Norton Scientific Inc, comment with an email address.
At the presentation:
a) Spend 10 minutes talking about the project – watch your time!!
b) Spend 4 minutes talking about the management team – the people who will implement the game plan in the BP.
c) Spend 1 minute on the deal.
2) The actual business plan (BP) is a little longer but quite different. My business plan is just 11 pages of 10-point font. It also has a cover, contents page and a 1-page Executive Summary as well as a list of Appendices which includes the 3 year financials. If you want a copy of the template I used, comment with your email.
The BP that is too long will bore the investor – they don’t have the time to read a book. Leave the creative writing and fluff out since VC’s don’t want/need that. Don’t write to create volume without substance or about your passion – offer solid, quantifiable data and sound accurate information, demographics, research, etc. to back up your idea. Using real numbers in your projections will provide a more compact, readable plan. Use Appendices for the dull data of your market.
An investor will not be able to make a decision based solely on the deck – that is JUST to get the investors appetite going and show them you know what you are talking about – that you are a serious player. The business plan to to give them enough info that they now want to talk and get to know you before they put out the money.
If you are ready for money, you need both pieces otherwise you end up with nothing unless family and friends ante up. It is never to early to have a goal or target that includes sales (income) and potential customer names. Why would you proceed without that basic info to decide that you should proceed?
If you don’t have the sales numbers, income and customer names, no investor will take you seriously… You have not done your homework so why should they expend any effort let alone invest.
As I stated on LinkedIn Q&A recently:
1) Great ideas abound.
2) Great ideas with a logical and sound business plan are harder to find.
3) Great ideas with great business plans that will be executed by knowledgeable and capable people dedicated to the task with passion are very tough to find.
4) Great ideas with great business plans executed by great people with access to the right investor with the right funds and mentoring skills – priceless!
OK, so more calls and sending out pitch decks. I’ve come to the conclusion that most investors are not sophisticated or knowledgeable when dealing with niche high tech businesses. In my view, I’m looking for an ideal “smart” investor.
I’d like to find that right mix of someone whose been involved in instruments (analytical) or has been in the early stage drug discovery chemistry labs or wants to do part-time CFO work to watch the company and their investment grow.
I’ve also had chats with many who keep saying the same as the rest: “consider angel groups” but have no direct connections to introduce me to…
I just posted this on a couple of LI groups…
Not all start ups need the typical multi-million dollar cash inflow typical of many biotech/life science ventures.
1) What is it that people want in order to back a small venture that has great potential in a small but virtually untouched $300M market?
2) Why is it tougher to raise $200K than $2M?
3) How much of your time is it worth to do in-depth due diligence on a $50K investment?
4) Do investors prefer to talk and get questions answered directly or believe whatever is in the business plan?
Just curious as to what drives some investors to make a choice while others do not…