Adapted from the Journal of the MIT Enterprise Forum – Chicago
Daniel DiLorenzo came up with a concise list of what’s needed to succeed in fund raising. He filled in all the blanks before approaching venture capital. He was highly successful at gaining great gobs money.
“I was a super-optimist,” says DiLorenzo. I probably didn’t appreciate how hard it was to get my company funded. I now see it from the other side. A fund may see 2,000 business plans a year and invest in only four. When a VC gets a flood of 2,000 a year, it’s natural to quickly look for a reason to move on the next one. So you line everything up first. VCs are busy – they have a limited attention span. Once you get in, you gotta do a great job.”
Daniel DiLorenzo, MD, PhD, MBA, is the founder of NeuroVista and Barinetics. NeuroVista is a cutting-edge medical device company in Seattle that’s out to put a lid on Epilepsy. His comments are for an audience of entrepreneurs, investors, and PhDs assembled at the MIT Enterprise Forum, Chicago.
Checkboxes for Funding
DeLorenzo went at funding intentionally, with a rational process that included a detailed checklist:
- IP: The IP was possible. It was a great idea. We filed early. We made real good claims. Checkbox filled.
- Scientific Expertise: At the time, I was an intern. I had no credibility. I got a mentor who is one of the best in the world in that field. He was interested. Boom. Checkbox filled.
- Engineering expertise: I found a guy who was really bright and designed a similar device for another company. Checkbox filled.
- The Science: We had the vision but didn’t have people who had actually implanted a device, so we found them. Checkbox filled.
- The Market: The Market was big. Checkbox filled.
- Senior Management: We didn’t really have people who executed and ran a company yet, and that was one thing the VCs and I worked to round out.
- The Pitch: We brought in the team to pitch—not some lone goofball with a laptop. When there’s something with many dimensions of expertise, it’s important to bring the team along. Whenever there’s a question – Boom, you answer it.
Has your company checked all of the boxes?
MITEF Chicago – http://www.mitefchicago.org/
NeuroVista – http://www.neurovista.com/
Photo Credits – Parker Brothers, MITEF Chicago
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