Venture Capital, in the context of this course we explore venture capital as a social science. Meaning, that it consists of thought leaders, supporters, visionaries- far more than just money. Your assignment is to select a venture capital firm that invests in a technology area you are interested in. Within that venture firm, identify 1 portfolio company.
TechCruch or CrunchBase is a good place to start, but there are plenty of blogs, tech sites, etc.
1. Start with technology area you are interested in (digital media, IT, Biotech) that attracts venture funding.
2. Seek out a VC firm. Make it relevant to your area of interest. Write an insightful summary of the firm, it’s principals (venture partners) and why you choose to follow it.
3. Within that VC firm, find one company invested in by the VC firm, follow that company, review their web site, articles, and partners. Write an insightful summary for each company, the technology, the market and why you think the VC firm invested in that company/ technology.
4. The company must have raised multiple rounds of capital (at least 2 rounds and at least 2 other co-investors) and not raised more than $40 Million in total to date. Reference crunchbase.com in your analysis and document the rounds/ types of funding the company has received to date.
5. Identify what stage the company is: seed, development, early, growth, etc.
6. What has the company accomplished to date relative to each stage of funding?
7. Find an analog company. Meaning a similar company that has made it completely through the start-up company cycle through an exit. What analogies can you draw for the company and VC firm you have chosen?
8. What do you believe to be the exit strategy for the company you selected and how much more funding and time will it take to get to that point?
9. At this point, you have looked at a group of people that see the future differently,
a. First, craft a hypothesis of what future they collectively see. Be sure to include what the market is, the technology innovation, and what is unique or special about the people pursuing this vision.
b. Second, find a data point that supports your hypothesis.
c. Third, find a data point that refutes your hypothesis.
d. Fourth, conclude. The point of this activity is not to be “right”. It is to challenge yourself and develop critical thinking. If you had a point of view you selected as a thesis, completed your discussion and in the end realized something different that is ok too. In your conclusion, reflect on what you thought, what you discovered and what it means for emerging industries or technologies (for example).
10. Based on this entire analysis, write an insightful conclusion about where you see the future.