Companies today need to be nimble and adaptable to the changing environment and market around them. Being nimble is important. The second skill is to think through when you're going to ship your product. If you think about the innovation; is it a 2x improvement, is it a 10x improvement? Think about what the market will be when you ship your product. If you have a four-year development cycle, youwill have a physical product that's going to be a very different world you're entering in than if you enter in today. Being open to learning about interdisciplinary things involves a willingness to ask dumb questions. And, finally, it's important to realize that the longevity of companies is shorter today than ever before. Eventually all companies die. Just give it a billion years; you think long enough it's going to happen, even the Microsoft. And the question is just where on that spectrum you are - how do you think about organizational form, federation of people, and the business structure? Most of all, companies must embrace change, plan for change, and view it as an opportunity.
Draper Fisher Jurvetson: How VCs Work
Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), explains that VC firms are supposed to think first about maximizing investment return for investors--but they also have a perfect opportunity to change the world through entrepreneurs. When DFJ evaluates an opportunity, they look at whether it extends lives, makes a sustainable planet, provides better energy with renewables, and even narrows the rich/poor gap, he says.
Jurveston describes the average investment at Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The three most recent investments were $100,000, $550,000 and $1,000,000. The average for DFJ is $2-3 million in the first round of investment and the high end for is $4-5 million, with a possibility of $6 million for a later stage company, he adds.
Jurvetson describes his position and interest in the nanotechnology industry. In his opinion, it is still too early for the average venture firm to invest in the industry--in part, because they invest in companies that are much farther along on the risk spectrum. However, individual partners or firms that do early-stage investing are interested and the numbers are growing. Draper Fisher Jurvetson is one of them, and likes to be early in any new wave. In addition, the government funding for the sector is going up immensely, $3 billion internationally next year, and most of it is outside the US. The number of companies in nanotechnology are going up dramatically, so there is a lot of activity, he says.