Saturday, August 18, 2007

Here is the Committee for the Opportunity Fund???

First, let me say - that all of these guys chosen for the Florida Opportunity Fund are very successful, and I am sure very bright. However (with all due respect) - are they the right people to make decisions about where "Early Stage Venture Capital" should go in Florida?

Here is the committee:

Jeff Lyash - Energy Executive
Jeff is an executive at Progress Energy, and has worked with Nuclear Power Plants his entire career according to his bio. No clear Startup or Entrepreneurial experience.

Alan Becker - Lawyer
Alan is a very successful lawyer - with expertise in International Law. Lawyer his entire life. No clear Startup or Entrepreneurial experience.

Cyrus M. Jollivette - Health Care Executive
Cyrus' entire career is in Public Relations with Government and Universities. No clear Startup or Entrepreneurial Experience.

Tim Edmond - Real Estate
Tim has developed real estate for 27 years. No clear Startup or Entrepreneurial Experience.

Medhi Ghomeshi - Banker
Medhi is a banker. No clear Startup or Entrepreneurial Experience.

So basically, no one that has run a VC firm, no one that has started and grown a successful startup, and no one who has embraced innovation and risk.

One could argue that Energy, Real Estate, Law, Banking and Health Care are "high risk" ventures. But that person would be wrong. Dead wrong.


Anonymous said...


I concur with your assessment regarding the committee and their lack of experience in the vc arena. In reading the act (HB 83, not the Opportunity Fund), I initially was lead to believe this was not designed to be a "fund of funds", but to 'increase availability of seed capital & early stage venture equity capital for emerging companies in state creating new businesses & jobs."
In short, I thought there was to be a more direct route for start ups located in Florida. I wrote my State Rep, who was kind anough to forward my questions and concerns to eFlorida.

I have been told via email that eFlorida "can assure you that Enterprise Florida is not managing this fund capriciously, but conscientiously as the legislature directed".

We will see once the first OPPAGA report comes out.

Keep up the good work.

Damon Allen said...


I agree with you. How can a person guide a process for which they have not themselves experianced?