Thursday, July 03, 2008

A New Direction (for Startup Florida)

It has been six years since we started Startup Florida. We have accomplished a great deal, and have learned much more than we ever thought possible about Venture Capital, starting ventures and ofcourse the entrepreneurial community in Florida.

I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish (despite the failures). We broke new ground in the angel investment community, and we were able to put together a nice portfolio of companies for our investors. Overall, we executed the model we set out to explore.

Now, with any business - we will adjust how we operate based on our past experience. We re-evaluated the market, looked at our successes and failures and hope to refine our model.

As of today, we are launching a "new" Startup Florida. If I was to describe the change in one word it would be "simplification". Our goal is to simplify our model, and ultimately try to recapture the "raw" entrepreneurial spirit of launching new ventures.

The first step we took was to analyze each venture we started or invested in, and look for obvious mistakes we made. The second step was to list what we did right in those ventures that have done very well, in hopes we can duplicate the recipe. And the final step, is to really dig into the numbers and see which deals will ultimately reward us with dividends.

Here are some conclusions we made:

1. The startups that did the best were ones we came up with the idea. Ironically, as a "venture firm" we ultimately read the market, and formulated better business ideas than most entrepreneurs who came in off the street.

2. The startups that did the best raised the LEAST amount of money. This is probably the most disappointing statistics. I am not sure if it is because the "good ideas" took off quicker, thus required less money - or perhaps it is more fundamental than that - and the companies that had less money focused on building a business, and not becoming a "road show" wasting time and energy on raising capital instead of building a business.

3. The startups that did the best kept costs modest and didn't hire anyone (until they were profitable). Another crazy stat - but very relevant. Again perhaps the product they built didn't require a lot of resources, but it is a very key point of reflection.

Overall, you can see where our conclusion become obvious on where we needed to take our business.

1. We needed to focus on what we know. (Internet technologies)
2. We needed to focus on smaller investments. (Seed Round)
3. We needed to be part of the "idea" phase. (Co-Founder)
4. We needed to be involved.

So now we are doing just that - simplifying our model, and looking to duplicate the success we have had following the rules above.

Please check out our new Website -

It goes into more details of our new model

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