Early Exits – way to go!

“Today, the optimum financial strategy for most technology
entrepreneurs is to raise money from angels and plan an early
exit to a large company in just a few years for under $30 million.”
That’s the essence of the message from Basil Peters’ book “Early Exits” which I have discovered for myself recently. Coming from the Vancouver-based well experienced entrepreneur, operator, CEO and investor, this is one of the best reads for  high-tech entrepreneurs and early-stage CEOs that I have come across in the last decade.
This book, available in hardcover or as an eBook here: http://www.early-exits.com/, is brief, no BS, to the point – almost like an instruction manual for high-tech start-up operators, providing blueprints on how to design your venture for today’s economic environment.
The book is entirely focused on the end game: the exit. It provides a succinct background of the current economic climate for early-stage companies as well as the evolving business models for both traditional venture capital and individual angel investors, with an honest disclosure and discussion of their conflicting interests.
Having lived and managed through several M&A transactions myself, I have found interesting examples, debunked myths, dirty M&A industry secrets exposed as well as several useful case studies of real life exits which are good lessons for investors and entrepreneurs interested in selling companies for more money, sooner and with a greater chance of success.
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CIX – you need to be there!

Canadian Innovation Exchange (www.canadianinnovationexchange.com) taking place this year on December 1st, 2011 at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, is a cross-breed between a traditional VC Fair, a conference and a giant networking event. You can expect a mixed crowd of hungry company founders and entrepreneurs, jaded investors who have heard it all, benevolent government folks, some media and a variety of hanger-on service providers.
 
The purpose of the event and the reason you may want to be there is well captured in the organizers pronouncement:
 
“Every early-stage company needs exposure and not just in the customer space. Young companies need to establish a profile and promote themselves in the investment community and support industries as well. Even if you are not currently in an aggressive fundraising it is still a useful move to get your company on the radar screen. You are essentially laying down a foundation on which you can build in the future.”
 
At the heart of the event is, the so-called ‘CIX Top 20 competition’, which is essentially a public pitch contest by a number of pre-selected companies. The deadline for the CIX Top 20 applications is October 14 this year, so, you may want to go for it now before you miss it.
 
I participated in the first CIX event in 2008 and have managed to win CIX Top 20 for Kaben Wireless Silicon Inc (www.kabenwireless.com). You get a commemorative plaque plus some media exposure as well as the associated bragging rights.
 
The biggest value for your $495 registration is mostly the exposure and the contacts you establish as a result of your heavy networking. It is well worth the money.
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