Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Than A Spreadsheet, An Ecosystem

JumpStart: IdeaExchange Blog » Blog Archive » More Than A Spreadsheet, An Ecosystem

In late 2004, Lynn-Ann and I sat with our computers one night at a cafe at Cedar-Lee and put together a five year projection of how much additional capital the companies JumpStart would invest in might be able to raise. The first year showed $3 million. The second showed $6 million. We had benchmarked against Innovation Works in Pittsburgh, a phenomenally successful venture development organization; we would try to use their success ratios for our projections; no sandbagging. The third year showed $15 million. Year four showed $20 million. And year five showed $30 million. These numbers (totaling $74 million*) seemed huge at the time, especially since we projected that 25-50% of the companies we invested in would likely fail; it’s inherent to Imagining, Incubating and, to a lesser extent, Demonstrating stage investing. As we sat at our computers that night, JumpStart had only invested ~$300 thousand in two companies, Stanton Advanced Ceramics and PreEmptive Solutions.

Suffice it to say, $100 million seemed light years away.

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