This post is about how I evaluate early stage venture businesses. Anyone that is interested in getting my help and/or investment must follow a specific format when presenting to me (of course I make exceptions). Not only is it helpful to me in terms of understanding the business proposed, but I have found that it becomes very helpful to those seeking my advice. I make them break down their business into four parts – Opportunity, Strategy, Execution, and Reward. They have to convince me about the merit of each section before proceeding to the next. For instance, if I do not believe in the opportunity, I am not really interested in the strategy. Many entrepreneurs actually have trouble distinguishing between these sections.
Many potential investors in early-stage companies will take a different approach, clearly my approach is not the only one or even the best one. It has served me well and I have the track record to prove it.