Friday, March 13, 2009

MITX Start-Up Clinic Off to a Good Start

The MITX Start-Up Clinic kicked off Thursday with a session titled Business Models and Cost Efficiencies. It was hosted by Doug Levin, past CEO of Black Duck Software, and Stanley Doleberg previously at Forrester, who both recently co-founded Precipice Consulting.

The startup founders in attendence ran the gamut both in age brackets and product offerings. There were MIT hackers developing their ideas, to seasoned executives embarking on a new digital adventure. The products ranged from online ticket sales to a digital scale with attendant web app for managing weight and training programs.

The presenters commented that the VC's were looking for capital efficient companies and are speaking about building initial product concepts for $50K. This would be somewhat of a change towards web company funding, which seems like a promising sign.

Another interesting topic of discussion was, how the local VC's have discouraged the angel community in the past by washing them out of investments, thereby creating a vacuum of  active angels in the Boston area.

It seems the lack of  significant active angels in the Boston area is probably the main reason we are playing catch up in the Web Start-up market currently. This makes us respect our active Web angels even more.

As with any first cut at a project there was room for improvements. The comments from the audience made it clear that some of the material covered was a mis-match for the attendees. In particular, a section on cost cutting given to mostly bootstrapped/self funded companies did not resonate.

Another direction recommended by the audience was more practical information such as use cases and real world examples.  If they can get speakers from  local consumer start-ups to come and share their past experience in dealing with the variety of issues Consumer startups face, I believe the attendees would receive that very enthusiastically.

It was clear from the feedback that this group of entrepreneurs was hungry for real world examples and practical, actionable processes and not as interested in theory and high level overviews.

Doug and Stanley have contributed a much needed, more practical meetup to compliment the larger more schmoozefest, demo oriented group meetings. We look forward to attending future clinics as the series unfolds.

Follow the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange MITX site for future Start-Up Clinic events.
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