Technology Ventures Corporation
Technology Ventures Corporation (TVC) is an startup's best friend. TVC provides startup consulting services, a recruiting service and monthly seminars focused on helping startups improve their businesses and raise capital. All of TVC's services are provided at no cost (and no equity either) to the entrepreneur. I have been a client of TVC for about 6 months now and I have nothing but positive things to say about the organization and Scott Gilbert who is the consultant that I have been working with.
TVC is funded by the federal government and Lockheed Martin. TVC has grown to 3 main offices in New Mexico (Albuquerque), California (Livermore), and Nevada (Las Vegas). During the 9 years between TVC's founding in 1993 and 2002, it figured prominently in raising over $300 million in startup capital, the formation of 55 new high tech companies and over 5600 new jobs. TVC's mission is to help commercialize technologies coming out of federally funded institutions such as national labs and universities. However, TVC's services are open to all because from time to time they find themselves with enough excess capacity to help startups like Cryptine Networks, which creates an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain access to top startup consultants at no cost.
TVC holds monthly seminars that are open to the public around topics germane to startups such as financial management or marketing & market research. In Northern California the seminars are repeated on consecutive days, first in Mountain View and then in Livermore. The seminars provide an excellent introduction to their subject matter and usually packed with hands on practical advise. Furthermore, TVC is often able to recruit blue chip ventures firms including Adam Marchick of Menlo Ventures, Bill Joos of Garage Technology Ventures and Emily Melton of Draper Fisher Jurvetson to present as subject matter experts.
While the seminars are excellent, TVC's real value is as a startup consultant. TVC's preference is to represent technologies coming out of federally funded institutions, they do help other high tech startups when they have extra capacity. However, TVC does require entrepreneurs to pitch to them as if they were an investor. Much like law firms deciding whether or not to defer fees for a startup, TVC's bar is not set as high as a venture firm but it does provide a good litmus test; If TVC won't represent you, you definitely aren't ready to speak with investors.
Once TVC decides to work with a client, they provide 4 main services to the startup. First they help think through business strategy and value proposition. Next they help prepare the tools necessary to raise capital including, the elevator pitch, executive summary and power point presentation. Third, TVC helps create a list of target investors based on sector, stage and current portfolio. Then they use tools like Venture Source and their consultants personal knowledge to further filter firms to ensure that they don't have competitive investments and that they still have capital in their funds left to invest. Lastly, after polishing the value proposition, creating the necessary tools and filtering a target list of investors, TVC introduces the startup to as many of the targeted investors as it can.
Many startup consultants or investment agents have fees including retainers of $10K per month, warrants on 10% of common stock and success fees of 7%. TVC provides as much, if not more, value than any consultant/agent that I have come across. However, they don't charge any fees or take any equity. IMHO it would be pretty foolish for any entrepreneur not to consider attending TVC's seminars and working with their consultants.