Recombo 2004 VS Ingenia

I compared the Ingenia pitch with the Recombo 2004 pitch because both were similar in style, with a management figure delivering a pitch to investors. I wrote this in Word, and copied and pasted to this blog. I then realized how long it was – I’ll try to keep it briefer in the future.

CEO Credibility: I based my evaluation on the presenters (they weren’t necessarily the CEO’s). The Ingenia presenter made what felt like a more formal presentation. The Recombo presentation involved more “thinking on the spot”.

Management Team: The Ingenia pitch seemed to highlight the high academic level of the management team, while the Recombo pitch did not focus on the team. Some YouTube videos gave a bit of a mixed message about management teams: strong teams were essential components, but venture capitalists were willing to “fill in the gaps” if necessary. Overall, however, I’d have to say that Ingenia had the edge in this area.

Business Model: Ingenia seemed to have much smaller goals than Recombo, and was targeting much less money for investiment. However, Ingenia presented more relevant and detailed research than Recombo. Recombo maintained that focus is key (2005 video), but the implication is that it has shifted plans quite a bit over time. This could be interpreted as adaptability over time, or as a lack of a focused model in the 2004 video.

Competitive Products: Selling price was not addressed. In addition, not much was mentioned about market share. Both pitches mentioned market size. Recombo showed huge possible markets which could perhaps be tantalizing for investment purposes, but could also be overly inflated. Ingenia was much more conservative about market size, but that could be less appealing to investors.

Market Readiness: Ingenia seems to have made contacts within the targeted market. Recombo already has business clients and contracts, with saleable product.

Technical Innovation: It is tough to determine whether each company has an edge or whether they can keep it. Ingenia is a boutique company but acknowledges stiff competition. Recombo is an early adopter, so could be swallowed up in the adoption rush at a later date.

Exit Strategy: Recombo is not committed to a particular exit strategy (I may have taken this information from the 2005 video). Becoming a large income producing company is the goal, but buyout is a possibility also. Ingenia doesn’t mention future size beyond “major learning services provider in Vietnam” but suggests a possible 20-25% percent return for the investor.

Overall Investment Status: Ingenia seems to be a well-researched company but with a lower return (20-25%) than is possible in other technology sectors (product). It seems to be a smaller, “safer” investment, but with possible correspondingly small returns. Recombo is definitely aiming for the big leagues, with higher possible returns, but with higher risks.

As an EVA representing a more conservative venture capital company (my lack of experience in the business world leads me to be less of a risk-taker!), I would lend money to Ingenia.

September 9, 2008   1 Comment

Assignments #1 & #3

Hi everyone –

In terms of an advance look at your Assignment grades, our good friend DavidP will be marking Assignments #2 and #4 (no there’s not a “new” assignment – #4 is your participation in discussions), and I will be marking #1 and #3.  Please approach either or both of us with questions about any dimension of the course, but you might keep me in mind in some special way as you develop your topics for Assignments #1 and #3.

If you haven’t already done so, you should probably be zeroing in on your topic for Assignment #1 by now.  You don’t need to bounce it off me, but I’d be glad to answer any questions you might have.
Assignment #1 us due by end of day on October 12.  Thanks.


September 9, 2008   1 Comment

Public Forum Reminder

Just a small reminder, when making comments about pitches and the people behind them, to focus on business rather than personal issues.  There’s no question that the credibility of the pitch-maker is a huge business issue, but remember that this blog is a public forum and those individuals (or people they depend upon) might find your commentary within searches, etc.  So say exactly what you feel, but learn to position your commentary in polished professional prose…   Thanks!

September 9, 2008   No Comments

Pitchers and Hitters

I’m really enjoying this process!! And as I listen and observe the various pitches, one notion keeps coming up for me as an EVA.  Apart from the typical issues around market readiness and presenter credibility, etc…, I keep looking for evidence of credibility about the people making and designing these products.

This is software and from my experience in dealing with software development, the programmers, engineers and designers have a very influential role in the direction and outcome of a software venture.  Programming is a very intense and creative craft and the process of software development from idea through to completion is an incredibly complex process fraught with potential interpersonal issues, idea conflicts and misinterpretation.  Its a huge challenge to keep this process on track.   As a result, what you might be pitching  at one end of the business might not resemble what’s actually coming out the other end.   In the recombo interview, I got the feeling that they were still sorting out the influence of the engineers at the marketing end.  And in the Ingenia pitch, I had a red flag at the point where she glossed over the connection they’d made with a Thai software firm.  Who were they?  What was their track record.

So I see some useful questions going unanswered in these pitches.  Who is actually coding the software?  Are these designers and programmers any good?  What else have they done?  Are they greenhorns?  Who is ultimately hitting the keyboard?

September 9, 2008   5 Comments

Intrapreneur or Entrepreneur at heart?

As an Educational Venture Capitalist, I found it interesting how differently entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs pitched their proposals.  Both intrapreneurs (Michelle and Ted) are centralized figures in a very decentralized environment and that perhaps is their biggest challenge; they have to share their vision and gain acceptance of that vision with varied stakeholders.  As intrapreneurs, they have to prescribe a direction, yet be tuned into the changing needs of the users – not an easy task I assume!


I found the entrepreneurial pitches much more black and white – as an Educational Venture Capitalist, I would either give my money or not.  In Elsbach’s article, “How to Pitch a Brilliant Idea” she would have coined both Recombo’s and Ingenia’s spokespersons as “showrunners”.  Both came off as knowledgeable professionals that were passionate about their business. 


I found Ingenia’s pitch to be well thought out and researched.  I gasped when she suggested Vietman, but she seemed to anticipate the audiences reaction and have answers to some of the obvious concerns.  Their core strengh seemed to be their team and their ability to adapt.


I found the differences between the Recombo ’04 and Recombo ’05 pitches to be quite dramatic.  The company in ’04 had dreams, but not necessarily a “focused” vision.  I felt the company’s focus, on focus, was a reason for their continued growth. 


Where would I put my money?  Well, after all my ramblings, I might not be a black-and-white business person after all.  I guess it is no surprise that I put my Business Degree into my pocket and went into the softer side of teaching…

September 9, 2008   2 Comments

OLT – Interesting, but not a pitch?

While I found the Michelle Lamberson interview fascinating (we have very similar jobs, mine is just on a way smaller scale) it didn’t feel at all like a pitch…?

September 9, 2008   5 Comments