Venture Design and Assessment Resources

Below are  a few interesting resources I was able to find regarding Venture Design and Venture Assessment

New Start-up business consulting website

 The Impact of New Venture Design on Entrepreneurial Exit Abstract: In this research we examine how the selection and assembly of initial strategic resources (financial, human, and technological) impact the entrepreneurial exit strategy. Our results suggest that an IPO exit strategy is positively related to all three types of strategic resources, while a strategic sale exit strategy is positively related to financial resources or total initial investment, and a sale to an individual exit strategy is positively associated with percentage of ownership, a financial resource. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Leading With Vision: The Design of New Ventures ‘Design is now readily acknowledged as essential to the enterprise. Andrew Hargadon argues, however, that designers must go beyond the making of individual products and brands to cut across the traditional boundaries within firms to create innovative business ventures. Advocating a new profile of design leadership, Hargadon explains how design principles and practices are uniquely suited to this exciting, multidimensional task.

 Heptalysis is a methodology, software solution and set of tools for planning and analyzing startups companies and business ventures

Venture Company Assessment Tool

September 24, 2009   2 Comments

Bplans Pitch Site

A VERY new (pitches are not quite public yet) addition to this section of the site allows users to post video pitches to the community to be evaluated (looks like 522 has some competition).  With a host of other free information on pitches and business plans, this site would be well worth a browse in preparing to develop your own pitch.  Welcome video by Tim Berry gives some solid thoughts on developing a pitch. pitch site

YouTube Preview Image

September 21, 2009   2 Comments


The Business Link is a joint web site- hosted by Govt. of Alberta and the Govt. of Canada.

This web site has many different sections from marketing- financing and includes a section  on e-business



September 21, 2009   No Comments

UBC IT – Michel as EVA

As UBC IT Services is structured and operate very differently from a business venture I chose to look at the pitch from a budgeting and an internal planning perspective.  Given the unique nature of this pitch I also chose to omit the competitive products and exit strategy aspects.

EO Credibility

Ted Dodds definitely has a vision of what university-level IT should be and how it should operate.  It is clear that he is confident in his abilities as well as his department and has developed the lines of communication to succeed in meeting UBC technological needs.

Management Team

It is clear that Dodds has a clear vision of how his department should be managed as he describes the community-based strategies he has employed.  By assigning an E-learning group to each faculty I think his department is better able to meet the needs of those groups and thus succeed as a team in the long-run.

Business Model

I think that UBC’s IT services are not only a vital part of the University’s ongoing success but the department has expanded its operational model into the commercial realm which can greatly improve the feasibility of the department.  From a business model standpoint this serves as strong indicator of success.

Beyond their integral role, giving voice to all the stakeholders involved with IT services including administration, management, business and, most importantly, the students further improves their chances of meeting their needs, an act which should define their success as a department.

Market Readiness

As the interviewer states first off E-Learning is a huge part of modern education and Dodds is clear that E-Learning is a “mainstream” and mature component of business and education.  As such, it is clear that Dodds sees his department as an integral piece of UBC.

The fact that UBC has managed to sell aspects of their IT developments, such as WebCT, to commercial companies further proves that not only is the education market ready for these innovations but so are commercial businesses.  I think that in many ways his group is already succeeding not only are new services getting to individuals and departments in the university but they have managed to sell off some of their more successful components to bring revenue back to the school.

Technical Innovation

I think Dodd’s community and open-source software strategies are refreshing to hear.  Historically development along these lines have been hard to develop and commercialize but by focusing on these methods as a source of innovation, direction and production he could be tapping into the individuals that need and care most about the services his group is developing.

Overall Investment Status

To be honest it would be hard for me to argue against focusing on UBC’s IT branch as an important part of the university’s plan going forward.  I am sure Dodds, the interviewer and you, my fellow classmates, respect the increased importance of Internet communication technologies we have observed recently in higher education.  I would be hard-pressed to pass on “investing” or rather allocating increased funds to further their services as Dodds has made a strong argument for its importance to both UBC and business.

September 20, 2009   1 Comment

Internet Resources

Here are two internet resources:

Rookies Venture Club. Seasoned screeners and coaches review presentations and provide feedback to allow entrepreneurs to refine their presentations before getting in front of an audience.

“How to pitch a business idea” This article offers 10 tips to maximize your pitching power.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Ingenia and UBC IT Services


I found that that Materi’s pitch was well paced. You could follow it easily, especially with the inclusion of slides. However, Materi did not display much passion when she spoke and in my opinion, this reduced the impact of the pitch.

Materi’s credentials are solid and her speaking at several conferences such as CSTD attest to her knowledge in this area. While she notes that the core team of designers and consultants have Masters or have appointments at Universities, we don’t know much else about the core team. No mention is made of the credentials requirements for the contract hires. While we can hope they hold the same level of credentials, this is not addressed. The size of the core team and the number of contracts needed for this venture is also not clearly addressed and this raises concerns as to whether this has been considered.

The business model does not really address how Ingenia will address the cultural, language and political/social environment of Vietnam. While they have partnered with a local Vietnamese software firm, will they be relying on them to conduct the majority of the business dealings? Materi also makes note of a project with the Ministry of Fisheries in Vietnam as an illustration of Ingenia’s experience in Vietnam, but no mention is made on the scope of the project or success. Testimonials from this project along with others would have been nice. The addition of a few quotes would have added credibility to the pitch. I am not sure if Ingenia have a technical edge; Materi mentions a Japanese Consortium already operating in Vietnam. I did not hear anything in the pitch to make me believe Ingenia offers anything unique or technologically innovative; rather it sounds more like they are resting their success on tapping into a territory which has not had much exposure to e-learning.   

The goal is to establish Ingenia as a major e-learning service provided in Vietnam. This goal is quite board with not much focus on specifics. I would have liked to know what is considered a major service provider (what percentage of the population would constitute as major? How many contracts would this equate to?). There is also no reference to timeline in this pitch. What are the major milestones of the project and what dates are attached to these?

UBC IT Services

Dodds is very confident in his delivery. He is well versed in the mission and vision and speaks to them with ease. Dodds does not speak specifically to the credentials of the management team, however in mentioning that 5 Vice Presidents sit on the executive steering committee this adds further credibility and indicates that there is a level of accountability.

The business model to partner with client groups and to work at a strategic level makes logical sense and emphasizes how IT services and assist them and to work collaboratively. Dodds emphasize on keeping the strategy current and evolving indicates that they are not resistant to change. A competitive advantage is the reputation of UBC and collaboration. By being in tune with their clients and by seeking out best practices through town halls and peers/competitors UBC IT services is ensuring they have their finger on the pulse of the future.  In the closing, Dodds mentions the need for a vision of the future state for 2, 3 and 5 years; as such I would have liked to have heard what the 2, 3 and 5 year future state of UBC IT Services is during this pitch.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Open courseware: yes, Royal Roads: no

This is my evaluation of the Royal Roads pitch. The open courseware initiative at MIT is successful, and the creation of  the open courseware consortium both points towards the concept of open courseware as being successful. The pitch for RRU is asking for money without a cash return – not in itself a problem since I believe investing in education is a smart move, but for the reasons outlined below I feel this pitch is weak.

Criteria Royal Roads University open courseware project
CEO Credibility Presenter was committed, but no indication given as to her position in the project. Style was conversational, did not give me the feeling of confidence in her ability to guide the project through development and success.
Management Team Presumably the faculty at the university, but little information was given and no information was given about who would oversee the IT end of the development.
Business Model The goal of the open courseware project seems to be to increase enrolment and attract faculty by using the free courseware as a marketing tool. No information was given regarding how this has worked in other universities – no statistics about MIT’s enrolment since the inception of their open courseware project. No information given about what kind of marketing will be required to get students to try the courseware – interesting since the presenter talks about how RRU is a niche university that has a history of not sharing its ideas and research with the world.
Competitive Products The presenter avoided talking about the competition that MIT and 200+ other open courseware providers would create. If the concept is not new, and a large successful institution like MIT is in the picture then it would be important to cover how RRU will compete against them for students and faculty.
Market Readiness From the presentation I concluded that what they are asking for is money to develop this project from the beginning. It would take several years to create the technology and then at least a few more to create the courses within it. This is a very long-term investment. If they are planning to use the technology of the open courseware consortium that would take several years off the plan, but reduce the innovation factor.
Technical Innovation This plan has already been put into place at MIT. The only avenue for innovation that RRU has was hinted at when the presenter talked about being in a niche market. This was not elaborated on, so it is difficult to evaluate whether RRU would effectively solve a market problem that has not been addressed by any of the other open courseware universities.
Exit Strategy Presumably, success would be an increased student body, a decorated faculty, and a well subscribed open courseware project. Unfortunately the presenter did not address this, so the EVA is left to speculate. There seems to be no way for an investor to recover their investment, so this must be a “social wealth” style proposal where the investor is being asked to be altruistic.
Overall Investment Status? I like the idea of open courseware, and I think there is some possibility that it would attract paying students and faculty. I am also not opposed to investing in education for the social good it involves and the benefits to the economy of a well educated population. Unfortunately there was not enough detail about how all this would work for RRU in the presentation, which leads me to believe that there has not been enough investigation and planning to support this pitch. I would not invest in this project at this point. If there were to be a more evolved plan and pitch I would consider putting funds into it.

September 20, 2009   4 Comments

HBS Elevator Pitch Builder

Here are a few links to consider:

The following pitch builder seems interesting.  Please let me know what you think of it.

September 19, 2009   2 Comments

Tech Ventures

Surfing around, I discovered this:

Technology Ventures

Which lead me to some samples resources, such as this:


If you explore, you can find videos, pdfs, sand sample syllibi. This may be useful.

September 19, 2009   No Comments

Recombo 2005 – Michel as EVA

EO Credibility

Yes, the speaker definitely displays confidence in Recombo’s ability to reach goals and achieve.  It is clear that Brad McPhee knows his product, the market and potential problems his business may face.

Management Team

The management team of Recombo is not discussed heavily but Brad does mention that he has a small team of experts and is looking to expand.

Business Model

Recombo prides themselves as a company that “plays well with others” both in how they and their systems operate.  This sharing is facilitated by their contract negotiations and their Content Integration Router platform.  McPhee explains that this router facilitates communication and integration of products like learning management systems and performance evaluation systems with the potential of allowing published content to be shared among Recombo’s customers.

Brad McPhee offers multiple examples of how his product can serve existing markets and make the common problem of integrating content from different systems using their infrastructure.  With this in mind it is clear that Recombo has found a need and utilized some creative business and technical strategies to progress their business.

Competitive Products

McPhee seems confident that there is a big market for his company’s services and products.  It is clear that he can offer a level of integration the learning management market rarely sees, allowing communication across platforms and systems.

There are many companies using learning management and content systems in their human resources and training sectors although Recombo gives no direct numbers within this pitch is can be assumed that with a small, focused company Recombo could offer these new services at competitive prices.

Market Readiness

They have been struggling in the past but now have a “lighthouse” customer that will hopefully prove Recombo’s ability to solve business problems.  As it stands, Recombo is providing a service and tools that bridge a common communication gap in training and education systems and, at least initially, this should give them an edge on the market.

Technical Innovation

At the time of this pitch Recombo seems to have an edge on the market.  After making changes to his company’s direction McPhee is confident that he has found a product and a service that is in need and cannot be met by competitive products.

Exit Strategy

McPhee is clear that success lies in a dollar amount for their business.  He is pushing for success through his “Lighthouse customer” which will expand their business by proving their publishing and learning management competencies.

If his company does not meet the goals laid out McPhee is honest with himself and comfortable with going public or selling to a larger corporation like IBM if need be.

Overall Investment Status

I think I would be willing to risk my capital investment to support Recombo.  It is clear that the company has changed greatly and maybe faltered slightly in the past but has quickly learned from its mistakes and adapted to the market both in their product offerings and overall strategies.

September 19, 2009   4 Comments