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Published 16 August 2012 05:03, Updated 20 August 2012 07:19
How did you get into venture and angel investment?
The only way I survived almost three decades in manufacturing was by driving innovation and continuous renewal. This led naturally to start-ups and venture capital.
What was your best investment?
My most rewarding involvement was with SDO – a technology company spun out of Sydney University. I started off as a mentor. I become a very small minority investor and worked with four PhD [holders] from pre-incorporation all the way to an exit to a global company. It has been a financial success but for me, as a participant in the start-up industry, success is not just measured in financial terms. The journey with SDO validated many elements of Australia’s innovation system including Sydney University, NSW Enterprise Workshop, a CRC [co-operative research centre], Australian Technology Park and Commercial Ready.
What was your worst investment? What did you learn?
I have had my fair share of failures as a passive investor. I have learnt that it is helpful to have some level of influence, if not control.
What makes a great pitch?
Entrepreneurs think investors invest in a company, when in reality they invest in a plan. Apart from having passion and energy, an entrepreneur needs have a clear plan for where funds will be invested and what will be achieved with these funds including milestones and timing.
What are some common mistakes entrepreneurs make when pitching?
Too often I hear entrepreneurs talk generically about the “potential market” or a “wonderful opportunity”. Show me a customer!
Why or when shouldn’t a business raise equity capital?
So often I have seen entrepreneurs seek to raise equity capital, when in reality ... they need to fix business issues.
How do I get you to invest in my venture?
People pitch to me and then I direct them to the most appropriate investors, which could be part of my personal network or Sydney Angels or a venture capital or private equity fund. For ANU Connect Ventures and Nanyang Innovation Fund, both invest in technology and innovation. ANU Connect Ventures is primarily looking for investments in and around Canberra.