November 30, 1999 in ATDC News

RECAP: Meet the VC with Vimal Patel

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At the most recent version of Meet the VC, the entrepreneur community of Atlanta had the pleasure of meeting with Vimal Patel.  Vimal talked a bit about his firm, Silicon Valley based Sierra Ventures, gave some helpful tips to our entrepreneurs, and put in a good word for the Atlanta community. 

The Numbers
Sierra Ventures sees 2,000 – 2,500 deals a year and they sit down with 50-75% of them.  Most of the deals come to the firm through referrals.  Due diligence is completed on about 75 deals and term sheets are given to approximately 20 companies a year.  Twelve a year will close.

The Attitude
During the economic slowdown, VC's are looking to extend the cash runway of their deals, cut costs, and streamline operations.  For new investments, VC's are looking for recession-proof stories and if the case is good, they will keep spending.  The VC's are paid to invest money that has already been committed and they are looking for good opportunities to do it.

Entrepreneurs: Tips

  • A successful management team is made up of a CEO who can hire well and open the right doors and a technology person who is passionate and knowledgeable about the industry
  • Effective product management is a key driver for success.  Be sure to clearly define what the product is, understand the market, how your product fits and how  you are going to sell it.
  • For your pitch, 12-15 slides {Sample presentation file} is plenty!
  • During due diligence, the VC will ask your customers three questions: Why did you buy the product? Why did you chose this particular product/company? How much money are you going to spend on this product in the next year?

The Good Word for Atlanta:
The capital efficiency is great in Atlanta.  The area is less flashy and not caught up in the buzz and that can prove to be very fruitful when cash is short.  Vimal says that he has never seen anything like ATDC in the country!  ATDC is a great resource and the executive talent in the region is also very good. 

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