Blog: Entrepreneurship is Everywhere

Recently, I have been able to participate in two investment programs in Waco, Texas, related to Baylor University. I was impressed with the quality of most of the presentations.

One program was with the Baylor Angel Network (BAN) and the other was with the Baylor New Venture Competition. There are various stages in the BNVC program such as: I reviewed applications and applicants, business plans as the number was being cut down and appearing on a panel, I got to review 3 of the 10 finalists. This is an international competition and last year I got to review a company in Germany.

The Baylor Angel Network actually opens what they are looking for on a board basis as several were from outside of Texas. One thing that impressed me, quite a bit, at Baylor Angel Network, was using students from Baylor University to evaluate the applicants, and provide due diligence on companies in helping narrow the list down to four for each daily presentations. I got to work with a couple of the students, doing a due diligence. I was totally impressed with them and their thoroughness and the questions they put together for us to ask the entrepreneur companies.

The candidates in the Baylor Angel Network programs were beyond Angel’s seed money. In fact, three had a very good revenue stream started and had raised over million dollars. Baylor angel network does this several times a year and I believe the selection committee, including the students did a good job with finalists.

Frankly I have become more interested in medical products, particularly as I age, and also looking at the potential for a transaction in 3 to 5 years. Two of the medical companies in the BNVC were working on solving very serious problems, that I’ve been close to. I believe they have a good chance of succeeding. One of the three finalists in the BNVC was from the University of Pennsylvania and one from Maryland University.

The one thing that disappointed me a little bit was there wasn’t consistency and definition in what I would like to see in the 12 to 15 slides. For instance, in some presentations, I got to review, it was hard to find in some of the presentations a clear definition of how much money was requested and what would happen with the use of the money. I still would like to see the information that included with what I call the money slides: financial projections, funds requested, how they will be used, what would be the valuation of the company and an exit plan.

There is another interesting program starting with city of Waco. The plan is to help entrepreneurs and small businesses who are looking for help. The program is just getting started and I have the pleasure of participating as a mentor.

I have met several successful entrepreneurs in the area. No doubt, I miss a lot of the activities and energy in Orange County. In particular the activities at UCI through their Applied Innovation organization. They had their own incubator and numerous facilities and resources for would be entrepreneurs. But population wise, Orange County is at least 20 times the size of Waco, Texas.

Austin, Texas is really a growing activity in entrepreneur investments. I have a couple friends in Austin, but I’ve been busy enough in Waco, so I haven’t made a trip to Austin yet.