Self Starter – Bart Knaggs, Founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment
Aug 17 2008

I co-write articles for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky.  You can also see more of our write-ups on the article page of this blog.

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Our most recent article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Bart Knaggs (gif).  Bart is the founder of Capital Sports and Entertainment which brings us the annual, highly popular Austin City Limits Festival.  Here is an interesting quote from his interview:

There are ways you want to manage opportunities, but mitigating risk, I think takes you down the wrong path.”  Instead of thinking that you might lose so you’d better prepare for the crash, Knaggs says you must believe you’re going to take off, so you’ll only prepare to fly.  “You have to commit 100 percent to powering the engines and getting up to speed.  You have to rally your people, you just have to know you’re going to fly.”

Bart has two kids.  After getting his undergraduate degree, he became a competitive cyclist – “a form of self-employment in which the sacrifice is monumental and the payoff only accrues to an elite few.”

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more article in the Self-Starter series will be coming out soon, so sign up for free email updates and you won’t miss it!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, father, success, success story, working father | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Venture Capital Investment Competition at USC in Los Angeles
Mar 8 2008

For the past few years I have served as an Advisor to The University of Texas at Austin MBA team that competes in the Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC).  

It all started when I was an adjunct lecturer of entrepreneurship at UT Austin and since then I’ve continued to advise as they need me and my schedule permits.  This competition did not exist when I got my MBA, and even if I had the opportunity to participate I was too busy trying to start my first venture.  What a plus it would have been for any entrepreneur to have seen a term sheet presented by experienced investors in an academic environment rather than in real life when you feel like you have to learn another language just to understand parts of the investment terms!

This year the regional competition was held at USC in LA on March 7, 2008.  The UT team this year was comprised of:

Ben Jones – MBA 2008
Kyle Reese – MBA 2008
Rajiv Bala – MBA 2009
Ryan Sanders – MBA 2009
Scott Chiou – MBA 2009

I connect them with local venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to help them prepare but we had a late start with only about 5 weeks to get ready and midterms in between this year.  Other teams have semester long classes to prepare for this competition!

At the competition, 6 teams were given business plans for 3 real companies including NiLA, makers of environmentally friendly lighting, on Wednesday, March 5 at 5:00 pm.  They use the Internet and other relevant sources to research the companies and come up with questions for the entrepreneurs.  On Friday, they heard the entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts in front of 11 real live venture capitalists, including Aditya Mathur of Revolution Ventures, Nathan Joyner of Pacific Ridge Capital, Neal Hansch of Rustic Canyon Ventures, representatives from Tech Coast Angel Group and many more. 

They then go into little rooms and subject the entrepreneurs to answering several of the same questions over and over again from the 6 different teams.  Why would any entrepreneur do this you might wonder? Because the VCs are in the room while they are being asked the questions so they are getting exposure that they might not have had otherwise to them.

After the questioning sessions are over, the teams again regroup and come up with a PowerPoint presentation which outlines which company they would chose to invest in and why.   For the company they choose to invest in, they create a term sheet.  They present their choice in 3 minutes in front of the VCs.  The VCs then grill them for about 15 minutes on their company choice and investment terms.

At the end of the day, the judges decide who wins and who takes 2nd place.  The 1st and 2nd place winners get money and the opportunity to compete in the national competition at University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School in April.  I have personally seen one student get a job on a team I advised in venture capital because of participating in this competition.

As an advisor I get to be a fly on the wall and watch the VCs deliberate and observe the decision making process.  Plus I build my network in areas outside of Austin.  Personally, I believe this experience has helped me gain better perspective on what venture capitalists are looking for which is why I’m currently seeking money from angel investors or smaller boutique/seed stage venture firms. 

So I’m sure the suspense is killing you as to whether or not our team placed and unfortunately they did not. They picked the company with the biggest market potential but with the highest risk and the VC judges picked NiLa, which has a great opportunity but less risk and less upside.  Goes to show you that most VCs are not early stage investors!

There are so many variables that go into winning from judges backgrounds, to student’s experience, to understanding of the market of the presenting companies, etc. that you can’t always prepare for everything.  But what an experience! 

Flying back to Austin today for SXSW Interactive and will post about my experience as a newbie SXSW attendee.  I’m looking forward to meeting many of the people I’ve met through blogging and twitter!

Author: | Filed under: competition, entrepreneurship, fundraising, venture capital | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Success To Me – Jim Nolen
Feb 13 2008

As some of you know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Jim Nolen.  Jim  is a UT Distinguised Senior Lecturer of Finance and President of CFO Services.  He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

Our goal with this endeavor was to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.  One of the key things he said that resonated with me was:

“Thomas Edison said ‘I’ve never had a failure — I’ve found 10,000 things that didn’t work.’  It’s that mental attitude that really translates into success in the end — never thinking about failure, but saying instead, ‘I’m going to be successful.  I may take a lot of detours, but I don’t have a problem with that.’” 

It’s all in how we frame it, isn’t it?  Life is one big university where we continue to learn and grow!

The editor has since asked us to focus on entrepreneurs for future articles and of course I am thrilled since I love meeting and talking with entrepreneurs!  So after the next one, the series will be called Self Starter and we will be interviewing exclusively entrepreneurs from The University of Texas at Austin.  Hook ‘em Horns!

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Success To Me – Leilah Powell
Nov 22 2007

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to everyone!

As some of you know, I co-write articles on the topic of success for university alumni magazines with my fabulous writing partner Pam Losefsky. Our latest article for The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni magazine, The Alcalde, is on Leilah Powell, Government Relations Manager for Bexar County, Texas and former Assistant to the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. 

Our goal with this endeavor is to get people thinking about what success means to them by reading stories on how others define success.  Please click here to see more success profiles.

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