By Lopa Rahman ’16
John Glushik, Managing Director at Duke Angel Network and General Partner at Intersouth Partners, kicked off the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship Week with an interactive presentation on venture capital fundraising Monday night. His talk was part of the The I&E Academy which consists of a series of sessions across a broad range of topics within innovation and entrepreneurship. Approximately 25 participants attended Glushik’s presentation.
In his presentation, Glushik provided an overview of venture fund structure and economics as well as current venture capital market data. He had high praise for the dynamic, fast-paced world of venture capital, noting that Intersouth Partners receives more business plans from aspiring entrepreneurs per day than it has time to look at. He advised attendees to pitch their business ideas to individuals in their personal and professional networks who have contacts in the venture capital industry, noting that he always reads the business plans referred into the firm.
“It is important to get a referral because we unfortunately don’t have time to read everyone’s business plan,” he said. Use the Duke network. Duke is one giant referral system.”
Glushik explained that once business plans have the attention of the venture capitalists at Intersouth Partners, the firm evaluates opportunities based on the following criteria: management, market, financials, product, and the economic and regulatory environment. He said a team with entrepreneurship leadership, completeness, and depth is an indispensable ingredient in a successful entrepreneurial venture.
“We’ll back an A team with a B product, given that the team is willing to adapt as needed,” he said. But we’ll turn down a B team with an A product.”
Glushik ended his presentation by giving final words of advice to entrepreneurs in the audience seeking venture capital funding. He said they should know their audience, treat potential investors like partners, be persistent, do diligence on investors, and assume they are always being assessed.
“Even if you’re pitching your business idea in a casual setting, know that you are always being evaluated,” he said.
The next I&E Academy session, “The Startup Sales Playbook,” will take place next Monday October 5 at 5 PM in Gross Hall 270. The facilitator, Brett Goldberg, is the CEO and President of Spex.