01. Don’t skimp on lawyers. Use the best and make sure all corporate governance is in order. If articles of incorporation and director resolutions are sloppy, you will pay for it later.
02. Team building at the beginning is critical. Even if you can’t afford to pay salaries you can always use equity. Great people can sell mediocre products but mediocre people can’t sell great products.
03. Raise less taher than more money. It seems counter intuitive but staying lean is less dilutive and allows you to control your growth and the often slower than expected path to commercialization is more manageable when your burn rate is under control.
04. Sales, sales, sales. If you spend more time fund raising that building your business towards sales, there is a problem. The best way to be in the drivers seat is to prove customers are actually willing to PAY for your product.
05. Look for scarcity value. If a market is too crowded, its too late. Look for areas with market failures. Look for areas where conventional wisdom has everybody running away the burning building and run toward that burning building. If you execute and correct the market failure you will be one of the only ones. Scarcity value = Name your price.
Mr. Ouaknine was a speaker at The EDGE, a one-day forum connecting worldwide entrepreneurs and high-profile investors which took place on April 11th, 2013 and has been organized in partnership with the International University of Monaco (IUM) and the Monaco Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (MVCA).
The event was designed to promote innovative and socially conscious business models, in line with the strong commitment of HSH Prince Albert II to encourage “the Global responsibility of Entrepreneurs for a sustainable development.”
ABOUT Stephan Ouaknine…
He is founder and Managing Partner of Inerjys. A proven entrepreneur and investor, Stephan has been a visionary leader across multiple technology sectors, from clean technology to telecommunications. His career has spanned three high-tech ventures, creating significant shareholder value with three successful exits. Stephan founded Inerjys with the insight that new deployment approaches and proven technologies could overcome the challenges of the cleantech sector and power a better tomorrow.
Prior to Inerjys, Stephan founded Blueslice Networks, a leading provider of evolved Subscriber Data Management (eSDM) solutions for telecom carriers. Stephan led Blueslice from its foundation in 2001 until its acquisition in 2010 by Tekelec (NASDAQ: TKLC). At the time of its acquisition, Blueslice was the global leader in cross-platform eSDM solutions deployed in tier 1 accounts in over 25 countries. Stephan’s other successes include Emblaze (LSE: BLZ), a next-generation mobile multimedia company which reached a $6 billion valuation during his tenure, and Airslide Systems, a leader in next generation signalling which merged with Cantata Technology and was acquired by Dialogic (NASDAQ: DLGC).
Stephan is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, the TED community, and a recipient of the Annual Honoree Award from the Canadian Technion Society. He is frequently invited to share thoughts on entrepreneurship, investing and the clean energy sector at global events.