Investment funding is still available during the “Great Recession,” but new rules apply, according to Utah tech CEOs. Three CEOs who recently closed new funding shared their perspectives with leading Utah executives this recently at the Utah Technology Council (UTC) summer breakfast at Utah Valley University with new university president Matthew Holland as host.
UTC’s presenters included
- Steve Shillingford , CEO of South Jordan based Solera Networks (closed $7.5M in April 2009).
- Rich Linder , CEO of Salt Lake based Coherex Medical (raised 9.5M to date of a targeted $20M B round).
- Hal Widlansky , CEO of Salt Lake based Mangia Technologies ($1M in angel/early stage VC funding for Q2 2009).
Steve Shillingford, CEO of Solera Networks (developer of networks forensics solutions), notes that his executive team presented to many venture capital firms in the past six months, which produced a number of solid offers. Solera closed its $7.05M funding led by Allegis Capital , in part, because the firm “really ‘understands’ Utah,” he said.
“In a multiple offer situation of course money matters, but selecting the right partners is paramount,” he said. “The Allegis team has had success investing in Utah firms, and they understand the economics of doing business here. They have a tremendous network on the back end and share the same goal of making our company a Utah success.”
Rich Linder, CEO of Coherex Medical (developer of the Coherex FlatStent™ PFO Closure System), notes that “smart money” is currently investing in technology enterprises. He quotes a prominent VC as recently stating “I’ve never lost money by investing in technology during a downturn.” Linder advises companies to start the funding process a full 12 months in advance:
“If you have just six months of cash left, you’re last minute,” he said. “In the current market it could take a full six months to not just find a deal but for the deal you’ve selected to close.”
Hal Widlansky, CEO of Mangia Technologies (a service that revolutionizes the fan experience by allowing fans to text their concession order and have it delivered to their seat), advised executives to expect VCs to distrust your forecast numbers – and he says that no matter how well thought through your forecast, your numbers will still be imprecise. “Our investors looked at our numbers and discounted them 70 percent—and added 3 years to how long it would take to address our market.”
Widlansky also notes that “employees will come and go—founders will come and go—but your investors are forever.” He recommends executives choose investors they can have real dialogue with, as disagreements will inevitably occur.
In summary, all three executives noted that money is available and deals are still flowing for companies with the ability to meet the current market’s new terms.
About Utah Technology Council
Utah’s premier professional association, the Utah Technology Council has become the essential business resource for life science and high-tech companies seeking to achieve greater success. At its core, UTC exists to foster the Growth of the state’s more than 5,000 technology companies, ensure Utah develops the highest Quality Workforce in the nation and attract an ever-increasing array of Funding. Members join UTC to share insights with industry peers, counsel with government and academic leaders and receive help from professional service providers and funding resources. To become a member of this “must-join” organization, visit www.utahtechcouncil.org or call 801-568-3500 today.