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Spotlight on Fundraising from the 2010 Cleantech Open National Academy

Posted by at 1:00 PM, 08/24/2010

Fundraising, a subject near and dear to the hearts of many Cleantech Open Alumni companies, was the focus of the second day of the 2010 Cleantech Open National Academy, held from July 23rd through July 25th at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose.

Peter Liu, founder of New Resource Bank, highlighted the key elements of an investor-worthy financial model, specifying burn rate, runaway, cash flow breakeven and capital expenditure (capex) as the critical metrics investors look for. Peter emphasized that investors value realistic projections that identify key risks and offer a clear risk mitigation strategy. To Peter, the bottom line is that investors are investing in your technology, team and potential for success; while poor financials can hurt, expect no style points for complicated financial models.

Keynote speaker Trond Unneland of Chevron Technology Ventures followed with a presentation on corporate venture capital. Trond pointed to the added benefits of corporate venture capital investment, which include access to worldwide customers, technical know-how and subject matter experts.  His advice for approaching a corporate venture capital company is to demonstrate your strategic fit in the core business of the company, which requires that you know their business as well as you know yours.

Finally, Greg McAdoo of Sequoia Capital delivered a crash course in fundraising by explaining sources of funding, the investment process and methods to gain an introduction to investors. To that end, Greg explained that the vast majority of introductions come about from an individual the investor already knew. One strategy Greg recommends is to figure out the ecosystem that lives around the investor and talk to founders of companies the investor has funded to gain introductions and references.

Want more details about a particular topic? All presentations from the 2010 Academy are available on the web at:


By: Jeff Muir, Research Analyst, Cleantech Open Alumni Program

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