Deep Dive Seminar for Entrepreneurs!

Have a look at our great series of 2-week seminars with Russian entrepreneurs. For our awesome speakers: Steve Blank, Jim Smith (Partner, MDV), Mark Iwanowski (Partner, Trident Capital), Brian Jacobs (Founding Partner, Emergence Capital), Vivek Mehra (Partner, August Capital) - have a look at

Deep Dive Day One:
Steve Blank - Why Accountants Don't Run Startups
customer discovery comments:
- Maverick - for disruptive innovation it is required to have mavericks inside the corp
- IBM PC disruptive innovation (IBM PC division with 12 engineers)
- Microsoft+IBM story :) CPM guy's wife declined to sigh NDA -> MS got Seattle Silicon QDOS for $25k+$25k
- customer discovery done by founders !! - psychological aspect. in a large company full support of CEO is required to Maverick
- 9 components canvas, 9 boxes, 9 building blocks
- product complements: "i am not making this, but this is essential to my business"
- stickers idea for working with the blocks
- pivoting via design rather then crisis ;)

entrepreneur is capable to frame the market type he wants to play:
- resegmenting - taking a piece of the market
- playing better/faster/cheaper game - existing market
- playing never-done-before game - new market
- TIVO replaced VCR (but never said "we are digital VCR")
- 1984 blackberry succeeded pager -> called "interactive pager"
- you decide if you want to define TLA - three letter acronym ;)

constantly learn:
- "i failed because"
- listen, look for patterns

- technology innovation would be the easiest way
- cultural changes, changes in gov

4 steps helps you reduce mostly customer & market risks:
- competitive risk is another discussion to have
- you are to operate like it matters a lot!

For Steve's Presentation go to:

Next, we met with Jim Smith, Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures. Some points he made for $500k seed investments case study:
- team is the most important thing that matters (not a perfect idea). The founders have to be aggressive, crazy and at the same time reasonable, and think big. :)
- always think about the customer (always ask what it takes for a customer to write a check to you as a company)
-monetazation: always experiment but don't do it at the cost of building the product or the customers

important things to consider for consumer:
- try really quickly, don't hold on with the launch
- simple concepts! needs - free, discount, socializing, ..

team patterns:
- infrastructure companies started by technology entrepreneurs
- consumer companies started by obsessive entrepreneurs

in between - SaaS, SMB
- simplicity
- low risk of exiting product
- quick TCO/revenue calculations
- quick sales results
- measurability!
- TCO - harder to sell

summary: three different usecases:
- infrastructure, consumer, in between :)
- all three are driven by technology and team
- enterprise - apply more science, position thru customer meetings
- consumer - just experiment, try&fail

evaluating entrepreneurs when investing early stage:
- WHO this person really is? Knows what he knows; knows what he doesn't know.
- what are the theses around him? capable to grasp a question? capable to handle?
- what are he milestones where value created? what the capital efficiency is?
- recognition of where you need to build the team is very important
- preparing your investment preso - what would be the key motivator for investor?

when replace CEO:
- ask CEO before invest or accept investment, where do you see yourself? what should be changed?
- when mgmt team has concerns
- ask what kind of business would you run?

Jim spent 7 years with Si Graphics. You need to be in the game:
- try, learn
- have relevant people around you
- be lucky :)


What They Say About Us

"The wonderful thing about entrepreneurs is that their passion for starting new companies transcends languages and geographic boundaries."

Ron Conway, Founder and Managing Partner of the Angel Investors LP funds, early stage investor in Google and PayPal

"Networking is very important for start-ups. The challenge for them is often not money: it is mentoring and finding people who can give good advice from experience."

Esther Dyson, Founder, EDventure Holdings

"This conference is clearly a labor of love for a group of dedicated professionals who care deeply about the Eastern European entrepreneurs. From the value-packed educational panels, to the star-studded key note speakers' line up, to an amazing quantity of venture capitalists – this is a not to be missed event for any high tech entrepreneur,"

Richard Guha, President of the Marketing Executives Network and Managing Partner at MaxBrandEquity

"As Stanford MBA students, we were exposed to a lot of VC firms both from the Valley and abroad. It is at Stanford that we met Anna Dvornikova, an absolutely amazing business leader and (by our big luck) our friend, who was the center of the Russian Silicon Valley professional community, and was doing a huge work to connect Russia and the Valley. Anna helped us a lot with kick-starting Wikimart, put us to our first-ever conference, introduced us to most of Russian VCs. And all that happened in a very short time span! It was the beginning of a six-month journey that despite the particularly tough times resulted in an extraordinarily group of investors backing our start-up."

Maxim Faldin and Kamil Kurmakayev,
co-CEOs, Wikimart