MIT Enterprise Forum events

I attended two recent events sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF). The satellite branch in the Washington DC area held a Talk With Angels event and an event called StartupLab. I presented my company at the angel event and was a spectator at the latter. First, let me say the MITEF is a tremendous resource and appears to have 2-3 programs for the entrepreneurial community every month. That’s really unheard of.

At the Talk With Angels event, the purpose was for each company to ask a pre-screened question of the panel of angels followed by a three minute overview of your company and business. I have to say I received more insight in listening to the answers of other presenters’ questions that my own. One little nugget of wisdom I’d like to pass on for other entrepreneurs is a comment one of the angels made several times when discussing funding avenues with several of the presenting companies. He mentioned that you need to know the “truth” of your business plan and then allow that to dictate how you pursue your early stage funding. This sounds like common sense, but its really something that is overlooked when you consider it. Do you really believe the numbers, the business model, the size of the addressable market? If so, if that’s the truth as you can best discern it, then you’ll do whatever is necessary to achieve it. For example, it’s much easier to raise the friends and family money or to take out a second mortgage on your home if you’ve truly distilled your business plan to as close the truth as possible. At this point you believe it – and so will everyone else.

I think I took away from this the added incentive to really examine in detail all the assumptions we’ve made in building our model. It never hurts to review and adjust such things. So, the lesson learned here – when you’re tired of attending these networking events, do yourself a favor and drag yourself there even if you don’t feel like it. I always find some little bit of information or one person I talked to that will pay dividends down the road.

Tom currently works in developer relations for IBM Watson. A serial entrepreneur, he's been the founder of numerous startups including Investify and StatsMix, a Techstars alumni company. Tom lives outside Boulder, Colorado and in his free time he's an avid rock climber, skier, and trail runner.

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