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Beware of Finders

May 10, 2005 by Akira Hirai


Beware of Finders

Many entrepreneurs work with “finders” who promise to help them attract investors, usually in exchange for a large monthly retainer and a percentage of the capital raised. More often than not, finders are not properly licensed as a securities broker, and are operating in violation of federal (and often state) securities laws. Why should you care? Among other things, your investors can demand a return of their capital (and possibly hold you personally liable) if you use an unlicensed broker to raise capital on your behalf. And there are many [Read More]

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Ten Big Questions

April 22, 2005 by Akira Hirai


Ten Big Questions

Potential investors want answers. In deciding whether or not they want to continue discussions, they generally want you to answer The Ten Big Questions: 1. What’s the problem? Basically, if there isn’t a big problem in the market – a major unfilled need – then there’s no point in trying to sell a solution. So explain how people or companies are experiencing a significant level of pain because existing solutions are deficient. 2. What is your solution, and what makes it special? This one is obvious. Tell them what you [Read More]

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Setting Priorities

April 20, 2005 by Akira Hirai


setting priorities first things first

As an entrepreneur starting or growing a company, you have a million things to do. Every day. How do you decide what to focus on? There are two things to consider here. First is deciding what’s important; second is understanding what you are good at. Many of the important things are fairly obvious: performing a thorough analysis of the market and competition; preparing your product or service to go to market (R&D, testing, product management, etc.); establishing a means of getting it to market (distribution, sales, marketing, beta customer relationships, [Read More]

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Is this the turnaround?

January 7, 2005 by Akira Hirai


turning point

We all know that entrepreneurs have had it tough over the past few years. But starting around mid-2004, my startup consulting company started receiving a flood of inquiries from entrepreneurs who wanted assistance. VC activity in many sectors started picking up at around the same time. Erika Brown at Forbes reported that U.S. venture capital funds raised over $10 billion in the first three quarters of 2004, and were expected to raise as much in the final quarter, adding to the $75 billion already available for investment. And 2005 is [Read More]

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