Telling the truth about SME life today

Notes from an American venture capitalist

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, especially in our ever changing and demanding global economy. That being said, there is more innovation happening today than ever before in history.

I started Huckleberry Ventures with a mission to create a process of “building companies”. In my mind, the two most common things that all entrepreneurs need is money and guidance. However, venture capital here in the States all too often just throws money at a company, takes a seat on their board, sets up some milestones, hooks them up for a few people, places some executive talent, and hopes that one out of ten companies in their portfolio works. Not enough emphasis has been directed at the root causes of the problems for the nine failures and the entrepreneurs behind them.

For many years I have believed the venture capital model to be broken. For far too long entrepreneurs have seen money as the cure-all to every problem in business. I truly believe that all companies can be successful but most don’t have the right people, timing, guidance, capital, relationships, etc. to make that happen. Most entrepreneurs are missing one or many of these things. This just sets them up for failure and all the money in the world can only prolong the death of their company.

Huckleberry includes traditional VC services such as financing and legal, as well as other non-traditional aspects such as brand strategy and the requirement that entrepreneurs work with executive coaches. In addition, I have created what I call the “Huckleberry Handbook”, which is a step-by-step systematic process to building companies. The handbook allows entrepreneurs to know where they are at, where they need to go next, and what has to happen if they don’t get to a certain step and how to fix it.

So at Huckleberry we will be seeking out the very best entrepreneurs and their high growth companies to invest in. Obviously technology is on the front edge of the wave and we will only be investing in innovative companies with world-class people.

Take a look at innovators like Richard Branson (my favorite entrepreneur) and Virgin’s branded venture capital model and Y Combinator in San Francisco, California. These folks are doing great things with a higher success ratio than any other player. The VC industry overall needs to evolve into a more efficient model.

The days of the Googles and Facebooks of the world are few and far between but there is nothing wrong with shooting for the moon if you think you have the next great idea. I’m just going to make sure they do it the Huckleberry way.

Matt Crowe is the founder and Chairman of Huckleberry, a US venture capital firm based in Minneapolis, with a unique focus on “building companies”. Crowe sold his first company at age 19, and now at age 26 has been involved in over 30 ventures. He writes regularly at “matt’s blog – business and philosophy”, is the author of the book Winners Persevere, and hosts an internet talk radio show called “The Matt Crowe Show”. Related articles Entrepreneurship: Americans are late bloomers "Tweet" your business plan to Richard Branson Richard Branson launches green venture


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