The February installation of our Black Box Breakfast was full of flair featuring inspiring personal entrepreneurial stories from VentureSpur mentors Kat Nelson and Rex Kurzius and an insightful breakfast topic from mentor and board member, Mike Whitaker.
Video web conferencing linked the Dallas an Oklahoma City locations as attendees sat and enjoyed breakfast, coffee, and presentations from both locations.
Here are some highlights for those of you that missed this brilliant breakfast event.
“I took the risk and started my own consultancy developing ideas on how to package automated solutions for entrepreneurs and help put processes in play so that they didn’t have to deal with the day to day. They could work on their business instead of in their business. I work with a lot of mid-sized companies that are stuck. Even if they’re funded, a lot of companies get to that one to three year mark where the competition, market, and maybe even the products have changed. How can they get past that? How can they be strategic?”
“After returning to Dallas, I wanted to be able to share my knowledge. I wanted to take the last 15 years of my career and find a way to help foster the fire in the belly – to take the passion that some people have and let them know that Dallas is backing them. We’re going to help them.”
“The hallmark of some of my business successes is to really understand what motivates other people, what gets them excited every day, and why they would want to work for you. Over time, I’ve learned that if you have a great culture that empowers people and lets them be themselves. You give them a framework to work within and you let them leverage their own talents. They can do absolutely astonishing things.”
“If you can get to a point where you understand what really matters and then you put your ego to the side and understand what you really can control, then you focus on nothing but that that, you can have a lot of success. If you build a culture that is designed to help your employees understand this and how they contribute to the overall, grand-scheme. Your company will have more success.”
Our February breakfast topic “Reflecting on $19 Billion,” presented from Oklahoma City by speaker, board member and mentor, Mike Whitaker, featured a discussion on Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and five lessons entrepreneurs can learn from their success:
- Find a big industry to impact: “Find a market that has real potential to be impacted.”
- Find a true blue ocean: “Startups have the best chance at their own blue ocean aside big industries going through significant change. If the gap is too wide between where everyone is today and where you are, it will take longer to flourish.”
- Proving adoption pays: “Claims are hollow until you have users that have adopted [your product]. A lot of times, to get adoption, you have to offer it for free. Then you have to switch on the payment factor to show that you have paying users, because that is really where you prove adoption. If people are paying and pulling [the product] out of your hands, then you’ve got something. If they’re not pulling it out of your hands, you go back to the kitchen and reformulate.”
- Demonstrate a disruptive trend: “Entrepreneurs need to demonstrate that they’ve got cause or are part of a disruptive trend. This indicates to players that have the money that it’s only a matter of time. It’s a huge value to a startup to be able to demonstrate that ‘I’m on to something and you’re not.’ Mobility is the #1 disruptive change in 100 years and we are just starting to get the real impact. Mobility is the common thread to a lot of innovation.”
- Momentum creates big valuation: “Momentum grows confidence and speed creates urgency. People that have the cash would rather own you than compete with you.”
Managing Director, Kraettli Epperson, closed out the breakfast with a quick VentureSpur update on our upcoming 2014 acceleration program and the progress of our 2013 teams: “In the 60 days after our 2013 Pitch Days, our companies have gone out and raised $1.1 million and we still expect that number to grow over the next several months.”
“Clients want to continue to grow businesses. They want to continue to grow wealth. They want to continue to grow assets. But, they don’t want to grow them inside their state. Serial entrepreneurs want to maintain control. We work with local tax attorneys to develop strategies to show clients how to do that and be successful at it. It’s not a gray area. It’s pretty black and white. We have a tremendous opportunity right now. Interest rates are as low as they have ever been.”
“If you are that serial entrepreneur that wants to transfer and grow assets, give David Cary a call and we’ll work with local tax attorneys to develop some strategies for you.”
For details on how Morgan Stanley can help you, contact The Stonehaven Group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management:
To view all upcoming VentureSpur events, visit our events page! We hope to see you at the next breakfast!