[Medical] Entrepreneurs Drawn to Starting Incubators?


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David Cummings on Startups

Last week I was reading an article about a successful entrepreneur that had started an incubator to work on multiple startups simultaneously. Incubators, now called studios or labs, were popularized during the dot com boom, and most failed to work, leaving a negative connotation for many people. Now, the cost to start is 10x cheaper and there are millions of people with mobile broadband connections, making for a different dynamic compared to 15 years ago. While it is still expensive to scale, getting started is easy.

Here are a few ideas why entrepreneurs are drawn to incubators:

  • Timing a market is terribly difficult, so having multiple startups running simultaneously increases the chance of finding a fit
  • For many (most?) entrepreneurs, the starting part is more fun than the scaling part
  • Small, dedicated teams without a legacy customer base can innovate fast, making it more fun to see rapid progress
  • When…

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David Cummings on Startups

Back in college I’d routinely jump in my old Jeep Wrangler and make the 10 mile drive down the Durham Freeway to RTP for events and programs at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED). CED bills itself as “the network that helps Triangle entrepreneurs build successful companies” and has 700+ member companies with 4,000 members. In Atlanta, we have a number of strong entrepreneurial non-profits:

Only, we don’t have a central entrepreneur organization that encompasses both tech and non-tech startups. As expected, there are a tremendous number of non-tech entrepreneurs in town. EO has a strong Atlanta chapter with over 100 members, but that’s limited to companies with at least $1 million in revenue. Where do non-tech entrepreneurs go?

Last week I had the chance to learn…

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Ratio of [Start-Up] Deals Reviewed to Investments [Ultimately] Made

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David Cummings on Startups

Recently, I was reading the limited partner quarterly updates for a fund where I’m an investor. In the update, the author highlighted that the fund had reviewed 1,000 potential deals last year and invested in four companies. At a ratio of 250:1, it’s clear that there are many more startups trying to raise a Series A than there are Series A investments (see the Series A crunch talked about four years ago).

Here’s how the investment process might work at a venture fund:

  • 250 deals reviewed
  • 25 one-on-one pitches (where the entrepreneur pitches a single partner)
  • 5 full partner pitches (where all the partners hear the pitch)
  • 2 term sheets
  • 1 investment

Raising money is much harder than most entrepreneurs expect. With funds seeing so many opportunities, but only being able to invest in 1-2 companies per year per investor, it’s clear that most entrepreneurs will feel rejected when out raising…

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