Silicon Valley icon Bill Reichert from Garage Technology Ventures recently spoke at Startup Grind Sacramento and offered some invaluable insight. With over 20 years as an entrepreneur and two public companies, Bill's resume is quite impressive.
Originally from Chicago, Bill grew up spending quality time with his grandfather who exposed him to the adventurous world of entrepreneurship. He was in Silicon Valley when the PC was first released and arguably ran one of the first app development firms in United States history, which was apparently amazingly successful but eventually "crashed and burned." In 1992, Bill and his buddy helped save a failing organization called "The Learning Company," which later became the first business they took public for $60 million. Later down the line, the Learning Company was sold to Mattel for $3.6 billion. Ouch! Bill eventually stopped kicking himself for selling too early and learned the ingredients to achieve success years later at the National Venture Capital Conference with Peter Lynch.
"I only invest in companies that even a complete idiot can run."
This statement hit home for Bill, making him simplify his approach and become cautious with ventures that seem overly complex. When he looks for investments, he wants startups that have novel technology, a sustainable competitive advantage, and can make a significant impact in its designated sector.
Take for example Voke VR that "utilizes a synchronized multiple point-of-view stereoscopic panoramic camera system" technology. They've partnered with the Sacramento Kings to enable mobile users in the stands or at home to receive an advanced VR spectacle without the bulky headset. The audience is able to pause, rewind and review the action from virtually any angle on the court.
When asked about ways for entrepreneurs to receive funding, his response was surprising:
"The best way to receive funding for your startup is to get endorsements from bigger companies for validation and reach out to venture capital sources."
Bill firmly believes that by following these simple words of advice, you will be "head and shoulders" above your typical startup seeking that almighty dollar. Of course, you will most likely still need to meet the criteria that he mentioned when looking for a potential investment (i.e. novel technology, etc.).
Watch the full interview with Bill Reichert at Startup Grind Sacramento: