Anke and Carole spoke about entrepreneurship and their own personal stories in my class by Mayor Riordan, and it was neat to hear two different perspectives on the entrepreneurial process.
Here are their quick bios:
Carole Ference is Executive Vice President, Business Development of Nielsen Advertiser Solutions, Founder of IAG Research, and Former Publisher of House Beautiful, Connoisseur, and Town & Country.
Anke Audenaert is a founder and head of product and research of JumpTime, a company that focuses on building traffic optimization software for digital publishers. The Culver City based company is 4 years old. Earlier, Anke worked at Yahoo!, as head of market research and network optimization. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and teaches web marketing and analytics in the FEMBA program.
Anke started her talk by speaking about her "aha moment." She started at Unilever and then moved to Yahoo as Head of Research. Her focus was on finding ways to move homepage visitors to the most profitable parts of the site. She realized there was a need for this across companies and decided to leave but first partnered up with someone. She had the algorithms, and she partnered up with Michelle DiLorenzo for Business Development. Together they built JumpTime, a traffic optimization software company. They put a price tag on all content pieces and then build software to move traffic across them. They have 12 employees and have several large clients already.
Carole originally started in magazine publishing and moved to TicketMaster here in California. She wanted to change her lifestyle, and so she networked and met people who became her partners. The business idea came from someone else: TV advertising effectiveness measurement. Her company's focus was on measuring viewers' recall and liking of ads. They wrote a small business plan and pitch and went out to GM and Kraft and got lots of feedback from them, tweaking the product until it was in a state that could work.
Some of the initial steps mentioned were writing a business plan and marketing plan. Anke also started consulting for clients and developed her model further. She analyzed data with her husband Lustig, a famous asset pricing professor, and got together with her future CTO Andres Rodriguez from Stanford Research Institute. Together they set their mission, including lofty goals for the next 5 years.
She urged us to write business plans for ourselves and our business, not for getting money. Key points to focus on are goals for product, including specific milestones, and goals for sales (top 50 clients, big companies, etc.). She started a huge Excel sheet to track all this, helping her get her Series A funding.
Carole spoke a bit about friends and family funding for her company, IAG Research. She explained that your plan will change considerably from investor feedback.
Personal Qualities of Entrepreneurs
They must embrace chaos and benign neglect (letting people run with ideas), not being afraid to make mistakes.
They must embrace their competition, like Yahoo switching its search engine backends. They must really articulate their product's benefits when they dealing with competitors. They must not listen to people who say something can't be done and that there are competitors.
Both ladies said now was a good time for entrepreneurs with "money flowing." In 2010, VC rose to $22 billion, and in 2011, 76% more is expected. The hottest areas they mentioned were the following: Consumer, Mobile, Social, and Health. Various incubator programs they spoke highly of were the Start-Up America Partnership, YC, and IdeaLab.