October 26, 2007

Location-based services coming on - some tips from the VCs

Some notes on venture capital (VC) for the LBS space... a session at the Navteq Connections event this week provided us with a chance to hear from some venture capitalists and their thoughts on LBS and location technologies. the following tips and comments were noted:
  • at ATT small company will often come in but in partnership with a large player like Nokia. they tend not to look at small companies but they also take all calls and return every one of them.
  • Advice – use a rock solid board of advisors... helps getting your company ready to talk to the VCs
  • What should you want money for? Be prepared to respond to this.
  • It helps to come to a VC as a member of a reputable developer community, like the Navteq dev community, Forum Nokia Pro etc... enter LBS challenge - this is validation.
  • What should a company bring… focus on something specific, don’t bring an idea that wants to accomplish all kinds of things. A clear product vision, where it's going, what your competitors are doing.
  • What’s hot… the rockstar team. Contacts, endorsements, What’s the distribution mechanism
  • Is there end-user demand, if so validate it. Pretty it up before the sale!
  • A Turn-off.. start ups that nickels over the valuation… 3.2 or 3.25
  • Say what you know, you don’t know, and maybe you’ll hire someone…
  • AT&T looks a lot at the enterprise – there’s a huge area looking at vehicle tracking
  • Most people in audience felt you don’t need a carrier in order to go to market with your application.
  • Is the VC interested in LBS? Yes - they have been burned in the past but this is the year for LBS. There is renewed interest in the area… look also at acquisitions… outside the US has definitely been hot… the nokia guy is bullish indeed!
  • at AT&T next year pretty much all new handsets will come with GPS!
  • And remember... There will be no web20 without a mobile extension, no web app should be created without a mobile client!

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