Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wes Okeke talks about Fruition Tech Labs

Wes Okeke talks about Fruition Tech Labs

Where are you from originally?


What university did you go to?

Culver Military Academy

Northeastern University Boston, MA. BSEE

What is your group’s mission?

Fruition as a company is tasked to bring solutions to the right people, addressing the actual needs while being supported by those that are not only trained but also committed to the success of the community and its people

What need does it fulfill?

We facilitate the development of ideas and innovations of entrepreneurs and inventors.  We want to support entrepreneurs that need a team, direction, leadership and a process. We use our proprietary “The 5 Steps to Fruition”  process

What exactly does it bring to startups? 

We help create startups from the entrepreneur’s conceptual idea and then bring them to the point of launching  a startup.

What type of startup would benefit from your group? We support and consult with 

Startups that are any stage of their development cycle of their business. Fruition also has a program for Startups that have already launched and need assistance in creating a more competitive business model. We for these types of situations we walk startups through our “Business Growth Strategies 5 Step Process”

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the initiative? 

The fear of our mission being labeled as  a non-profit or as a charity that would generate small revenues and low impact innovations. Fruition is a for profit company that focuses on innovations that are positioned to generate significant social impact globally as well as generate large revenues.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?  

Before jumping into entrepreneurship, take great efforts to count the cost, make the decision and then close all the back doors.

What resource have you found to be the most helpful and why? 

Entrepreneurial networking events have proven very helpful as they have brought huge amount of encouragement and moral support plus a great deal of fruition’s client companies  and team members have been met at these events.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What I learned at the Texas Venture Growth Forum

What I learned at the Texas Venture Growth Forum

Last week, TEN in partnership with Hermes Investment held its first conference called the Texas Venture Growth Forum.  The event was targeted to match Texas companies with > $5M in revenue with Series B investors from the venture capital and private equity markets.  Currently, there’s no true Series B or later stage funding in Texas.  Companies must fly to the west coast and east coast to meet investors.   The conference showcased Jason Villalba, a state legislator and the efforts he is making to reseed the venture capital community in Texas.

In the 1990s, the Venture Community was strong in Austin.  We had over 30 VC firms here and there was a panel of three to five VCs going on almost weekly in which the panelists discussed their criteria for investment.   The Dot Com crash took out most of those groups and when the dust settled what came back in their place were angel investors.  Angels rose in popularity because startups no longer needed $5M to start a company – they needed only $500K.  While some VCs remained in place, most exited the industry and found something else to do.  Today, in 2015, venture capital is making a comeback because companies who started after the Dot Com crash (or survived it) have not grown to a position that they need $5M to $10M or more in funding and angels and angel groups are not in a position to provide it.   The Series B and beyond belongs to the venture capital world.

In the Texas Venture Growth Forum, the gap in funding for Series B was highlighted. While most entrepreneurs know the gap exists, it was helpful to have David Altounian of the Austin Technology Council provide some deep dive research from the ATC Capital Study they recently completed.  The data analytics sponsor for the event, Pitchbook, also chimed in with their report which you can see at this link

While we all know there’s a shortage of capital, the next question to answer is what to do about it.  It’s clear from the data that we need to recruit more funding by launching new funds here and recruiting existing funds outside of Texas to focus on this area.   The other lesson I learned is that Texas companies should take a national approach to their fund raise from the beginning.  Even California companies don’t raise all their funding from California. They have to go outside for a substantial portion (albeit less than Texas) of their funding too.

Best regards,
Hall T.