During a presentation at Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference 2012, Rick Segal (CEO & Co-Founder of Fixmo) spoke to students about his experience as a venture capitalist and self-described “gadget phreak”.
While there were some hilarious statements, like “We developed this toolkit for the BlackBerry – you remember the BlackBerry, right?” there was some valuable development and business advice shared.
Some general advice about working with investors and venture capitalists and starting your own business or product:
- Always have a Plan B with your business plan and product idea; never give up, but always have a new plan B after the current one starts to fail
- Hire smarter people than you, and get out of their way (as Founder, your only job is to keep it successful and check on things – like if there’s enough pizza in the office)
- The most important thing a leader can do is be funny; keep the stress level as low as possible and interact with your team
- Canada is one of the best places to start a business – people will take a few minutes to listen to your pitch (unlike in Silicon Valley, for example, where they want you to work to even find them)
- Investors and Venture Capitalists are all inherently greedy (because that’s the way the model works); the best only take a reward after your company generates a reward
- If you truly believe you have a billion dollar opportunity or idea, don’t be caught up in deals or losses in smaller amounts (millions or thousands) if you have a plan for greater success
- “Dragons Den is entertainment first and investment second.”
- State the Existing Problem
- State Your Solution to the Problem
- Who’s Going to Pay for It?
- Are Alot of People Going to Pay For It?
More About Rick Segal
Rick Segal, Fixmo’s Chief Executive Officer, co-founded the company in 2009. Segal began developing Fixmo Sentinel under a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the National Security Agency following an initial meeting at a telecommunications trade show. He has since grown the company into an international business, fueled by his passion for startups, combined with years of experience with Blackberry users as a partner in the Blackberry Partners Fund. A self-described “gadget phreak,” Segal believes that technology should make our lives easier and continues to shape Fixmo in that image.Before founding Fixmo, Segal was a partner at JLA Ventures, a large Canadian Venture Capital fund. He has also served as President and CEO of Microforum, a leader in integrated e-business solutions for a wide array of industry verticals; President and COO at Chapters Online Inc., a leading Canadian e-commerce company; Partner at TMS Consulting; and Director of Technical Services for the Internet Customer Unit at Microsoft. Segal has authored four books on Network Management and Windows software development. He majored in Computer Science at the University of North Texas.