Finding Your Optimal Investor: August 9, 2012

Finding Your Optimal Investor – Due Diligence for Entrepreneurs:  August 9, 2012

Later this week, on Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 730am, I will serve as moderator for the meeting of 128 Innovation Capital Group (128 ICG), at the IBM Conference Center, 404 Wyman Street, North Entrance in Waltham, Massachusetts.  Our speaker, whom I recruited, will be Luke Burns, Partner at Ascent Venture Partners  (

Before Venture Capitalists decide to invest money in a company, they undertake a thorough Due Diligence process to learn what they can about the company – its strengths as well as its vulnerabilities. But Due Diligence is not the sole purview of the investor. Entrepreneurs need to research investors to identify those most aligned with their businesses. Information can be obtained from websites, discussions with portfolio companies and from the investors themselves. Luke Burns will let us know what questions to ask and how best to filter the information we receive to optimize the process for all and maximize our success.

Luke has extensive experience advising and founding ventures and brings his passion for entrepreneurship to his work at Ascent. Since joining the firm in 2006, Luke has continued his work with innovative early stage companies with a focus on mobility, data analytics and security. He currently works closely with CloudLock, Knoa Software, Verivo and V.i.Labs.

Prior to Ascent, Luke was a management consultant at Bain & Co., working with clients in pharmaceuticals, technology, and consumer products, in roles ranging from corporate strategy to M&A advisory. It was the second time Luke worked at Bain, having first joined the firm after college in their San Francisco office in order to be close to Silicon Valley. There, he focused on the high-tech sector before leaving in 1998 to be cofounder and CEO of e-commerce software provider Emercis Corporation, which powered the online stores for customers such as McAfee and The Gap. He led the company from product launch to successful exit. Luke then moved to Stockholm for six months where he read and traveled extensively before attending business school. Luke has also held roles with venture firm Navigator Technology Ventures, and was cofounder of Cognika Corporation, a provider of cognitive computing solutions

For more information or to register for this meeting, go to

Hopefully, this topic and meeting will be helpful to entrepreneurs in small and early stage companies I represent.

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I remain active at 128 ICG, a Waltham-based group that aids and provides a networking opportunity to entrepreneurs, small and early stage companies, and people who invest or work in those companies.

128 Innovation Capital Group (, is now in its 8th year since, as a founder, I helped that group re-emerge from the 128 Venture Capital Group (founded in 1982).  I’ve been a 128 ICG board member since 2004 and recruited speakers and moderated  14 of the 31  past meetings of 128 ICG in 2010-2012, including the following:


  • We Can’t All be Facebook … Nor Do We Want To Be!  July 12, 2012, with Rick Grinnell. Managing Director, Fairhaven Capital Partners.


  • Structuring your Financing for Capital Efficiency and Exit Strategy.  April 12, 2012, with William McPhee, an investor with Boston Harbor Angels and Board member at The Capital Network.   


  • Alternative Funding Models for Clean Technology.  February 9, 2012, with Eric Emmons, Investment Partner at Siemens Venture Capital and head of the Siemens Venture Capital’s Energy Fund.   


  • What’s Your Company’s Value Proposition? How Are You Viewed by Investors, Customers and Employees? October 13, 2011, with Jack Derby, member of Common Angels.   


  • Management Team, Board of Directors, Advisory Board – How to Best Utilize  Your Company’s Talent, August 11, 2011, with Jenny Freeman, M.D., member of Boston Harbor Angels.   


  • How Social Marketing Transformed the Gaming Sector: Social Gaming vs. Traditional Gaming, February 10, 2011, with Dayna Grayson, Principal at North Bridge Venture Partners.   


  • Habits of Highly Effective Management Teams, November 11, 2010, with Elliot Katzman, General Partner of Commonwealth Capital Ventures.  


  • The 5 Things you MUST KNOW about Raising Angel Investment, October 14, 2010, with Hambleton Lord, Managing Partner of Launchpad Venture Group.

  • Mobile Innovation in New England: Entrepreneurial Opportunities for the Future, April 8, 2010, with Sean Marsh, CoFounder and General Partner, Point Judith Capital.

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