There was nothing scary about this Friday 13th. The participants ended the week and their three days in San Francisco with some dynamic seminars.  

9am: Corporate Venture. Meredith Finn, Principal - Corporate Development, Salesforce Ventures (SFV) 

  • Beyond purpose of innovation, SFV is focussed on bringing integrated philanthropy to portfolio companies.
  • 1-1-1 philanthropic model: equity, product & time – all investments (companies) do the same – to develop a culture of giving back.

  1. SFV model depends on adding value to portfolio companies:

  2. Access: SFV ecosystem, SF executives, product teams, VCs, partners

  3. Advice: Business model maturity and product and tech fundraising

  4. Credibility: customers, investors, employees, SF executives

Disruptive trends:

  • Predictive intelligence/machine learning
  • Big data/integration
  • Business operations in the cloud
  • Mobile
  • B2D (API marketing/developer markets
  • Verticals (Health and fin services)

Do your research! Check the Corp Venture’s portfolio: Does the portfolio have direct competitors? If they do, they shouldn’t take the meeting. But if they do, they will bring the info from you to their portfolio company.

There are four things that corp ventures look at – to get comfort:

  • What is the market? (does it really exist?)
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What is your product?
  • Who is your team? 

We do A + B series funding, and will ask:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What is your revenue model?
  • How will you grow your customers?
  • Show us your data – if you don’t, we view this a red flag.

Each deal is negotiated. If we help you sell the product, then we will take a share.

10:30am: Session with Rocket Corporate Innovation Services. Michele McConomy, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Corporate Innovation Services.

  • In the old days, you needs lots of capital and employees to get one customer.  Nowadays, you can start a business with $50K-100K capital with one person and reach 1000s of customers.
  • Today a seed round is $2M – this used to be a series A round 10 years ago. Today Series A is about $5M+.
  • It is important to understand how your business can scale.

  • Focus on things that drive enterprise value, not just what maximises your ownership.

  • Focus teams with proven ability to execute.

  • One cause of failure is when the teams fall apart, or is not structured properly, or not incentivised/equally aligned.

  • If the team is more than 1 person, are the incentives aligned & equal? Doesn’t matter if you came up with the idea.  Executive is important (everyone has the same idea – it is the execution/delivery!)

  • Pitch decks are seen for the first time on a mobile phone. (99% of the time – whilst having a conversation and eating a burrito!)

7pm: Dinner with the whole group, to welcome the weekend!