Ian Rogoff, Co-Founder and General Partner of Sierra Nevada Partners and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HelioGroup, spoke Tuesday night on new company formation, and early stage investing in President Lynn Gillette’s Current Topics class. With his former experiences as the Vice President of the Worldwide Partner Group and Vice President of Enterprise Services at Microsoft, District Manager for Systems Integration at Digital Equipment Corp., and Co-Founder and President of Optimum Software, Ian shared his insights on entrepreneurship with students.
Ian talked about creating the right team for new company formation. When searching for the right fit you need to ask “who then what?” Picking the right team is essential; the team is the core and will be the defining factor of your success. What makes a good “who?” He advocated for assessing “AQONE”– can the individual Associate, Question, Observe, Network, and Experiment? He also noted you need to hire the people that are good at what you are not.
“Entrepreneurship is seeing how the world could be better” Ian Rogoff
On his second topic, early stage investment, Ian spoke about how for him it is all about the integrity of the parties involved and their intentions, not always about the price. When investing you need to see if the company will be successful and if the investment will be successful. Ian shared an example of a highly successful business that was not a good investment.
After each subject the students questioned Ian. When asked what the most common mistake entrepreneurs make while seeking investors, Ian quickly replied with a simple answer, “they don’t listen.”