USD Alum Shares Lesson Learned in Capital Ventures

As I am counting down the 26 days to graduation, I am trying to get in all my “last chance” events. As such, I attended my final Ahlers Center International Business Speaker Series event as a student, featuring USD International MBA alum Michael J. Slater, the CEO and Founder of Entry Ventures, a local potential capital company.

Slater shared with us how he developed Snapseed, a world class product that received Google’s iPad app of the year award (2011) and reached six million customers in the first six months of the product launch, as well as how he sold his company , Nik, to Google (2012).

Here are few key lessons learned based on Entry Ventures Potential Quadrants (EVPQ) model:

1) Have Innovation: To realize potential you must innovate. Slater’s guiding principle is “world class.” When you innovate you must do it so well that no one questions it and you must do it so well that everyone wants to be a part of it.
2) Need Strategy: Dream backwards because you need a strategy. Strategy comes from dreaming backwards. By focusing on the end of a story, you can develop a plan on how to get there.
3) Release Investment: Look for a strategic partner to scale with you. When valuing a company, Slater uses the triangulation valuation method comprised of the absolute value of the target company, value of the target company to the purchasing company and the negative value if the purchasing company does not acquire the target.
4) Enable Scalability: Traditional marketing emphasizes market segmentation and matching products with core customer groups. In industries/products that require early stage adoption, Slater suggests turning the traditional market segmentation pyramid upside down and blending consumers into a broader market. This strategy enables Slater to go after everyone regardless of their demographic.

A final piece of advice: “to reach your potential you have to do more than decide. You must fly away. Learn to recognize innovation in people, concepts, companies. I challenge you to dream backwards and understand that value releases investment. And finally, reach the word through world class products that everyone wants to be a part of.”

–Submitted by Meghan Tracey, a 2nd year IMBA Student. Meghan recently completed an internship with Thermo Fisher Scientific in Market Analytics, Strategic Planning and Development. She will soon begin a new role as Brand Strategist for Audacity, a brand strategy agency focusing on the biotech industry.

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