I am THE Venture Technologist. Nice, maybe I should start referring to myself in the third-person.
Thirty-six years programming, testing, architecting, operating, managing…
After thirty-six years working for startups, founding startups, performing due-diligence for M&A work, and now mentoring startups and doing due-diligence and consulting for private-equity investments, I have finally defined myself. Funk Brother, Rock-&-Roll genius. No, wait, those dreams will have to wait a while.
What we do at Compuware Ventures that is different from most VCs is focus on technology delivery models that give us insight into higher probability for success. Apps are important, great programmers and designers are critical, the right mix of technology and management are key, but it’s the mix of all-of-the-above and the balance of business acumen that makes a startup successful. I love taking a technical approach to evaluate a business plan because the technical DNA of a company, no matter how large or small, expresses a lot about the company, their people, and their probability for future growth and success.
CODE DOESN’T LIE.When I was a young pup at programming, almost all of my peers hated to work on someone else’s code. Mostly because there were a lot of different technical complexities that we had to contend with and many times the code was difficult to decipher. I always prided myself on my ability to ‘decode’ another programmer’s program and understand every ‘moving part’ of the system. I made it fun and tried to imagine what someone was thinking when they put together their solution. The coding, design, quality control, testing, source-code repositories, architecture, operations, support; all are critical to a whole-product solution and each can break a system’s integrity if not put together properly. We can do a complete code and process review of any system, and material weaknesses, as well as value, are exposed very quickly, We can also find weaknesses and strengths simply by talking to the technical folks involved.
PROGRAMMERS DON’T LIE.Maybe I should state that as “PROGRAMMERS CAN’T LIE”. I don’t know if it’s because we’re inherently ethical or we’re just bad liars! In any case, technical people are very transparent and talking to them always gives us the best insight and evaluation of an organization. In addition to the knowledge we acquire about the company’s technology, we also understand how well they work as a team and communicate with their customers and stakeholders. Great ideas and technology can’t succeed if the organization is dysfunctional.
There are many things to look at when evaluating these opportunities, and the technology of any venture is a critical component to the probabilityof success. I’ve finally grown up, I’m Mr. venture Technologist. So, when you give your pitch, run the numbers, tell your story, remember, I’m waiting to talk to the techie behind the scenes.
And I pity the programmer who tries to fool me!