Friday, June 26, 2009

The end of another year

After a long hard-working year where there has been very little time to do much else. We reach the stage where it's possibly the last time the whole class will be together. Lot's of people will be going away on their exchange in the Autumn (Fall to you USA English speakers), and some people will not be returning to Hong Kong afterwards.
Earlier in March, me and my team went to San Francisco to attend the Business Plan Competition. We didn't fare so well, but the experience was worth the journey. Having your plan assessed by real Venture Capitalists, rather than academics gives a different perspectives from the entreprenurial point of view. A lot of the classroom exercises and teachings are from the VC point of view, rather than from the business starter, so you can't always apply the same valuation methodologies. One thing for sure, any valuation of a non-operational start-up, is usually made-up. How can you value a company that is not operational, does not have customers, and draws in no revenue? This part of the pitching exercise I found most interesting, because selling the concepts and business models are important, and most importantly is whether the investor trusts you as the person who will execute the plan.

Ideas are ten a penny, the capability to execute the idea succesfully is what investors are looking for. Therefore a combination of a killer idea with an exceptional operational team is the ideal make-up for a start-up.

As for myself, I will be going to Berkeley on exchange to finish off my MBA, and at the same time, trying to start up a business in China with a couple of classmates. For sure the thing which is most valuable for me from my time as HKUST is the diversity of the class.