Alliance Technology

  • We like leading and/or participating in reasonably-sized syndicates... but if you need to raise $50 million, we're not going to be a viable partner. You're better off with investment bankers.
  • We'll sign a reasonable non-disclosure agreement when we reach a point of mutual interest... but if an NDA is our first contact with you, we'll probably toss it in the trash. Mutual trust is part of our business.
  • Business plans need to be convincing; they don't have to be pretty. Unless you're building a color printer, don't waste your funds on color printing. And unless you're plotting three dimensions of data, don't print 3D graphs!
  • Don't ignore your competition. As Guy Kawasaki says: "The perfect market has no established competitors, it's growing at 50 percent a year, and there are high barriers to entry for everyone but you. Wake up and smell the silicon. There are no such markets."
    (Most of the smart people in the world don't work for you. Explain how you're going to win in spite of that.)
  • Arguments such as "This is a $1 billion dollar market, so all we have to do is capture 2% and we'll be a $20 million company!" just don't cut it. Markets tend to shake out into a 50% player, a 30% player, and a lot of little companies who don't make any money. Convince us you're going to be one of the first two.
  • Technical risk is our business; market risk is not. That means we are quite willing to invest in a better mousetrap if you can prove there is a vibrant and growing market for mousetraps. Betting that a particular market is "bound to emerge soon" has been the epitaph of many high-tech companies.
  • Cheops' Law: Everything takes longer and costs more. If your business plan is based on a "window of opportunity," we're going to get nervous. If your development slips a bit and the window closes a bit early, is there any market left?