Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Today, Etsy brings together 70,000 sellers of handmade products such as whistles, porcelain bowls or candle holders. It has about 50 employees, and last November alone it increased sales by 43%, selling 300,000 items for a total value of $4,300,000.
You can read the whole story on the International Herald Tribune's website.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The need was stressed for a synergy between public and private initiatives such as AIA's, to promote the growth of entrepreneurship and SME's. The aim of AIA's presentation was to educate public sector representatives on angel start up capital and on its role in fostering grassroots business life.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The lecture was held in a jovial atmosphere thanks to Dr Kalouda's rapport with his students and their trust in his expertise and his supportiveness. Michal started his lecture by asking the attending students how many were running a business and how many would like to. From about a 10% positive response to the first question, the share jumped to more than 60% after the second.
Monday, November 26, 2007
- Med-tech and Healthcare (technologies and service applications for health and medicine)
- Design (products across all sectors which focus on design)
- Transportation and logistics (technologies and service applications)
- Cleantech (environment and energy technologies)
If you want to apply for attending, visit http://www.earlystageinvestors.org/ and email me at Michal.Kohoutek@aia.cz by December 15th. The Angel Investor Association is a partner of the EASY project and will be submitting its candidates.
Don't miss this opportunity!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Only 6.5% of new firms are likely to grow quickly enough to need more than 20 employees within the next five years, according to a report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Mazars, an accounting firm. Entrepreneurs were asked how many people they expect to hire in their early years. Based on the responses, 90% of jobs will be created by less than a quarter of new firms. Nearly half of all start-ups do not expect to hire any staff at all. China has the highest number of entrepreneurs per head, with 17 per thousand. Russian start-ups are the most confident about creating jobs. America scores well on both counts: it has lots of entrepreneurs and many of these expect to employ at least 20 workers.
(From The Economist, http://www.economist.com/markets/indicators/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10180767)
Thursday, November 22, 2007
When I entered the room, Václav Bittner (in the picture below), founder of Et Netera, was speaking. I was impressed by the frankness and ease with which he was talking to the students and sharing his experience of starting his first business during his college years. He was recounting meetings with his classmates when ideas would float in the air about what kind of business to start first. He encouraged the attending students not to be held back by fear and to be entrepreneurial while still at university.
Mr Mareš of the Bohemian-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (ČMZRB) presented the possibility of obtaining government-backed loans for beginning enterprises, but lamented the end of the requirement for applicants to attend the Basics of Entrepreneurship course. He mentioned receiving a big amount of... badly prepared business plans after it was allowed to apply without attending this course. Also, he warned of the increasing strictness of criteria for granting the loans: whereas until last year 80% of applicants were successful, the reverse is true now. Undoubtedly, he said, dropping the entrepreneurship course requirement is part of the reason.
To learn more about the Student Business Forum 2007 in Hradec Králové, please visit http://www.tchk.cz/projekty/student-business-forum-2007.htm.
AIA's mission is entrepreneurship promotion, and if you have an audience eager to learn more about angel investing, we'll be more than happy to assist you. Send me an email at Michal.Kohoutek@aia.cz to learn more.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The forum – held on Na Příkopě street with an amazing view on Prague’s historical centre – was opened by AIA’s president, Mr Richard Husovský (pictured on the right, speaking with investor Anthony Smith). AIA’s event was held under the aegis of the European EASY project, a two-year cross-border project which includes six major investment forums in Europe’s main capitals. The objective of these forums – as was pointed out by AIA’s Michal Kohoutek in his introductory note – is to enable entrepreneurs from throughout the EU to present their projects to selected groups of investors. Centring on the market of the Czech Republic, AIA’s September 26 forum was another milestone in the process of raising local awareness about angel investment, and this forum followed on from the success of the 2006 European Business Angel Network annual conference, organized by AIA in Prague in April of last year.
The AIA forum opened with a presentation by Mrs Modwenna Rees-Mogg, editor in chief of VCR Directory (a database of British venture capital and private equity investors), as well as of Angel News (a free commercial news service for early stage funded companies), and was entitled “Keys to a Successful Business Angel Investment”. The presentation began with an overview of the various types of angel investors, ranging from the angels looking for an intriguing job in an investee company, to the “passive portfolio builders”. The presentation then continued on to the ten specific steps for optimizing investments so as to minimize risks – tips included the formula to calculate the amount to invest based on your free assets, as well as ideas on how to source a quality deal flow.
At 5 pm the core of the program came – the four entrepreneurs, one after another, presented their entrepreneurial projects to the attending investors.
First was Mr Daniel Zuth of ViDiTech, a Brno-based company producing vibrodiagnostical devices, which monitor – as the name reveals – the vibrations of costly machinery in order to prevent damage to it. After the presentation, a lively debate ensued with AIA investor Anthony Smith, who showed his interest in the proposal and enquired about the possibility of applying the ViDiTech system to wind turbines, given the advantageous ratio between their respective prices.
Second to present was Mr Václav Březina of BP Medical, also from Brno, a company growing algae in a closed system – the only one in Europe – and able to tailor their nutritional content to the customer’s needs. The purpose of the algae cultivation is to obtain biomass from which to extract ingredients for nutritional supplements as well as for cosmetics. The liveliest business angel in the ensuing discussion this time was Silke Horáková, whose main interest focused on the company’s marketing strategy.
Third came SoggyMelon, a project of two American-born entrepreneurs living in Czech Republic’s Moravia region, Gary Keith and Glenn Weidner. In its first stage, the project is initially centred on the localization of online video games in the region of Central and Eastern Europe, while at a second stage the development of own games is planned. Investor Michael Redgwell expressed the greatest interest in this project.
Finally, Indian-born Manna Justin of Foretee presented his project, which consists of a tee time booking website, where players can see weather forecasts for different golf courses, and where golf courses can subsequently post real time discounts in case of bad weather. Mr Justin is currently operational and has built up a team of employees in the Czech Republic, India and the United States. Whilst his target market is currently only the United States, given the number of golf courses in Europe, future plans are expected to extend to include the European courses as well.
The first match-making forum in the Czech Republic was most certainly deemed a success, achieving its goal of bringing together entrepreneurs and angels together into an engaging environment. No doubt we all look forward to seeing the outcome of their negotiations in the weeks to come, and also to the second forum expected in the near future.
You can download a podcast from the forum here.