On February 15th, Kristian Rauhala, CEO at h2o Audio will be presenting his company at the MIT Forum event. What I tend to like about the forum is that the companies are not early stage where the primary problem is not enough money. These are companies that are post revenue, have been gaining some traction, and they are experiencing a problem, looking for some help on how to grow, or evaluting a potential opportunity and would like to get opinions from some experts. These are business issues usually where there are a number of alternatives to consider.
h2o Audio designs, manufacturers and sells waterproof containers and headsets for the hard drive personal music business mainly iPods®. The user can access all the controls from the outside, so the player stays dry and, the headsets work at a depth of 300ft.
I personally don’t have a need for this type of device. Not that I don’t use an iPod; I just purchased my third to see what all the hype about video is. What I am not is an Extreme Sports enthusiast. If I was into diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, regular surfing, snow boarding or skiing, I think this would be a perfect addition to my listening pleasure. I can imagine creating play lists for individual activities to match the experience.
So, what problems is Kristian looking for help on? Well he is looking at the next few years and realizes that they are going to hit some crossroads and have the ability to experience significant growth. He realizes that organic growth is a possibility, but also understands that this is a slow growth tactic and could potentially put the company out of business as competition grows. He also know that resources can come from a number of places including equity investors, banks, strategic partnerships or alliances, etc. This is where he would like some help. Given his company and plans, which are the best to consider and what are the things to look out for?
The Forum team has assembled a great panel to give him advice: a former Apple executive, a CEO with prior experience in a consumer market place, a CFO from an extreme sports company, and a couple of Venture Capitalists.
I think it will be an interesting evening, not just for me, I believe that there are a number of companies who are or will be facing the same problems. They might just get a jump on the issues and start planning on how they can accomplish their own growth. Besides, the event is only $35 pre-paid by next Monday or $50 if you show up at the door and includes a buffet dinner.
The MIT Forum meeting will be held at the Salk Institute, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037. I hope to see a lot of people there.