Archive for May, 2007

Interview With Kathy Woolverton, President of SoftSearch

Although it is Memorial Day, I had an opportunity to talk with Kathy Woolverton the President of a new business software distribution company called SoftSearch. I found out today that one of the downsides of being a global company is that there are some holidays that are just not followed outside the US and Memorial Day is one of them.

I met Kathy while she was presenting to the Chapters of the Southern California, Keiretsu Forum Angel group. She is in an interesting space with an in place system, quality team, distribution agreements and is generating revenues.

You can hear the cast at http://socalbuzz.podbus.com/softsearch2.mp3 So, if you have about 15 minutes, give a listen and hear about her company.

One Big Tip for Startups

On April 25th, I attended the California Tech 100 Showcase in Irvine. I was invited since I am a Venture Partner with California Capital Partners and we were a sponsor of the event. With four partners from our team sitting on panels, I got to watch two panels and sit on one so I was able to see about 20 company presentations.

It drives me a little crazy to see companies spend so much time on the products and technologies, throw it all together into a power point presentation and then not spend very much time on their sales and distribution strategies and tactics. An investor is listening for reasons to say no and not hearing a clear description of how the company intends to sell their products and services that ties to the overall financial plans they present, is just such a reason.

It also doesn’t help to have half of your proposed capital going for Marketing and Sales while you don’t have those management seats filled. How do you know you need that much? If you have identified the people and they have helped you with your capital requirements and uses of funds, then say so. Otherwise, it seems like you are shooting in the dark.

Obviously, you need products to sell but they usually don’t sell themselves. Be smart, think through your distribution strategy, get some help from some resources who understand the area and then then present a cohesive picture of how your products and/or services will get to customers. Give us one less reason to say NO.

Keiretsu Forum, Southern California – Spring Summit

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Keiretsu Forum Summit that was held on Monday, April 16th and was followed by an Open House at their new headquarters in Costa Mesa. One of the things I like about Keiretsu is the variety of deals that come looking for funding. Most places you see technology or life science companies, but, I guess because of the LA and Westlake Village Chapters, we see more consumer and entertainment companies.

On the consumer side, there were companies with home products like window coverings and new roofing materials along with food products like new ways of delivering ice cream and new snacks that taste freeze dried. There was also one company looking for funding for a new series of animated movies and associated books and other paraphernalia along with a consortium raising a fund to fund independent movies.

I must admit, I have a lot better chance of understanding consumer plays than entertainment. I just don’t have any idea about how to judge whether a particular movie or animated feature has the potential to deliver the results the producer is anticipating.

If you haven’t attended one of their monthly meetings and are an investor or entrepreneur, then you should find the time and attend one. It might be what you are looking for.


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May 2007
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