By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold
Irina: Right. So, if you would single out the most important character trait of a founder, what would it be?
Larry: Previous experience in growing a company. That plus passion for what they’re doing. I mean, you’ve got to love what you do.
Irina: So, on average, you get about six hundred deals a year, right?
Larry: Approximately, yes. At least, we take a look at that many.
Irina: So, what do you do with the businesses that you don’t accept?
Larry: Those that do not meet our current criteria we ask to keep in touch, and a lot of times, we’ll also help them. I’ve had companies that I really liked that were a little early for us, but I continue to make introductions for them, whether it’s a potential revenue source or a potential strategic relationship.
I just introduced an entrepreneur who just presented who has a franchise bookkeeping service for businesses in the $100,000 to $5 million revenue range. I just introduced him to several entrepreneurs so that they can grow together. So, these other entrepreneurs are also selling to a similar business market.
They’re selling different services, but together they can really complement one another. A presenter who’s coming in tomorrow has a Web platform that helps the construction industry.
I connected those two companies where the fellow from the construction industry can also be recommending the bookkeeping services as a value add for his customers – that’s as an example. Then, what it does for the bookkeeping franchise is it increases their revenue by giving them access to new clients.
I’m always doing that. I’m always thinking of whom I can introduce to help accelerate one another? That’s why we really get to know the entrepreneurs and understand their business models.
Irina: Does your group have any sector focus?
Larry: Because we’re in New York City, we’re a media capital of the world so we focus on media, Web-enabled businesses, software, and software as a service (SaaS).
Life sciences and healthcare are big because New York recently launched two biotech labs and because we have some of the best hospitals in the country.
Mayor [Mike] Bloomberg and we believe that New York City should be a life science destination, so we focus pharma, biotech, med devices. We look at life sciences, also green or clean technology.
What we do is take a look the global economy, where it is heading – I think we all do this as good business people – and ask, where is our local economy, state, and then national, then the global economy?
Where is that all heading and, what do we as a society need to better society? Certainly energy efficiency is huge. Water is going to be a huge issue in the coming years. So, we look at clean tech and green products, so those in solar, wind, and water.
There’s Obama’s healthcare initiative; healthcare is huge. Then we take a look at businesses that can help in the healthcare industry. So, either healthcare, IT, electronic medical records. What are those businesses that can then help with the country’s healthcare initiative? So, it’s really looking at what initiatives that are going to help our country and businesses in those industries.
Irina: Could you be more specific about the media? What do you do in the media?
Larry: For media, there are content providers, there’s advertising, there are analytics companies that help to mine data and make sense of it and to examine trends. Those are some companies.
Also, companies in the media space need to leverage the Web. Although magazines and newspapers certainly are popular, the advertising model is broken, and Web advertising, if it’s done efficiently and effectively, is a real boon for the consumer.