Venture Atlanta Conference 2016
Venture Atlanta
Oct 23 /

How to Attract and Work with Strategic Investors

The following article was written by Christian Devlin of CBRE via our Guest Blogger Program.

In partnership with Venture Atlanta this week, I had the pleasure of co-hosting the 3rd annual tech panel with King & Spalding, during which I co-moderated a panel discussion entitled “How to Attract and Work with Strategic Investors” with the acclaimed Silicon Valley tech attorney, Judy O’Brien. Our all-star panel included a venture capitalist from San Francisco, who traveled from the West Coast to participate in our event, a corporate venture capitalist based here in Atlanta, an Atlanta based venture capitalist and company operator, and two CEO’s of Atlanta based technology companies.

As I did with my post, “Planning for a Tech Exit”, for the Atlanta Tech Village last year, I’m going to share with you some of my key takeaways from this fantastic discussion.

Rimas Kapeskas, Managing Director of the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund (Portfolio companies include Kabbage, Roadie, and Ally Commerce):

When identifying potential companies to invest, we like to get in early and are looking for areas that we don’t understand well. We look for companies who are still maturing, where the learning curve for UPS is the steepest. Our investment returns are measured in knowledge capital.

Strategics are more complex than traditional VC’s regarding what they want to accomplish. So, transparency and a clear understanding of their goals up front is very important.

In comparison to most traditional VC’s, we consider ourselves to be “patient capital”.

Companies are four times more likely to exit if they have a strategic investor.

Josh Breinlinger, Managing Director of Jackson Square Ventures (portfolio companies include DocuSign, Strava, and Demandbase):

Our goal is simple: to make money. During the early stages, an entrepreneur is learning and may need to pivot the business. A strategics’ priorities can hinder the company in these instances and make for some uncomfortable board meetings. In short, strategics are not a good fit for early stage companies.

If you have to take on a strategic/corporate investor, take at least two so that you can pit them against each other.

Wain Kellum, Venture Capitalist and Company Operator, Canal Partners (also led Vocalocity to its exit to Vonage for approx. $130M in 2013):

The best kind of strategic partnership is one that changes what the company is, that gets you somewhere you were never going to get to before.

You should never do a deal with a first-time strategic investor.

I wouldn’t want to have my biggest customer on my board. At some point, that person would quit being a board member and represent the company that they work for.

Jason Rubottom, CEO of Ally Commerce (recently received an investment from the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund):

If you can find the right strategic partner, one in which your company’s values and theirs are aligned, you can strike a balance between the pros and cons of each to make a strategic partnership work. In other words, you can benefit from what is potentially tremendously more value than a traditional VC can provide without giving up much control.

Brian Cosgray, Founder and CEO of DoubleNet Pay:

One of the benefits that strategic partnerships can provide for an early stage company is instant credibility.

We have ADP and Comcast partnerships in the works. While neither are financial partners, ADP has connected us with tons of small companies.

I’d like to leave you with a few insights that Judy O’Brien stressed to all the entrepreneurs in the room. Corporations are providing a larger and larger percentage of the capital being invested in start-ups and they are coming in at an earlier stage —sometimes even seed rounds. Having a strategic investor can bring enormous value but also raises concerns around alignment that you don’t face with a VC investor. Founders need to understand issues like control, ownership of IP, board governance and how the companies will work together before they enter into these partnerships. Be sure you have experiences advisers throughout the process to help make it a win-win relationship.


Christian DevlinChristian Devlin is the Atlanta leader of CBRE’s Technology & Media Practice and Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Atlanta. You can reach out to Christian on LinkedIn and Twitter (@cdev20).

PFL cDNA was about 1.1 kb and predicted to encode a protein of 367 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence of PFL was aligned with other FLO/LFY like proteins (Fig. 1). This alignment revealed two highly conserved regions and two short variable regions. A proline rich region near the amino terminus and an acidic central region were found in the variable regions of most of angiosperm FLO/LFY like proteins. The proline rich region was not found in the papaya PFL. However, a highly acidic region was observed in PFL between glutamate 182 and glutamate 188 where it was preceded by a short basic region (between lysine 171 and lysine 178), which is similar to other FLO/LFY like proteins. PFL also shares with other dicot FLO/LFY like proteins a replica oakleys region containing leucines repeated every 7 or 8 amino acids (positions leucine 69 to leucine Cheap Jerseys from china 99) and a region with alternating basic acidic basic stretches (positions arginine 115 to arginine 126). The leucine repeats are marked with “”. The basic and acidic regions are labeled as “+” and www.buyoakleysunglasses.com ” “, respectively.Beyond the exciting developments in Sports, we continue to expand our digital magazines portfolio in Q2 by launching Yahoo! Style, Yahoo! Movies, and Yahoo! Celebrity magazines across nearly a dozen markets in EMEA and APAC. By the end of the quarter, our digital magazines saw approximately 65 million unique users a month, a 10% increase over Q1.Commissioner Rob Manfred said he did not believe fans should worry cheap jerseys china that ownership Cheap ray ban sunglasses would diminish the Dodgers ability to win in order to satisfy cheap China Jerseys the debt rule. The Dodgers have won the National League West in each of the four full seasons under Guggenheim ownership, the longest streak in franchise history.Five detainees at Guantanamo Bay Authentic Jerseys Wholesale were transferred to Qatar in exchange for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was being held by the Taliban. Two senior administration officials confirmed the names of the released detainees, whose photos were obtained by WikiLeaks. Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, seen here, was an early member of the Taliban in 1994 and was interior minister during the Taliban’s rule. He was arrested in Pakistan and was transferred to Guantanamo in May 2002. During questioning, Khairkhwa denied all knowledge of extremist activities.Google Transit, the search giant’s application that gives users access to public transport systems embedded on Google maps, was launched in Chennai and Hyderabad on Wednesday. Currently, only information pertaining to local bus services is available. As usual, with the maps feature, you can plot the route between point A to point B by choosing the ‘Directions’ option.

Comments are closed.