Last night I attended the Bay Area USC Entrepreneurship Panel at Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale. If it was not a USC event (Fight On!), I would have not paid $20 to attend. BUT, I love my school, so I did it anyways. When I first arrived, I was showered with USC Marshall School trinkets. I happen to graduate from the USC School of Engineering, but knew others who did graduate from Marshall, so I grabbed a few things here and there. The CEO of Plug and Play gave about 10 of us a personal tour of the facility and an intro talk about Plug and Play before the panel started. Unfortunately, Plug and Play had banners of other major schools excluding USC. My only criticism is that Plug and Play probably should have put something USC up during the USC event.
Alright about the panel, there were two VCs and one CEO of a mid-size firm. Here is what I captured as some takeaways:
- – Good CEOs need to have a good BS meter. Know when to invest in something and when to stop investing in something
- – At Sequoia Capital, one general partner hates the word “CleanTech”. Use instead “New Energy” or “Energy”. You can thank me later when you get your first round of funding.
- – Don’t go to the big VCs (e.g., Sequoia Capital) if you think that you can’t get $1B valuation with your idea, bootstrap, use friends and family members or go to the smaller VCs for funding
- – Eventually the world will go away from fossil fuels to other energy alternatives, no predication as to when a VC thinks this will happen