Looking forward to 2011!
The past year seems to have gone by ridiculously fast – actually, the past decade seems all but a flash! For all of us at iNovia, the last few years have been very rewarding. We have achieved many critical milestones, and yet seem to have set ourselves up with even more for the coming year.
I have always been somewhat intrigued by the fascination some people have with looking back at a given calendar year. Enumeration of the past year’s achievements, successes and failures, sometimes bring encouragement and hope that it will repeat itself in the upcoming year. But experience has shown me that none of my last 19 years as an entrepreneur have ever been even close to resembling one another. I feel that the intensity has constantly increased year over year. I think the rush against time is never-changing, and the odds and the amount of effort required to overcome life challenges are always unique. Of course, at the same time, the stakes seem to keep getting higher.
We have been investing in new opportunities driven by exceptional entrepreneurs at a rate of 8 deals per year since Fund II (launched in 2007). Over 60% of our deals have been in very early or pre-revenue companies. All of our investments were done in sectors we understand. We have invested in entrepreneurs that we believe in and in large and growing markets that fit our IT cluster strategy (Mobile Internet and Ecommerce, Enterprise SAAS and Cloud-Computing, Digital Media and Communications). Our management’s focused expertise has allowed us to better identify fast growing companies for which we can provide specific insights, and attract complementary skill sets and managerial experience. As a result, many of our investments are either rapidly growing revenue and/or are growing exponentially in their markets. We know that there is nothing easy about building a successful tech company these days. I can only applaud the founders and CEOs that we’ve been privileged enough to work closely with for their constant efforts and energy in making the impossible a reality. Hard work? Yes – and a lot of it! But, most importantly, these entrepreneurs have repeatedly proven that by focusing their energy on the elements of their business they do control, they can learn faster, adjust quicker and gain market validation at much lower cost than anybody else. We have lost 3 of our portfolio companies as a result of not controlling these factors.
With all of what we have gone through over that last 12 months (our re-enforced management team, a rapid portfolio growth, M&A analysis, missed opportunities, liquidations, course-corrections, market changes, unique new investments and high quality deal syndication), I can only be ecstatic when thinking of the work load, challenges and opportunities staring at us right in the eye for 2011.
However, when I come to think of it, I’m not a big fan of New Year Resolutions either (especially since I’ve listed so many in my past that I was never able to respect). I think we should stick to doing what “feels right”, and what drives our deep passion to succeed. I personally put a lot of effort in doing so. I think that what it boils down to is: “Doing more of what one is amazing at, and doing less of what one is mediocre at.” That simple rule makes me a better person, our team stronger and more cohesive, and our fund a great resource for exceptional entrepreneurs who are looking for a helping hand in building great tech companies.
I’m totally psyched, curious, excited and anxious when thinking of what awaits us in 2011: raising a new fund, working with some of the most amazing entrepreneurs on the planet, building up our current portfolio of companies, identifying new opportunities and establishing long lasting relationships… in our own way, helping change the world for a better place!
I’m looking forward to what lies ahead…Happy New Year!
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Tags: Chris Arsenault, Entrepreneurs, iNovia, Learnings, Year 2011