On Wednesday May 31st, the Boston Foley & Lardner office hosted the third installment of the Boston/New England IoT Meetup series. The Internet of Things (IoT) focuses on the vast network of devices connected to the internet, which collect and exchange data. The event was widely attended by both entrepreneurs and investors from various parts of New England, with Dave Kantaros and Chris McKenna, co-chairs of the firm’s Technology Industry Team, moderating the two panels: The first focusing on the investor side including angels, VCs, and individuals with real IoT deal experience, and the second highlighting leading entrepreneurs and their companies within the greater Boston area.
The investor panel was comprised of four individuals, including Per Suneby of Sternhill Associates, Duane Sword of the Launchpad Venture Group, Sanjay Manandhar of Aerva, and David Vogel of Kayon Partners. They each discussed various ways in which entrepreneurs can make a difference when pitching to investors, and how to ensure your company stands out from others when searching for funding. When pitching an idea to investors, the panelists focused on making sure a presentation was more “than just a PowerPoint,” as well as showing investors that the entrepreneur is “all-in” and fully committed to developing their company. The panelists also described the different types of funding available to start-up companies, and discovered why it is important to understand that some funds may be a better fit for one’s company than other types of funds.
On the second panel, Duane Sword shared his personal experiences on the entrepreneurial side, and was joined by Marc Held of Armada and Andrew Livingston of Urban Mobile Sensors. The entrepreneurs discussed various ways they were able to raise funds for their companies, and shared their opinions regarding how to penetrate certain customer markets. Duane emphasized the balance that must be struck between feeling confident when speaking about your company, while still realizing that input from investors can make the difference in ensuring your company can evolve for success at the next level. All three entrepreneurs noted the importance of always having an end goal in mind, while remaining flexible and being prepared to morph your company into different areas, depending on the needs and demands of the market.