Click here for a larger image Photo Credit: Beacon Hill Photo Permission granted to reproduce photo
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Venture Cafe?
A Venture Café is an informal environment where engineers, business people, and potential investors can get together and talk about starting new high-tech companies.
You can have a Venture Café wherever it is convenient: in a bar, a café, a hotel lobby, or even a fast-food restaurant.
The most important thing is that the setting be neutral, so that either party can get up and leave at any time -- without saying goodbye to the host, or waiting for the check -- if they start to feel uncomfortable.
The ideal Venture Café venue is a café or bar where drinks only cost a couple of dollars.
Why Should Entrepreneurs Attend a Venture Café?
When an idea is new, it seems perfect.
But most ideas for new high-tech businesses require a great deal of tweaking before they can blossom into profitable corporations.
When cultivating a new idea, it is often useful to bounce the idea off fellow technologists, angel investors, and venture capitalists (VCs) before spending huge amounts of time and money to turn the idea into a new business.
A Venture Café is a place where entrepreneurs can talk about their ideas, listen to other people's ideas, and provide constructive criticism.
The underlying assumption behind a Venture Café is that everyone who has a sincere interest in starting a new high-tech company -- or in helping those who do -- can contribute something to the general pool of information.
A would-be entrepreneur might participate by listening to someone's idea and making a suggestion about how it could be improved.
Or, she might participate by listening to an entrepreneur recount the various obstacles she has had to overcome and saying, "Yep, you're right. That's how it is."
Entrepreneurs often disagree about what would be the best way to exploit a new business opportunity.
Sometimes, the "constructive criticism" that gets doled out at a Venture Café can be awfully hard to take.
But most entrepreneurs would prefer to get the difficult questions from their fellow technologists, in the informal setting of a bar or café, rather than in the formal setting of a VC's office.
After all, VCs tend to be much more difficult to deal with when they are evaluating an idea in front of their partners.
And corporate lawyers can charge hundreds of dollars an hour for their services.
Can Going to a Venture Café Increase My Chances of Obtaining Venture Capital Funding?
Talking one's ideas over with fellow entrepreneurs provides a good way for an entrepreneur to see the flaws that are inherent in his business plan.
An entrepreneur will be much more successful if he spends some time identifying the problems associated with his business, and coming up with solutions to the problems, before he asks professional VCs and angel investors to invest in his business.
The most valuable thing you can get out of a Venture Cafe is a referral -- to an angel investor, a technologist who is looking for work, or a potential customer.
What Are The Hot Areas for Investment Right Now?
It would also help if you could line up a guaranteed exit strategy, and if your accountant can prove that your company will definitely become profitable next month.
Barring that, you're going to have to spend some time at entrepreneurial networking events, making friends with a few venture capitalists.
What lessons have high-tech entrepreneurs learned from
the recent stock market crash?
If you could give entrepreneurs three pieces of advice, what would
Why is There a Coffee Cup on the Front Cover?
The coffee cup on the front cover is meant to symbolize all of the cafés, restaurants, bars, and hotel lobbies where engineers and business people meet to discuss their ideas.
Why Is It So Important to Screen Your Potential Business Associates?
If you have a good idea, and you understand your technology, and the problem you are solving really needs to be solved, lots of people will want to get involved with your business.
Your job as an entrepreneur is to make sure you only accept help from the right people.
Why Shouldn't I Work With Everyone Who Wants To Help?
The most valuable things you have when you are starting a new business are your enthusiasm for your idea and your ability to develop solid trust relationships.
You want to preserve your ability to trust other people for as long as possible.
Why Did You Write The Venture Café?
I wanted to find out how a 22-year-old kid could turn a class project into a $90 million company.
This is what I learned: Before a 22-year-old can turn a class project into a $90 million company, he needs to get help from the right people.
I wanted to show readers that the secret to building a great high-tech company is building a great network of business contacts.
Finally, I wanted to remind would-be entrepreneurs that the best way to build a great network is to attend lots and lots of informal networking events, and to follow up these meetings by inviting people out for a cup of coffee.
What is Pehr doing now?
Who Should Buy The Venture Café: Secrets, Strategies, and Stories From America's High-Tech Entrepreneurs?
I wrote The Venture Café specifically for:
I hope that The Venture Café will help engineering professors, business school professors, chamber of commerce representatives and other community leaders understand the power they can exert by bringing people together to talk about starting new high-tech companies.
Can I Read a Sample Chapter For Free?
Can I Read a Free Essay?