Advisory Boards

Possibly the greatest barrier to success faced by early stage science and technology based businesses is the lack of experienced business advisors and an incomplete or non existent business management team. Given our experience with business development and incubation, we have learned that advisory boards can be very helpful and effective in identifying and addressing weaknesses and unrealistic assumptions in entrepreneurs' commercialization plans, business strategies and business models.

The single most important consideration to venture capitalists evaluating prospective deals is typically the strength of the management team. They are particularly concerned that the team include an experienced marketing and sales professional with intimate knowledge of the company's targeted markets. They want to be certain that there is someone who can unlock the doors to the company's prospective customers. Entrepreneurs often face the dilemma of not having the financial resources required to build a team prior to raising financing. Creating a business advisory board or engaging consultants can be an interim step providing entrepreneurs with valuable input without adding unmanageable ongoing payroll costs.

Foundations will work with companies to develop an advisory board to address their specific needs and financial constraints. Based upon our experience with advisory boards, a recommended configuration would include a marketing professional, an experienced entrepreneur, an investor, an attorney, and an accountant. As necessary and appropriate, efforts will be made to convene advisory boards via conference calls in order to minimize costs. This service would be priced at an hourly rate based upon the desired composition. In the case of high potential businesses, a portion of the compensation could be deferred in return for equity.