Dr. John D. Sanders • 843-491-6060john@johnsanders.com

"New Ventures"

What an incredible time we are living in for new ventures and exciting new products and services. Truly we are seeing a "peace dividend" with a financial environment for entrepreneurs and large companies alike to seek new business horizons-- domestically and internationally. Sometimes I feel like a kid in a candy shop, surveying the new companies that are being formed and promoted. It’s hard to decide what to invest in, or even what to follow-- because there are so many exciting new ventures.

Just look at the names of some of the Initial Public Offerings of stock that occurred in 1996: Xionics Document Technologies, Industri-Matematik International, Open Vision Technologies, Planning Sciences International, Prism Solutions, Splash Technology Holdings, XLConnect Solutions, Cable Sat Systems, Sound Source Interactive, Online System Services, Research Engineers, AlphaNet Solutions, Spatial Technology, Silicon Gaming, Factset Research Systems, Microleague Multimedia, Digex, I2 Technologies, OneWave, Storm Technology, CyberCash, Gensym Corporation, Infonautics, Quadramed, Raster Graphics, Visigenic Software, VocalTec, Wiztec Solutions, Legacy Software, Trusted Information Systems, Digital Data Networks, 4Front Software International, NICE-Systems, Axent Technologies, Affinity Technology Group, Raptor Systems, OzEmail Limited, SCB Computer Technology, Documentum, Forte Software, Xylan, Analogy, Imagematrix, Microvision, Cylink, Reality Interactive, SmartServ Online, Bell Technology, Aspect Development, BroadVision, Excite, PowerCerv, Vanstar, Xybernaut, CompuRAD, ULTRADATA, Spanlink, Cotelligent, Optika Imaging Systems, OrCAD, Cerion Technologies.

Just those companies listed above raised more than $125 million in equity capital-- and this is just the tip of the iceberg of emerging enterprises that have obtained new funds for development and marketing. And, you’ve just got to be excited about these new names for our technology business vocabulary-- that is, unless you’re braindead or want to bury your head in the sand.

The other morning it was announced here in the Washington, DC area where I live that a new venture fund was being formed with $25 million to invest in early-stage technology companies. However, this new fund joins at least a dozen others in this region that have raised well more than $200 million in private funds to finance entrepreneurial corporations expanding into broadening markets with technological developments. Yes, and I have personally invested in a number of early-stage technology companies.

Sure, some of these guys will fail. And, I agree that there are many entrepreneurs that might even deserve funding more than those that have been fortunate to receive it. But, it’s really happening. If your organization is sitting on "exciting" technologies that should be moved to the marketplace, then get cracking to help find the capital, marketing and management talent to get them off the shelf. It’s not the government financing deals these days, it’s the economy and the investment community.

These new technologies that are coming into our lives are changing the ways we do business, how our children will learn and communicate, product marketing, medical services and information, and just about any other facet of our living standards. Don’t just sit on the sidelines waiting for the world to beat a path to your door, study the markets and learn where the action is-- then be a positive catalyst for action and organization.

You bet there’s a peace dividend, and we’re all better off because of it.

I would appreciate comments; contact me at Technology Transfer Business magazine: phone: 703-848-2800, ext. 151; e-mail: john@johnsanders.com; internet: www.johnsanders.com.

prepared for the January, 1997 Issue of the FLC NewsLink