Venture capitalists look at companies with a different set of eyes.
How can you get those eyes to like what they see when they look at your business? That is insight that Chuck Dieveney can share.
Dieveney is managing director of Maryland-based Juggernaut Capital, a venture capital firm that bought a majority share of Studer Group in 2011 for $217 million. The firm sold Studer Group, founded by Quint Studer as a healthcare consulting firm in 1998, in 2015 to Chicago-based Huron Consulting Group for $325 million.
“When we look at companies, we’re looking for three things, beyond normal financial performance,” Dieveney says. “(We look at) their culture; do they believe in performance measures, both internally and externally; and do they know what their customers what their want.
“No. 3 requires a real focus on customers and customer service and understanding your customers,” he says.
Dieveney will speak at EntreCon on Nov. 4 at Pensacola Little Theatre. He is a return presenter from the inaugural conference in 2015.
So what are good examples of companies that really eat, sleep and breathe customer service? Dieveney says Southwest Airlines and Netflix are among the best examples.
Some companies that missed the mark in knowing what their customers want and paid the price? Dieveney cites Blockbuster, Sears and AOL.
His goal for the EntreCon audience to give people tools they can apply from these large-scale examples in their own businesses, regardless of size.
“These were all small companies to start with and small businesses always try to take the experience of others and bring it down to the lower and middle market,” Dieveney says.
At last year’s Entrecon, Dieveney said that startup companies searching for seed money, or an investment from a venture capital firm, must have five, verifiable features:
1) Extremely strong customer relationships.
2) Involved in a strong market poised for more growth.
3) Be very profitable.
4) Competitive in the market in which they exist.
5) Strong CEO and management team.
How can you know if your business is ready for outside investors? Dieveney shared this advice last year: “I think a good rule of thumb is do you have a product that’s working, can you sell it and do you see a path for growth?” he said. “If you can put all of that on paper and data show an investor, then you’re in good shape to go get outside financing.”
He says he’s looking forward to this year’s EntreCon.
“I always enjoy talking to entrepreneurs and people who take their dreams and turn it into a business,” he says.