By Taylor Borden, Marketing and Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship
On Thursday, November 10, students and faculty gathered in the Magnolia room to hear from successful Raleigh based entrepreneur Scott Moody as he shared valuable lessons he’s learned in building companies, while investors Mark Rostick and Steve Lux, who have worked with Moody, shared their perspectives on the entrepreneur/investor relationship. The panel was moderated and organized by Dave Felman (‘79), who is a corporate attorney and shareholder in Moody’s business. Felman is also a member of the ICE Advisory Council.
Scott Moody is currently working on K4Connect, a mission based integrated technologies company geared towards empowering older adults and people living with disabilities. “Entrepreneurship is all about people taking a bet on a solution to a problem,” says Moody, which absolutely shines through in the mission and success of K4Connect.
This project has been in the works for several years, and investors Mark Rostick and Steve Lux expressed how excited they were to be a part of it. Both work for venture capital firms who are “looking for technology enabled companies to invest one to five million dollars in,” according to Lux.
When explaining the role of venture capital firms, Lux explained that entrepreneurs don’t jump directly to finding investors once a concept is developed: “You go to friends, family, and fools first to raise the capital.”
Once K4Connect reached the point of being exceedingly easy to use, it was ready for investors. All three men on the panel had several ideas on how this partnership is formed. Moody, as an entrepreneur, feels it is important when choosing investors that — one, they have to be on board with the mission, — and two, you need to really like them,” pointing out that you will most likely spend more time with these people then you will with your spouse.
Rostick, as an investor, agreed: “It’s a forced marriage. Selling part of your company to us is like sharing your child. You get two things when I invest in you: One, me, so you have to decide if that’s worthwhile. Two, intel and reach that other venture firms can’t touch, which helps to solidify a growing business.”
He then elaborated on how investors chose the ventures they partner with: “As an investor, my first question is who is your first customer and what are you selling them. There’s a lot more art in venture capital projections than science. When you’re talking to a couple guys with an idea… All you have is hope, no science, so how much is that hope worth?”
After delving into the specifics of these relationships, Moody left students with his best pieces of advice: “If you really want to be an entrepreneur, get a job. You’re going to learn more there and develop the tools you need to succeed. And don’t forget that a lot of entrepreneurship is about risk and management– but you still have to swing for the fences.”
The event came to a close with a reception, where students could speak individually to the panelists and learn more about what “swing[ing] for the fences” entails.
Scott Moody is the Co-Founder and CEO of K4Connect, which is an integrated solution company designed and developed to meet the evolving needs of the senior living market by way of creating “smart homes.” K4Connect is not Moody’s first venture; he is a serial entrepreneur of technology companies.
Mark Rostick is a Director at Intel Capital based in Raleigh, NC. He focuses on Intel’s investments in storage, enterprise/cloud computing infrastructure and software along with other areas like graphics, media processing, and digital media.
Steve Lux is a Managing Partner at Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners in Tampa, FL. His portfolio consists of high growth, small technology based ventures, two of which were started by Scott Moody.
Dave Felman ’79 is a Corporate Attorney and Shareholder at Hill Ward Henderson in Tampa, FL. He manages the corporate law practice at his firm and focuses on representing companies and investors in investment deals, including mergers and acquisitions. He also serves on the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Advisory Council.