Recommended reading for technology investors and entrepreneurs

  • Jerry Kaplan, Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure (1994). The story of Go Corporation, founded in 1987 to develop one of the first tablet computers. Go had every advantage: Experienced entrepreneurs, brilliant technologists, and $75 million in venture capital, back when $75 million was Uber money.  Yet it failed. A fascinating story in light of the spectacular success of the iPad some twenty years later.
  • C. Gordon Bell, High Tech Ventures: The Guide for Entrepreneurial Success (1991). Bell was one of the engineers who built Digital Equipment Corporation, the disruptive innovator of its day. A useful guide to understanding what it takes to turn a promising technology or product into a successful business—the first does not automatically generate the second.
  • Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm (1991). The classic analysis of the cycle of technology marketing. Coined the phrase “crossing the chasm” for the difficult task of moving from tech-savvy early adopters to the mainstream market. [Update 5/17/20: Now in its third edition (2014).]
  • Bob Zider, How Venture Capital Works (Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec 1998). A primer on the venture capital business and the economic realities that drive it.
  • Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson, Venture Deals (2012). An up-to-date compendium of everything you ever wanted to know about venture capital, including valuation, term sheets, and how venture deals are structured. [Update 5/17/20: Now in its fourth edition (2019).]

How I spent my summer

Here is the press release for the recent merger of Knowledge Computing Corporation and i2 Ltd. I was part of KCC’s lead investor group and served as Chairman of the Board until the merger:

Tucson, Ariz., July 17 — Knowledge Computing Corporation (KCC), KCC, the premier provider of crime-fighting solutions to leading edge law enforcement agencies nationwide, and makers of the award winning COPLINK Solution Suite®, announced today that it has completed its merger with i2, the premier provider of visual analysis software. “This is a historic event in the company’s evolution” said Robert Griffin former President/CEO of KCC and CEO of newly merged companies, “together; our ability to provide our clients a complete lifecycle solution from the tactical officer through the intelligence community and beyond is unsurpassed in the market. As to what this means for Tucson, KCC plans to retain its operations here and continue to expand them.”

“Our key decision was to focus on the law enforcement market,” CEO Griffin said, “which was struggling with outdated technology that was preventing vital information from getting to the right people in a timely manner. Our mission from day one was to become the leader in providing investigative assistance from the field officer to the command staff with the goal of helping them solve crimes with maximum speed and efficiency.”

Since 2003, KCC’s lead investor has been an affiliate of Tucson real estate and investment firm Diamond Ventures, Inc. “We’re always on the lookout for promising local software and technology companies with the potential to become world-class competitors,” said Tucson business lawyer Robert Fortuno, who oversees technology investments for Diamond Ventures and served as Chairman of KCC’s Board of Directors before the merger. “KCC was a perfect fit—innovative software addressing the critical needs of a market of vital importance to all of us, and a strong, experienced management team capable of achieving results.” Fortuno went on to say, “With new ventures like KCC emerging on the local scene every day, there are lots of interesting companies germinating in our back yard.”

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