Here’s Mike:

Michael Volker is an Entrepreneur active in the development of new high technology ventures. A University of Waterloo Engineering grad, Mike started his own company (Volker-Craig Ltd) in 1973. He sold this company in 1981 and then decided to work with entrepreneurs in building new companies. He is presently the director of Simon Fraser University's Innovation Office. Check out his latest two projects: Greenangel Energy Corp, [GAE.V] a public company that invests in green technologies and WUTIF - the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund - an "angel" fund for start-ups. To further encourage tech entrepreneurship, Mike runs the Vancouver Angel Network, VANTEC and he's also quite active with New Ventures BC - an annual business competition. Mike was also chairman of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum for several years.

Business Basics for Engineers is a series of notes prepared by Mike on business matters relating to technology companies. A guide for writing a Business Plan is featured. This includes reprints of various articles and columns. Mike teaches a basic business course (ENSC201) and an Intellectual Property Management course (MBA-MOT) at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. He is also Entrepreneur in Residence at CERT in Abu Dhabi, the commercialization arm of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates.

Mike's Columns on high tech and high tech stocks: T-Net: www.bctechnology.com (go to bottom of home page) Technology Futures: On-Line Columns HiTech BC list: www.hitechbc.com



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Better Terms = Better Outcomes

Many exits happen at much lower than expected values. Even a three or four fold increase in company valuation may not produce positive returns for the early risk-taking investors. Angel investors and first-round investors are taking it on the chin all too often. Here’s how to stop it.

BCSC Considering Crowdfunding Exemption

Just a day after I wrote about Crowdfunding becoming the new VSE, the BC Securities Commission issued a notice requesting comment on the idea of a new crowdfunding exemption that would allow companies to raise a small amount of capital (max $150K) from investors in small amounts (max $1500).

Crowdfunding = Going Public

The more I think about equity crowdfunding the more I believe that this is going to be the new VSE (Vancouver Stock Exchange). It’s almost inevitable when you stop and think about it. Doesn’t “crowd” mean “public”? So why is crowdfunding any different?

Equity Crowdfunding – Doing it Right (for discussion)

Equity Crowfunding – the selling of shares in new ventures to the general public – can give entrepreneurs access to a vast resource of new capital. While this will stimulate the creation of more companies and jobs, not everyone thinks that this is a good idea. Securities regulators are worried about investors losing out due to fraud or flaky deals – not to mention the high risk associated even with the best deals.  This article puts forward some suggestions – for discussion purposes – on how we can make it work – right here in Canada.

Making the Business Case

Thinking about starting a business? Why? Can you explain what the business opportunity is and how you will make money? I hear hundreds of pitches every year from budding entrepreneurs. Their main challenge is making the business case.

Capital Prohibitions and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding Gains Momentum

The U.S. Senate has passed legislation (March 2012) that will essentially legalize crowdfunding in startups by practically anyone. The “CROWDFUND Act” was passed earlier this month so that companies would be able to use SEC-approved crowdfunding platforms to raise money from “small-dollar investors. And, what are we doing here in Canada?

Musings from the Consumer Electronics Show

This week, I made my annual pilgrimage to the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show & Conference in Las Vegas (CES) – an annual event that I’ve been coming to for many years (actually, I came to the first COMDEX in 1979 as an exhibitor and when it disappeared in 2003, I started attended the CES which filled some of the void.) Today, there are more exhibitors in attendance than there were attendees back then.

The Importance of a Shareholders Agreement

A company is owned by its shareholders who, in turn, appoint a board of directors and officers. The person (or persons) who have more than 50% of the voting shares determine who the directors and officers will be. These officers and directors will then run the company. A Shareholders Agreement is essential in giving minority shareholders certain rights and in defining how a company will be governed.

Business Basics – Negotiating a Term Sheet

A “Term Sheet” is a document that summarizes the terms of an investment. It’s usually proposed by the investor(s) and spells out what they want in order to proceed with an investment. I’m not sure why it’s not called a “Terms Sheet” since there are many terms in it. Perhaps that came about because the terms offered by an investor were good for a specified term (time period).