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
November 2nd, 2012
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.
March 9th, 2012
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.
January 30th, 2012
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?
January 10th, 2012
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.
December 31st, 2011
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.
September 7th, 2011
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).
March 1st, 2011
What’s my baby worth? Figuring that out is the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face when attracting investors. Many negotiations break down over this issue. The good news is that there are contractual mechanisms that can be used to resolve any disparities.
January 1st, 2011
Over the years, I’ve written a number of articles to assist entrepreneurs, especially tech entrepreneurs, with an understanding of business matters. On the Simon Fraser University Website, much of this can be found at www.sfu.ca/~mvolker/biz. These articles are in the process of being updated, with new ones added, and will gradually start showing up on this website.