Friday, March 16, 2012

Spotlight: Startup Guru Michael Greenley's Screen, Exeter '81

Michael Greenley, Exeter '81, graduated with a Chemistry degree with honors from Williams College. He had his eye on a lab and was sure to cure worldly diseases but took a seemingly harmless detour to Wall Street for a summer as an Investment Banker and hasn't looked back. Since then, he has received his MBA from Harvard Business School and is now a General Partner at Flybridge Captial Partners whose principle investment focus area is the application of "Big Data" platforms across various industry verticals. He is also serves on various different Venture Capital Boards and even served as the Chairman and President of the New England Venture Capital Association.

From his company website:

Michael founded IDG Ventures Atlantic in 2001 before it transitioned to Flybridge Capital Partners in 2008.  Michael served on the board of International Data Group, the flagship Limited Partner for the IDG Ventures global network of funds.
Previously, Michael was with Polaris Venture Partners, where he focused on both early-stage and later-stage financings for emerging growth companies. Before Polaris, Michael served as Senior Vice President and Founding Partner of GCC Investments, a $200 million private equity fund.  Prior to GCC Investments, Michael was a Vice President and one of the early professionals at Wasserstein Perella & Co., an international merchant bank with a $1.0 billion private equity fund.  Additionally, Michael was a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions Department of Morgan Stanley & Co. and worked in the Leveraged Buyout Group of Credit Suisse First Boston.

Flybridge is no small Venture Capital firm, it has over $600m in assets and has projects lining up to get a seed.
Of the 350 to 450 qualified introductions each Flybridge partner gets every year, each partner might actually invest in one to three companies. To find those few companies, Flybridge applies four screens:
  • Fit with focus. At the first meeting with a candidate company, Flybridge screens for fit with its industry/product focus. Between 50 and 100 of the referred companies pass this first test.
  • Basic tests. If a company passes the first test, Flybridge applies a battery of other ones: How good is the team? Is the company targeting a big enough market? Does the company satisfy a customer pain point better than the competition? Can Flybridge understand its technology? Can Flybridge invest enough in the company to preserve its interest over later rounds?
  • Diligence decision. Flybridge holds partners meetings from 7 am to 2 pm each Monday. If companies pass the first two tests, they get presented to Flybridge partners at these meetings. Partners then rate each candidate company and vote on whether to conduct due diligence.
  • Final screen. If the partners decide to conduct due diligence, they will make between 15 and 40 telephone calls to check on the company’s customers, technology, and management team. And if all of those check out, Flybridge will try to negotiate an investment in the start-up on terms that work for the firm and the start-up.

via Exeter

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