All the HOT companies are in the Silicon Valley - Right? Of course not. Great ideas and great entrepreneurs come from everywhere. Luckily so do strong investor partners and advisors and a great example is Rick Gibson, Managing Director of HOTventures, a "mentor capital fund" for the Southwest U.S., which invests in and advises fast-growth companies, specializing in Information Technology, BioSciences, GreenTech and Media. As an investor and entrepreneurial activist, he’s totally immersed in early-stage growth companies...finding them, making them great, and helping them reach that magical moment, a liquidity events. Rick has been an investor, advisor or board member in: Avisere, The Book Patch, Bourque Industries, CopperKey, Flypaper, Funding Universe, GridCoNet, High Throughput Genomics, IVIS, Medipacs, MedSphere, MDS VetInfo, MojoVideo, MSDx, Octopi, Real Time Companies, Regenesis, StrongWatch, USU2India, Virtual Learning Technologies, World Wide Wheat and Zero Waste Wine. He was a limited partner in Solstice Capital II (one of the largest venture capital funds in Arizona) and is a shareholder in Bill Gross’ Idealab.
Rick is also part of the panel of investors who will joining us at AZEC10, the fifth annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference on November 17, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The annual investor's panel is a perennial conference favorite along with keynotes from national thought leaders and local CEOs who will share their lessons from along the growth path. (To see more about all the AZEC10 speakers click here.)
As part of our continuing series on who you will meet at AZEC10, I asked Rick a few questions and this is what he had to share...
JKW: How do you see your role in AZ’s entrepreneurial eco-system?
RG: My firm HOTventures builds fast-growth companies. Throughout AZ, I serve as investor, fundraiser, board member, mentor, coach, speaker and deal guy. I am constantly am looking for awesome companies, and then acting as a catalyst to help them succeed.
JKW: How long has your business been in AZ and how has it grown?
RG: HOTventures is now 10 years old. It began as an opportunity which looked easy then. We began with zero assets and created potentially millions of dollars of value. Time will tell. Call me back in about two years.
JKW: That's pretty impressive growth. Who helped you along the growth path?
RG: Several people. Often it was about finding the right deals at the right time. I have been lucky to work with some really amazing people. As you know, I have a long history with Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, then Harry George, managing director of Solstice Capital. I was able to be part of the Desert Angels from the very first meeting, and served on its board and screening committee. I was lucky to get involved with Invest Southwest and meet lots of AZ’s best entrepreneur’s over the years.
JKW: You lead your own team and support the leaders of your portfolio companies. Have you ever gotten stuck? What was your “reset” ?
RG: I am forever finding major revelations. Since my role is to make difficult things happen, getting stuck happens regularly. Often we find a way, sometimes we don’t. Once in a while, I get deep into something and it fails. I had one a couple of years ago, and I am still fixing it.
JKW: What do you plan to achieve between AZEC10 and AZEC11?
RG: Meet ten awesome entrepreneurs and try to help some of them.
JKW: WHY did you choose to support OTEF and AZEC10? Why will you be there?
RG: There are rare occasions like this to meet entrepreneurs, at this stage in the game, who are looking to build themselves. I can’t wait.
JKW: And I can't wait either. Every time I am around Rick and the other great leaders who join us at AZEC I learn something new. They share lots on event day and all through the year. For example, here is a quote from the HOTventures website - some great rules to live by for companies of every size...
Rules To Live By
It is good to trust, but much better to know (not just to trust)
Focus on what should be done, not just what you can do. Then put all effort into how you can do it. While this is much harder, it not only provides the best solution for your customers, but the biggest deterrence to your competition
It is not as simple as knowing what to do. For example, most people know what foods are necessary for an ideal diet and how much they should exercise. However, most lack the discipline to actually perform to this knowledge. Knowledge is good, but the ability to execute is much better.
(Rick Gibson - HOT Ventures)
Don't miss your opportunity to hear more from Rick and our other great panelists, CEOs and thought leaders at AZEC10 on November 17th.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned. There will be more AZEC10 behind the scenes glimpses between now and the conference.
Note: Joan Koerber Walker serves as Chairman of the Board of The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship foundation,which is the host organization and sole beneficiary of AZEC10. To learn more about OTEF, visit www.otef.org.