Helarctos Ventures: Investing in Seed-Stage Start-Ups
(7 pages of text)
In early 2016, Canada’s venture capital (VC) investment environment was growing and, as a result, exciting new start-ups were fruitfully collaborating with a sophisticated selection of investors. Ajay Joshi, a partner at Helarctos Ventures (HV), a seed-stage venture capital investment fund based in Toronto, Canada, was an experienced entrepreneur in the mobile wireless technology (tech) space and a savvy VC investor. HV, founded in 2013, had invested in 28 tech start-ups, and six of them had been successfully acquired. But even with past successes, in an environment of hungry, enthusiastic start-ups that was getting larger and more diverse every year, Joshi and the HV team needed to continuously re-evaluate their process and be sure that they were relying on the right criteria for evaluating investments. Each investment in a start-up was a major decision and represented a significant and long-term allocation of finite capital, time, and energy. Joshi and HV needed to be sure of their decisions, when surety was in short supply.
This case is designed for undergraduate and graduate business classes in entrepreneurship but may be used in other disciplines that explore the start-up process. The overall purpose of this case is to teach students (as potential entrepreneurs) how experienced venture capital investors think and evaluate opportunities. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Explain how experienced investors evaluate and select opportunities by exploring opportunity evaluation criteria.
- Identify strategies for success and common mistakes and oversights that entrepreneurs make based on experience-based insights from investors.
- Describe the intent and expectations of professional financial investment, particularly “smart money” investment.
Finance and Insurance
Canada; United States, Small, 2015-2018
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