In the almost twenty years I have known Jim Zitek, I have always been impressed with his depth of knowledge. He is one of the rare individuals who combines a practical analytical mind with an understanding of the factors influencing the future. I have learned to admire his character, and appreciate his values, which are at the core of his beliefs Continue Reading...Todd Lefko
Helping new, disruptive technology companies develop and grow their ideas, products, and services in today's volatile economy are what I love to do. My many years...
At Harbor Capital Group Inc. our passion is to help entrepreneurs and investors build successful companies and be rewarded for their vision and risk. We also believe there are significant opportunities today for startup companies and that this is the right time to invest.
However, building a company from scratch is difficult. That's why we have our "Connect" process to serve as a model to help entrepreneurs and investors go through the work that needs to be done to make the startup successful.
After about 20 years in marketing and advertising, I have been involved in and with many companies and lots of products. For example, HVAC control systems at Honeywell, to the introduction of the Xerox 9300 corporate copier, to Diebold's bank security systems, to Cub Foods grocery stores, to financial marketing and advertising at Dain Bosworth (now Dain Rauscher) and many others.
Another 15 years was spent in the financial business as a stockbroker and doing fundamental, technical and cyclical analysis in both public and private companies. I know how important it is to start off right and build over time.
Investing In Startups Requires Great Technology and Great Timing
We know that investing in new, technologies can be very rewarding; but executing new businesses and funding requirements can be difficult.
For example, in 1915 David Sarnoff submitted an idea for a “radio music box” but development was held up by the war. After the war, GE was formed with Sarnoff as VP. He knew radio needed content so in 1921 he broadcast the Jack Dempsey fight and radio took off. Within three years, sales were $83.3 million. In 1926, as General Manager of RCA, he formed the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and made the first commercial television broadcast in 1941 but again development was held up by the war. In 1960 with the broadcast of the first Presidential debates, National Broadcasting Company's revenues took off and by the 1970’s TV commercials were expensive and hard to get.
The Internet, created in the late 1940’s didn’t become a global product overnight; it took the creation of the “World Wide Web” in the early 1990’s to get the explosive growth we’ve seen over the past 20 years. Today, it is challenging television for revenue growth and some predict that much of television programming will be delivered over the Internet in the next few years. Timing is important.
Therefore, we see the world differently. We think getting into a company early at the seed or early-growth stage makes more sense because you can help develop the company from the ground up and make sure it stays viable for years. That's why we use the "Connect" process to develop the company.
Here are some of the things we look for in startups and early-growth companies: do they know why they are developing the company, how to deliver the product or service, have demonstrably superior technology, a large market with niches they can dominate, is the timing right, and is the entire team is on the same page.