E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Although innovation can be wonderful, there is something to be said for sticking to the basics. In fact, that is how venture capitalists seemingly have come to feel about high-tech companies as they contemplate which to fund with now-limited resources. Those who remember the manic days of VC funding during the Internet boom may find the current climate jarring by comparison. But although the money shortage may be new, venture capitalists' perspective is downright old-school.
The company I founded (TOTALEquips, the TOTAL Source for Sports) ran headfirst into the e-commerce crash, and potential funders crumbled in front of us like rotten wood slats on a rope bridge. We have worked around the e-commerce offerings we originally planned to spearhead our launch, instead featuring our revolutionary institutional offerings, and letting the e-commerce consumer side take a back seat.
We also seem to be fighting the dot-com antipathy, even though, as your article says, ours is a traditional business, using the Internet to streamline the order process and communication among the various constituents. This represents the appropriate 90-10 rule about introduction of new services, with 90% of the method consistent with the way things are done now, and 10% change, which will move the industry into the current century. The benefits to the coaches and athletic directors are immense, and already deemed necessary by these buyers, even before our launch.
All our discussions with industry players echo the same question: This is so great! Why hasn't this been done before? The answer? We thought of it first.
Nonetheless, no investor outside of our first angels has reached into their pockets yet. In order to get this moving and launched, we have slashed our valuation, have found a much cheaper web development method, and are building our site with our first angel cash to prove the model and start sales. Hopefully these initiatives will allow us to bring in the institutional money we will need to become the major player in this $60 billion market.
Any help, ideas or (of course) investment capital would be very welcome.