Allan Isfan is a co-founder of FaveQuest, a young start-up. This blog covers start-up topics.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


kicking it up a notch

The tree is finally down, all the millions of pine needles cleaned up, labelled boxes back in the basement and the kids going back to school tomorrow. It kinda sucks really ... it was really fantastic hanging out with my wife and kids for days and days and no cares in the world. Everyone healthy, relaxed, happy. It is now back to reality. Not a bad reality mind you ... but it is time to get really serious about business.

I would like to take you back and do a quick review of 2006 to give you a sense for what has transpired since I quit my job last April. I'll also share a few important items that will be happening over the next few months.

Mid April
1) , 2006: Quit job as Senior Product Marketing Director at Ciena after 7 years
-an extremely difficult thing to do when you're not rolling in dough ... but necessary
2) Launch Isfan Solutions Inc. with my wife and begin consulting for a couple of tech companies while she continues freelancing in graphic design
3) Join Skypoint Capital as Entrepreneur In Residence

4) Spend summer kicking around ideas with several different groups in various spaces such as RFID, WiFi and WiMAX, DSL, Distributed Servers
5) Decide to stop trying to get onto moving trains and get out of internet plumbing business ... I'll be the founder of whatever I do and it won't be on infrastructure

6) Share a short list of ideas with VC. Some good ones in the lot but only one is really keeping me up at night ... and it is probably the hardest one as it is furthest from my direct experience
7) Swallow hard and set a course ... research and capture thoughts like crazy ..... a very exciting time

8) Team comes together and we have first boardroom meeting in my kitchen/dinning room with a borrowed projector, the kitchen table and a bed sheet.
-this was a great great night that I will remember for ever (plus we have it captured with an expensive HD camera just in case)

9) Share update with VC. Goes ok. Some happy, some less happy with progress.
-several lessons learned 1) set clear expectations 2) need to work on pitch really hard ... in retrospect it wasn't very good (wasn't supposed to be a pitch ... but it always really is)
10) Some fantastic meetings with potential senior advisers and partners ... potential senior team members, great advice, excellent connections, great potential help to develop concept ....
11) Take a breather during holidays

Early January
12) Review team and shake things up ... only the best will do ... must believe, work like crazy and deliver

Ok so everyone is caught up. What is the plan moving forward? Of course, I can't share the details but the following can be said:

-what we are doing is still awesome and continues to get better ... I'm more pumped than ever
-need to add some critical advisers and senior members ... will be going hard to fill out team
-VC road trips start in February
-I expect to be depressed 75% of the time during this faze ... it is going to be brutal and I expect to wake up in the middle of night many times wondering what the hell I was thinking
-kicking off regular interviews on local Ottawa TV station to follow the "entrepreneur's story" ... also trying to get coverage from main newspaper
-I'll be getting access to the video and will share it with you. The first installment should happen this month.
-launch a few features in coming months to test the waters and use as learning opportunity
-will set-up invitation only trial ... I'll let you know when we are ready
-raise seed round (<$1M) in spring with A round in the fall ... may look at angel money as long it comes from the right sources and doesn't poison opportunity with VCs

It is going to be a wild wild year! Thank you for continuing to check out the blog. I'll do my best to post at least once a week and sometimes two if I can squeeze it in. I may also use this post for recruiting people with some very specific skills so keep checking it out.


Allan Isfan


Anonymous Mike Hogan said...

Great to hear things are moving along. As always I'm looking forward to hearing more. I've been crazy busy on my new design but as things slow down I'm sure I'll be seeing you on monday mornings.

Take care and Happy New Year!!

10:15 PM


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