The second day of the Social Innovation Fellows Boot Camp was all about the Ms—Metrics, Models, and Moolah, as well as the big S—Scalability. A great presentation with value for nonprofit and for-profit entrepreneurs came from John Balen from Canaan Ventures, a VC firm in the areas of technology and health care, among others. One questioner asked the natural question about the challenges for companies seeking investment in the current economic meltdown. Balen made the following points:
1) They've surveyed their entrepreneurs and found similar responses—you don’t hire as fast, you work harder with the group you have, you cut down your expenses.
2) "America does not fold up its tent." Investors are not going to stop seeking great opportunities. Their firm made some very successful investments at the depth of the last downturn.
3) When money's tight, it can lead you to form better relationships with quality people based on trust. "You find out who your friends are when things are tough, not when things are great, and that’s the kind of people you want in your business. "