The “Other 75%”.

Ah yes… the glamorous life!  Meeting with new companies and putting capital to work.  Investments, press releases and Board meetings.  Cigars and Martini’s.  The super exciting job of a VC.

Except that… for most successful VCs… this high profile, in the spotlight part, makes up very little of the job.  Yes, I imagine there are some folks out there that will write an entrepreneur a check and then leave that person alone.  But to proceed this way presumes  an awful lot about the skills, experience and connections of folks that are typically on the front end of the youth and experience curves.  It is also probably the pathway to mediocre or poor investment returns.

For a good VC, maybe 25% (or maybe less) of the time is spent finding the investments.  The rest of the time is spent making them successful.

During this “other 75%” the VCs job is to:

  1. Hold the CEO accountable for deadlines, plans, and deliverables.
  2. Block or push for major events in the company’s life (future fundraises, acquisitions, selling the company etc.)
  3. Provide great strategic advice
  4. Help with recruiting senior executives or key hires.
  5. Teach entrepreneurs about the nuts and bolts of the business, or processes as you scale

I often talk about a VC making sure that a company has achieved enough to merit the next funding round.  That might be completing a beta release or building customer traction or filling out the team with high quality hires.  As a capitalist, the VC wants to make sure that the next round of funding is at a higher value than the last one.  A CEO will want to achieve these things, and the VC will try to make sure that nothing slides.

Or what about a $40 million acquisition offer?  That might be a lot of money to a young entrepreneur.  But what if that is selling the company short of its potential. Putting these types of things into perspective based on experience is of real value to the management team of a portfolio company. At least it should be.

Maybe most important, especially for an early stage investment is the hard work of positioning, messaging and go-to-market.  The skill sets of building a tech product and of marketing that product are not the same.  A VC, sometime as a function of protecting an investment from failing, or sometimes as a function of fostering growth will spend time with his management teams to make sure they know, who to get to, how to get them and what to say once they get there. For many CEOs, this is the area that guidance is most needed and most welcomed.

This is roll up your sleeves type of work.  It’s not particularly glamorous.  I don’t expect that anyone is going to feel particularly bad for a VC who does this type of work.  So why am I telling you this?  Because you need to hold your VC accountable to that “Other 75%”.  You need to ask the right questions when you are finding your VC.  You need to make sure that you have found a person who cares that your company is going to be successful and does everything in their power to make that so.

At very least, if a VC is going to make you work that hard to get the money, you should make sure that she or he is willing to work that hard once she or he gives it to you.  If not, your company is only getting 25% of what it deserves.

Be an Outlier

Here’s a question I get pretty often.  “How can I become a VC?”

Let’s start with the premise that there are a lot of well educated, solidly experienced people in this profession.  If you are part of this crowd, your odds are better but probably still not good.  If you are not a part of this group… your odds are terrible, but still not zero.

The way I would recommend going about it is the following:

1) Be an expert in something relevant.  Be the person who knows everything about ‘de-duplication algorithms’ or be a go-to resource on eCommerce fashion sites.  You have to have a way to add value.  If you are doing the same thing as everyone else a) the decision comes down to a credentials contest b) you won’t even get a chance to show your stuff and c) why does a VC firm need you anyway.

2) Know the job.  Even if you have never done the job before, figure out what is required and gain those skills.  Get a job spec from someone hiring and figure out the skills you need.  Maybe that means doing valuations of private companies for free.  Maybe that means understanding portfolio management software (do a demo) or CRM.  Maybe its exit analysis or term sheet negotiation (take a class).  Maybe it’s consulting to startups.  Maybe it’s getting a tangential job so that you have these skills on your resume.  Entrepreneurs often make good VCs.  Corporate strategists also. Nobody is going train you and nobody is going to tell you what to do.

3) Know the ecosystem.  If the VC you want to work at invests in FinTech, you better know all the FinTech companies.  Be familiar with the up and coming startups and the companies that have exited.  You better have as much depth as any one that you might deal with in that industry.  In fact, it’s helpful if you know more than most.  That means not only know about the companies, but knowing people in the companies.  That means networking… lots of networking.

4) Know the community.  There is no VC in the world that will simply look at a handful of random resumes to find their next employee.  They simply don’t have to.  Instead they will hire someone they know and are comfortable with.  They will hire a friend of a friend.  They will hire someone that went to their Alma Mater.  The bottom line is that it not as easy as going on an interview, killing it and getting a job.  So the interview has to start months before you get the job.  Go to the VCs office hours.  Send her something helpful and unique.  Respond to their blog posts with something more than feint praise.  And again NETWORK!  Go to events.  Immerse yourself in the community.

If you are looking at this list thinking “that looks kind of hard,” you should probably forget about it.  If you are thinking, “it’s 11:03pm, now is a good time to get started,” you might have a shot.

Build yourself a map of skills.  Make a list of how you can acquire those skills.  Work backwards from the point of success.  But, above all, make sure that you are developing a unique skill that is of value.  That’s the only way in the back door.

Be an outlier!

Lessons From MCA

On Friday Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died of cancer.  He was 47 years old.  In my case, the drag is that this is one of the bands that was just starting out when I was in college.  It is a stark reminder to me that the clock keeps ticking.  I guess were are reminded about that all of the time.

In this case there are a number of things worth recalling about the Beastie Boys when they came on the scene and learning from.

Foremost, the Beastie Boys were completely revolutionary.  A bunch of white guys fusing rock and rap – it almost didn’t make sense.  And yet they connected.  They did something completely original and found an emotional level that has resonated for more than three decades.  A lesson that completely translates into Entrepreneurship – be original, do something that gets to a base need – duh.

Maybe you don’t know this, or maybe you did – for the first couple years, the band couldn’t play a note. It took MCA and the boys a couple albums to acquire those chops.  They relied on producers, studio musicians and samples of other peoples music (which was hugely popular at the time).  As we translate this into Brooklyn Startup speak, I wouldn’t go as far as to say ‘no technology, no problem’, but I do think building a demo or a mobile app can be outsourced for a short time until technical talent is brought in house. Initially, (for some companies) that’s just not the most important part.

Let’s finally touch on talent.  I wouldn’t call them talentless, but come on, “you gotta fight for your right to party”?  And the truth is they weren’t exactly melodic. It sounds like kind of barking into a microphone.  They essentially made something out of nothing.  At first they did it by force of energy and enthusiasm.  They did it by perseverance.  They did it by hustle.  Then they backfilled. But the thing is… they did it.  They took a chance. They had a vision.  If you have a vision – now is the time because the clock keeps ticking.

And finally, the Beastie Boys were (and are) from Brooklyn.  They were proud of it.  They were the epitome of that gritty, tough, smart, working class and creative class that we often brag about today.  They are part of the identity of Brooklyn.  That’s plenty.

RIP MCA

Work Backwards

Sometimes I hear from entrepreneurs, “Well, we are not sure how much we want to raise.”

So the obvious thing is… have a little conviction.  Know your business.  Know your goals.  Know your needs.  If, as the founder of the business, you don’t know what you need, then I as the person funding the business for sure don’t know.  And by the way, my level of confidence in you just went down. Oh yeah… and why would you sell more of your company at a lower valuation than you absolutely had to?

Hopefully you wouldn’t.  What I can do is give a little guidance about how you should think about what you need.  Besides management bandwidth, the most important input (at the beginning) is cash.  So managing the business from one cash inflow to the next is reasonable.  Let’s take an example:

Let’s say that a company is going to raise a Seed round.  How much should they raise?  After the Seed round, the next cash input will be the Series A funding.  Logically, the company should raise enough money to merit a Series A funding plus a little cushion.

What merits a Series A funding?  There has been a lot written about what VCs expect in order to lead a Series A.  You can Google that.  Or better yet you can personally ask VCs as you cultivate relationships in advance of the first priced round.  You should be getting to know VCs well before hand.  So ask them what it will take to merit a Series A funding.  When the time is right to raise a Series A and you return with the list completed it will be that much harder for the VC to say ‘no’.

For the purpose of this example, a Series A would be merited if the company has a working beta product and proof that either a sufficient number or a sufficient quality of customers would be willing to pay for the product.  The backfill is that the market is large, in need of disruption and you have some competitive differentiation.  We will assume that this is the case.

Okay. The amount of the Seed funding is enough to get the company from where it is today to where it needs to go in order to merit a Series A, plus a little cushion.  How much time does that take?  How much rent?  How much labor?  How much infrastructure?  How much travel?  Budget everything plus 20% more, plus a little cushion.

That’s how much you should raise and not much more.

If a VC wants to give you more, think about how that moves the bar of what you need to accomplish.  Think about how that effects valuation and timing of the next cash input.  Make sure that this is acceptable and achievable.

Work backwards.

Mounting Obligation

If you follow the New York startup scene (and Brooklyn in particular) you probably know the today was a big day.

Mayor Bloomberg announced an academic and private-sector consortium to create the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (aka CUSP) in Downtown Brooklyn at the old MTA headquarter building.  Over the next five years, 370 Jay Street will be reconfigured into a research and science campus.  Approximately 150,000 square feet of the space will be designed for classrooms, offices and laboratory space, with an additional 40,000 square feet programmed for the creation of an incubator for businesses spun off by CUSP or CUSP-related research. The remaining building space may be used by NYU for the future expansion of CUSP, other academic uses or for commercial tenants who are seeking to locate near CUSP.

The academic partners of NYU and NYU-Poly are City University of New York, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Toronto, University of Warwick, and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.  The private industry partners include two Lead Founding Partners – technology giants IBM and Cisco – who each will provide $1 million a year in financial and in-kind support. There are also four Founding Corporate Partners – ConEdison, National Grid, Siemens, Xerox – who will provide $500,000 a year in financial and in-kind support to CUSP, and three Founding Consulting Partners – AECOM, Arup, and IDEO -who will provide up to $150,000 per year of consulting services at cost.

First classes are in a year in a Metrotech leased space.  First classes in the refurbished building are in 2017.  Today’s press conference is here and the press release is here.

You have to admit that this in combination with the announcement of a Cornell Engineering campus on Roosevelt Island (made this past winter) is a serious commitment to engineering, entrepreneurship and technology.  And… it’s not clear that the Mayor is finished working deals with other interested Engineering schools.

Also today the results of a survey done by the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, in partnership with The DUMBO Improvement District announced the results of a survey they took.  They have identified over 500 innovation firms (I have no idea what that means, but I guess that they have some technology or startup type affiliation) in the the Brooklyn Tech Triangle.  They also figured out that of the commercially zoned real estate in DUMBO (the heart of this area) only has 3% vacancy.

This brings us to the mounting obligation in the title.

We, as a tech community, have an obligation for build an ecosystem worthy of the talent that is being home grown.  We have to build great tech companies where these newly created engineers can learn the ropes.  We need to have an entrepreneurial culture that makes the best talent choose to come and stay in NYC. We must be able to match the access to capital, mentors and industry leaders that the best technology centers in the world offer. It is on us to do this.

More importantly the political leaders have created an obligation to provide the environment for startups to thrive.  That means:

  • Infrastructure – high quality access and connectivity to the cloud.
  • Favorable tax treatment
  • Good public transportation
  • Commercial zoning for technology companies
  • etc.

How could the local government make such a large investment in becoming a technology education center and then let that talent go someplace else, because the condition weren’t right to start their company?  The answer has to be –  they can’t.  With the announcements of the last couple months, promises have essentially been made that must be followed through on.  To not do so would be a shame and a waste.

I do think that elected officials know that they have promises to keep.  And I think they intend to do so.  But I also think that we have an obligation to make sure they follow through.

DUMBO Events On Wednesday April, 25th

This coming Wednesday, April 25th there are two Venture events in DUMBO.  I’m psyched to be going to both.

The first is D3 – DUMBO Demo Day Hosted by Digital DUMBO & NYU-Poly, Sponsored by Turnstone.  As you can see from the extra long group of hosts and sponsors, the first one of these events was a hit and more affiliates are getting involved.  This event starts at 6:15pm and goes to about 8:30pm.

The companies presenting are:

I think the best part, besides the company presentations, is the networking that goes on afterwards. Unfortunately for me I have to duck out early to get to the second event.

The second is DUMBO Startup Lab Open House Event.  The reason why I’m so concerned about arriving on time is because I’m the guest speaker.  In case you don’t know what DUMBO Startup Lab is, it’s a new co-working space , but with a bunch of programing to help entrepreneurs get their hands around what it takes to build a startup.  In think the aspiration is to be Brooklyn’s version of General Assembly.  This event starts at 8pm and goes until it’s finished.  You can get a free ticket to this event here.

However, in case you can’t make it, I’ve decided to preview my short DSL talk on this blog post.  So here goes:

1) Why NYC is a great place for startups
From my perspective, the inputs required for building an innovation center that fosters startups are the following:

  • Intellectual Capital – a source of creativity, a source of academia, a source of ideas
  • Technological input – access to engineers, data scientists, business development skills
  • Financial Capital – Angels and Venture Capitalists willing to put money to work on good ideas (also continuous flow of funds into the the community on infrastructure)
  • A base of industries/customers that can provide revenue and mentoring to startups
  • An ecosystem of successful companies to support new entrants and be a big brother to newcomers.

I think it is easy to see that New York has all of these inputs in spades.  I’ll spend part of my discussion going over who and what those are.

2) Why Brooklyn is a good area for tech concentration
From my perspective Brooklyn has the right personality to be a tech hub.  Brooklyn is cool and unpretentious.  Brooklyn is cheaper to live in.  Brooklyn is for people who think things out.  Manhattan is for MBAs in suits.  Brooklyn is for smart engineers who realize that what you are wearing doesn’t impact what you are capable of creating.  Brooklyn is chalked full of creative people which are the driving force of innovation.  Brooklyn is younger and has more energy.  Brooklyn has access.  Brooklyn has space.

Honestly you don’t need to be told why Brooklyn is the right place, because intuitively you know. I know I do.

3) What I think we need to do to foster the environment
Lately I’ve been telling this to anyone who would listen.  I think we could benefit from the following:

  • Some centralized resources (ex.  job board, a blog roll of startups in DUMBO, a community calendar).  I’d put this all in the same place.  I’d let everyone contribute to it in a controlled fashion.  I publicize the heck out of it.  I think that if you want to attract people here, then they have to know that there is a ‘here’ here.  People from Philly and Boston and Austin, kinda have a sense that Brooklyn is a cool place to go to start a company, but they don’t know how to get plugged in.  In general there should be a resource to help them.
  • A political effort of some type.  Guys like our Mayor, Mike Bloomberg (and Rachel Sterne in his office) and our Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, etc they want a thriving tech community.  They want to build a perpetual startup ecosystem.  Someone has to let them know what we need.  We need space zoned and tax configured for technology companies.  We need cutting edge, high-speed, fat pipes with no down time into these buildings so startups can access Amazon’s or Joyent’s or Rackable’s or whoever’s cloud.  We need good take-out.  We need good public transportation in.  If we want people to come we need to work with our elected officials to lower the barriers to entry.
  • More homegrown sources of capital.  Yes, Manhattan VCs invest here.  There’s even a Brooklyn VC.  But I think we need to show greater commitment.  We need to ‘eat our own dog food’.  Brooklyn should have it’s own source of capital for investment is startups.  Whether it’s a founders fund, or a city fund, or a privately run Brooklyn focused fund – there needs to be more than there is.  Capital is an important input.  I think we could use more.

4) Specifically what I like to invest in and what I look for
This is going to be a little plug for me and RTP Ventures. I’ll spare you the details for now, but I’d really like to see is some deeper tech.  I’m super psyched about the first day trading results and valuation of Splunk.  Maybe the only thing better was if Splunk was in Brooklyn.  I’ll get into it more on Wednesday.

Hope to see you there.

Pet Peeves Part Three – Converting Free To Paid

Lately, I’ve had a number of companies tell me that the business plan is to simply convert users who access the product free at home, to paid customers at work.  In addition, the argument is that the fee being charged to companies is relatively low for the value and therefor these customers won’t mind paying.

I just don’t think this is a well conceived business model.

First, there are not a lot of success stories around converting people from free to paid – even for the most popular apps.  Rhapsody, a subscription music service has 800,000 users after 10 years.  Spotify’s customer conversion estimates range from 3% to 20%, and the company won’t say what the real number is.  Can anyone even think of another?  It tends to be very difficult to get people to pay for anything they have grown accustomed to receiving for free, even if there is perceived value from it.  At some point some company will crack this concept, but for now, it’s a tough sell to a VC.

Second, the idea that companies let rank-and-file employees make decisions on productivity applications is wrong.  The CIO has security, firewall and control issues as well as employee continuity rules to follow.  So while it might be easy to charge a SaaS app to your corporate credit card, once the technical folks are on to you don’t expect the gravy train to last.

Third, price is an issue with product adoption, but not the only issue.  Just because a corporate subscription only costs $250 per month, that doesn’t mean your boss is going to pony up.  It might make the best infographics the world has ever seen, but that doesn’t guarantee adoption at $250 or even $25.

So okay… maybe you will be the first to figure how this will really work in the real world, or maybe you won’t, but you still need funding.  Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Decide on how the step by step process for conversion from free to paying happens
  2. Be able to explain the process in nauseating detail to a VC when they ask
  3. Find some market examples of successful conversion to follow and as proof points
  4. Choose very conservative conversion rates
  5. Make sure that your customer acquisition and conversion rates tie to your revenue forecast
  6. Have a backup plan in case this doesn’t work

My final advice, tread lightly Jedi warriors.  And be prepared for me to tell you to go fly a kite!

Pet Peeves Part Two (TAM, SAM, SOM)

I posted a blog like this the other day.  This is about elements that I have been seeing in pitch decks that are driving me crazy.  This is a way to help entrepreneurs and get this off my chest.  This post is about the Total Addressable Market or TAM slide.

One of the focus areas of my firm RTP Ventures is Big Data and Analytics.  In more than a few pitch decks recently, the market slide includes the information:  IDC has pegged the big data market for technology and services at $16.9 billion by 2015, up from $3.2 billion in 2010, a CAGR of 39%.  Ask the entrepreneur, “What’s the size of the market you are going after?”  He or she will answer, “about $6.18 billion.” That is (($3.2*1.39)*1.39).

No it’s not!

First of all, that should be a hint to me that the market is overheating – when an entrepreneur doesn’t know or doesn’t care what the size of the market it is.  Second of all, please don’t insult me or waste my time trying to convince me that a single analytics algorithm that decides the sentiment of a twitter stream is cable of capturing $6.18 billion in revenue (if all other competition disappeared). It won’t, because your market is only a subset of the big data market for technology and services.

So entrepreneurs, here’s my advice… don’t just settle for an IDC or Gartner generated number.  Take the opportunity to impress.  Figure out your TAM, SAM and SOM for yourself.  Show a calculation.  Explain to me why the market is a significant subset of the ridiculously huge, but not fully relevant, number you wanted to show me. Prove to me that you have a more granular understanding than what IDC or Gartner has provided.

In order to help, here’s some info on TAM, SAM and SOM.

TAM: Total Available Market. This is the total revenue generated / amount spent (both internally and externally) on a specific segment of the market. This number is typically larger than the simple calculation of ‘total number of customers times Average Selling Price’ because of all the in-house, home grown solutions that get counted.  Again, using analytics as an example, companies like Google or Facebook or Twitter spend a lot on this but are not paying an outside vendor or selling this as a product.

SAM: Serviceable Available Market. This is the subsegment of the market that a product actually reaches.  This is the number that a VC really wants to know. In our analytics example, this is the size of the market for an analytics algorithm that decides the sentiment of a twitter stream.  IDC doesn’t produce this, the entrepreneur does.

SOM: Serviceable Obtainable Market.  This is the realistic market share that can be obtained by a company given the competition, countries, sales/distribution channels and other market influences.  In other words this is the SAM time whatever percent of market share you think you can justify.

Reasoning this through… if IDC says the big data market for technology and services is $6.18 billion, the market analysis slide should start with that number and then haircut it  for just algorithm software… let’s say a third.  The TAM in this instance is about $2.06 billion.  And let’s say the sentiment analysis piece of the market is 25%.  The SAM is $520 million.  That number should be on the slide.  And let’s say there are 10 competitors of which this company has a definable competitive edge, so a 15% market share at the beginning is reasonable.  The SOM is $80 million.  That number should be on the slide.

Yes, $80 million is not as big as $6.2 billion, but at least the VC will believe the entrepreneur.  In addition there are plenty of VCs that will invest in a $520 million market with an initial chance to reaching $80 million with only one product.

Take a cue from Direct TV.  Do a good TAM calc and the VC will have a better chance of believing it.  If the VC believes it, she/he may have an easier time agreeing that a two person company can somehow take the business from $360,000 top line this year to $16 million in two years without hiring anyone or raising more money.  And if she/he is  nodding their head on that, they just might invest at a good valuation.  The lesson: do a good TAM slide and get a high valuation.

Pet Peeves – Part One

It’s a little early in my venture career to become jaded, but I have seen a couple of things that merely from repetition have started to get under my skin.  So think of this blog as not only my insight, but also a form of therapy for me.

My biggest pet peeve recently is listening to an entrepreneur say, “We are not worried about a business model, we just want to build some cool technology and we will figure out how to monetize it later.”

99 percent of the time that is wrong.  Not every cool thing is monetizable.  Some cool things might be, but assuming any particular one cool thing is, could be a huge waste of time an energy.

Here’s how I would assess the possibility of success:

  1. Does the technology in question provide real value?  Is it something that once people get it in their hands, they don’t know how they lived without it.  Perfect example: smart phone.  If someone took away my smart phone, I would be genuinely pissed off. On the other hand if you took away my snowboard trail map app, I would probably be able to survive through the day.
  2. Is there a market and is it big enough? There are an awful lot of solutions chasing problems.  Sometimes a piece of technology finds a problem, sometimes it doesn’t.  If the entrepreneur doesn’t know if there is a market, I sure don’t want to waste the energy trying to figure it out.  And even if there is a market, if it not a suitably big market, it is not worth the investment.  So if this ‘cool technology’ is going after the ‘fart noise’ market, chances are it’s not a big enough TAM to generate interest.
  3. Can the market be penetrated in a way that people can accept?  If I have to jump through hoops to adopt this technology, chances are I won’t do it.  If I have to rip and replace old technology, chance are I won’t do it.  If I have to learn a drastically new behavior, chances are I won’t do it.  If the app is in the cloud – okay.  If it is easily downloadable – okay.  If it is not time consuming – okay.

That’s it.  Common sense.  Is there value? Is there a market? Can it be delivered?  And coolness… nowhere to be found.

Expect more recent peeves in the near future.

Laundry List

Now that I’ve been thinking about the Brooklyn Startup Scene for a while this is the list of what I’m going to try to do help push things forward:

1) I’m going to create a pitch deck about the New York startup environment highlighting its strategic advantages and strengths, opportunities as well as what still needs work.  Actually I’ve been working on this for a while (just slowly).  I’m going to post this pitch online and allow anyone to use it or modify it for their own purposes.  I think some perspective, some statistics and a little framework can be help in understanding why this environment is thriving right now.

One thing the pitch probably will not describe right now is how things feel.  I read a blog post the other day from an entrepreneur moving his startup back from SF.  He said the New York scene “feels like a movement”.  It’s one of those times when you can feel something happening and you just want to be a part of it.  I agree with that sentiment.  I hope that this is one of those special times that people will look back on and think ‘wow – that was a pivotal’.

2) I’m going to work to centralize some of the resources that are available.  I’ve recently heard from entrepreneurs that they didn’t know where to look to find office space or startup jobs in Brooklyn or where to go and what to read to get plugged in.  There are a lot of resources out there.  There are a lot of great companies that write interesting blogs.  There are a lot of great VCs that cater to startups at this level.  At the very least I’m going to create a couple lists of links on that can serve as a resource for people who are just getting their feet on the ground. Hopefully I can evolve this blog into a more centralized site that covers this type of stuff in more detail.  My revolutions are currently limited in that respect.

3) I’m going to try to figure out a way for the community to invest in itself.  What I’m thinking of is something like a Founders Fund.  Those that have been successful here, or those that are passionate (hate that word) about the Brooklyn Startup Community to  invest back into companies that startup in Brooklyn.  I’m thinking about seed stage investments and some mentoring and introductions to give some companies a boost.  A way to let these entrepreneurs know that the community is invested (no pun) in their success.  I haven’t fully figured this one out yet so I’ll let you know as I incubate this idea.

The three legged stool is: great entrepreneurs, great talent and capital.  If we can elevate the levels of these in the community we can continue to foster development.

Don’t get me wrong.  This kind of ground work is currently being laid in Brooklyn by a number of folks.  I want to contribute to it.  And while I’m on the subject, I would like you to contribute as well.  If you want to get involved, please reach out.  The reason for the ‘Laundry List’ is to start a dialog for those who can contribute.  Thank you.