Investing in Change

by Mark Fernandes

When investing in early-stage technology companies, we look at three things: the entrepreneur, the company, and how their idea may impact change. We are looking for three types of transformations: industries (ex. Sikka Software in retail healthcare), business processes (ex. in recruiting) or technology infrastructure (ex. Zimperium in mobile security).

The most challenging investments are early-stage startups, but we also find them to be the most fun. At Sierra we are all entrepreneurs—and engineers—who understand the difference we can make to a company during their formative stages. The most important thing to an entrepreneur is to get early feedback, to better understand what is being done well, and to focus on areas to develop.

To help deliver this critical feedback, in addition to the Managing Directors, we created the CXO Advisory Board. This group of senior technology executives represents a variety of industries, and for over a decade our members have evaluated and provided market insights, product feedback and sales channels directly to our entrepreneurs.

Jay Fulcher, CEO of Ooyala, which was acquired by Telstra, best describes our value to his company’s growth, “Sierra was intimately involved in all of our company details since the beginning. They helped us with all of our large customers and partnerships, and the financing and operating aspects of the business.

The CXO Advisors benefit from participating in the board as they gain early access to new technology ideas and approaches that will become important to their businesses. They also get to exchange ideas and concerns with their peers.

We know there are many ways to obtain capital, but the strong and timely guidance Sierra gives to entrepreneurs coupled with the crucial feedback from our Advisory Board is a powerful advantage. We hope those entrepreneurs looking to partner with an experienced VC firm will consider Sierra as their early-stage investor.

-- Mark
Mark Fernandes-cropped

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