MIT Enterprise Forum - Software Circle: Does Revenue Really Matter?

When: Thu January 31, 2013 6:30 pm

Organization: MIT Enterprise Forum

Location: MIT Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge, MA

Website: http://www.mitforumcambridge.org/

When it comes to revenue and business models, there is a veritable alphabet soup of options: for-profit, non-profit, open-source, crowd-sourced, freemium, ad-driven, and choose-your-own-price, to name just a few. These models do not just apply to software anymore. They have crept into many markets, from art to music to publishing.

What’s a founder to do? Your fledgling company must create product, market and sell it for profit.

Your job is to choose business and revenue models that will get you there. And, you will need to be able to articulate and validate that model, early on, for your team, your investors and your business partners. Oh yeah, don’t forget: you will ultimately need to execute on the model to bring in real dollars—either that, or plan to lose your business. The alphabet soup presents just some of the myriad of possibilities.

But after reading so many stories in the news, lately, you have begun to wonder—does revenue matter? Couldn’t you just build your business, whether it’s software, music, art, publishing or you-name-it, on air?

Some venture capitalists will tell you: don’t worry about revenue, just get a million users and a model will emerge. Instagram followed that advice and, in just 19 months, went from a start-up to a $1,000,000,000,0000 acquisition without a single dollar of revenue.

Learn how our panelists grappled with these fundamental issues and settled on business and revenue models that worked.

Panelists

Marty Falaro
Vice President, Business Development, AcmePacket

Marty Falaro was a vice president of business development at Convergence when it was acquired by Acme Packet for $22.8 million in 2009. He continues in that role with Acme today. Marty has an extensive background in global sales, business development and general management, with a career including experience in large public companies and venture backed start-ups. Marty has created, negotiated and managed complex partnerships on a global basis including mergers, acquisitions, joint development, distribution and technology licensing. He also has in-depth knowledge of technology in the areas of application software, security, network equipment and unified communications products as well as cloud based offerings.

Jason Gracilieri
Founder, TurningArt

Jason Gracilieri is the founder of TurningArt, the “Netflix” of artwork. The company, which provides a fun and affordable way to discover, experience, and buy art from talented artists across the country, raised $750,000 in 2011. After growing its customer base by 350%, TurningArt then raised $1,500,000 in 2012. Jason, a serial entrepreneur, previously founded Broadway Commerce (a banking services-related hub), Applied Reason & Technology (enterprise searches around unstructured information) and Sconex (social network for high school students), which he sold to Alloy, a public company in the Generation Y media and marketing space.

James Alexander
Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Vizibility Inc.

James Alexander describes himself as a frustrated consumer. As a guy with two first names, he recently discovered that he couldn’t find himself in Google. So in 2009 he founded Vizibility to help professionals promote their online identities. Today more than 30,000 people use the company’s digital business card to make an accurate, powerful and lasting impression. LaunchPad Ventures led an angel round in 2011 with investors from Boston Harbor Angels, Boston TiE Angels and New York Angels. Previously, James served as director of product management at Adobe for about seven years. In 1995 he co-founded eWatch, the first social media monitoring service.