VC-like Beauty Contests for Government

Fact: In Mumbai, according to a Wall Street Journal/Hindustan Times Livemint report, “Thirty start-ups have made it to the business plan showcase at TiE-ISB Connect 2007, which closed submissions on 30 September. The annual networking event for entrepreneurs organized by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) along with the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, will be held from 14-16 November. TiE received close to 400 entries this year….”

Analysis: The Bubble Redux has brought with it a resurgence in business-plan competitions, typically with a panel of venture capitalists as judges. Now along comes, launched by Mark Modzelewski of Bang Ventures in Cambridge, Mass, who says the competition combines “venture capital and ‘American Idol’ with a little bit of wisdom of the crowd thrown in.” And, believe it or not, he’s got Curt Schilling (yes, of the Red Sox) as a judge – along with web-based voters.

That idea may only surface new contenders for Henry Blodget’s “Bonehead VC Pitch of the Month,” but I’m considering starting a new competition, a beauty-contest to find the best business-plan beauty-contests.

I might not trust Curt Schilling to pick a winning tech idea or company, but I do trust DIA’s “Innovations Team,” which I assembled to filter all of the pitches the agency receives, from massive defense contractors to two-person garage startups. They’ve automated many of their processes, but they still rely on their solid insight into defense intelligence requirements, and their intuition about future technology directions, to discriminate among the offers and pitches we get. Plans they like get the company in the door, for a face-to-face briefing and pitch to an audience of intelligence professionals and senior engineers, who’re looking for beauty that’s more than skin-deep.

Government Executive magazine just did us the favor of publicizing the Innovation portal, saying that “DIA Wants a Few Good IT Ideas,” whether software, gadgets, or gizmos. Could lead to even more business-plans and offers over the transom…. Where’s Curt Schilling hang out during the off-season?

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

2 Responses

  1. note that the Big G is a part of this – my idol Marissa Mayer was one of the judges for YouBeTheVC … trying to get them to look at MY startup!


  2. […] That discussion sparked some thinking on the public/private sector divide on tech innovation – and on basic operational performance in building or adopting new technologies. It’s always been a hobbyhorse topic of mine; see previous pieces even from way back in 2007-08 like “Pentagon’s New Program for Innovation in Context,” or “A Roadmap for Innovation – From the Center or the Edge?” or “VC-like Beauty Contests for Government.” […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: