From Graduate School to Small Business Owner/Tech Entrepreneur


Today we pitch.

We’re asking for a reasonable sum – six digits – (of which we hope to get 25-50% from this particular investor).  It is an unimaginable sum to me, to us, who have been eating only pasta all too often lately and are months behind on our rent.  But it is a small sum in the world of capital raising for tech start-ups, and it is a small sum to this man who lives in an exclusive building that turns away people who make millions in annual income but don’t also have millions saved (too risky).  And there is much more to be made, and much in our plan to help the company’s value grow.

We are going for our second meeting with a potential angel investor today, at noon, at his Fifth Ave office.  He was very excited and interested after the first meeting, way back in April, when Husband showed him the demo of the program he had written, and rewritten, and rewritten again.  In April, I offered my comments and feedback, my thoughts and responses, and my support.  But I didn’t have a personal stake or title in the company – it was his thing and mine was graduate school, and science.  Not long before I took my quals for the second time, I attended a convention with my husband for his company. I had a great time, and I came away very excited about the field he was working in and the prospects for his company, which I knew intimately although I had no formal role.

So when I had to leave the doctoral program I was in, a move to working on my husband’s project, which was an innovative tech start-up, seemed both natural and exciting.  It was not only his project but his dream, to have a successful idea and to be able to be his own boss and do something that he enjoys. I want that so much, not only for him but also for me.  That job description is also ideal for me in my desire for a fully flexible, mom friendly career. And it’s appealing to me – in particular I’m loving learning all of these new things!

The skills and confidence that I had developed through my education and research experience in my field of engineering are well put to use here.  Chief among the skills I learned and honed in school that I use in my role now are: analytical thinking, mathematical analysis, problem solving, project planning and management, working on teams, putting together well-written documents, presenting and public speaking, and general research (before it was science, now it is marketing).

So helping Husband out with the company was an exciting choice.  I eagerly dove in, and learned all about the industry and the market (adding that to what Husband had already told me about the technology).  With the help of an awesome lawyer who was a friend of a friend, I arranged for and oversaw the drafting of hundreds of pages of legal documents for such things as incorporation, intellectual property law, stock agreements, and employment agreements.  And then I read all of them to make sure we approved and understood…many jokes were made about caffeine IVs!  But really I am so passionate about making this company work that I almost read them eagerly.

I learned also learned about business taxes and employment law – from reading IRS guides and government regulations.  And with the help and advice of my mom, I learned how to use quickbooks and the basics of business accounting.

Today, I go with Husband, as an equal, as a partner in the company, to this very important presentation and business meeting.  It happens to be with a man who managed a small office of mostly men (the women didn’t stay long), and who occupies a completely different economic echelon of society.  I will be giving half of the presentation, all of which I created myself.

I’ve never done this before.

I am going to walk in there with confidence.  Confidence that I am an officer, a shareholder, a manager, and the corporation’s secretary and treasurer.  Confidence that I am crucial to the team, and that my work and development of the company plan will speak for themselves. And confidence that he won’t want to pass up this investment opportunity.

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8 thoughts on “From Graduate School to Small Business Owner/Tech Entrepreneur

  1. Even your post shows how passionate you are about the company. I’m glad you are happy in your current work. Now hopefully you’ll get some money to pay the bills!!
    Glad to hear the meeting went well.

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