Profile of a Venture Capitalist Win Churchill – SCP Private Equity
from American Venture Magazine
Are you an entrepreneur looking for venture capital? Find out what Win Churchill, a leader in VC, looks for in his investments.
If there is a prototypical background designed for a venture capitalist, Win Churchill of SCP Private Equity possesses an idealistic one. From Fordham to Oxford as a Rhoades Scholar and back to Yale for law school, Churchill's initial path landed him a 16 year career with a Philadelphia law firm.
In 1989 Churchill became the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System while simultaneously running Churchill Investment Partners. Studying economics, a deep domain of finance coming from his legal background and a strong grasp of technology poised Churchill for his career and current position as Managing General Partner of SCP Private Equity Partners (http://www.scppartners.com).
Churchill is an exciting gentleman to speak with. His experience lends terrific insight to his passion for technology and unique applications. Unique you may ask? SCP's latest investment is an Israeli based company named Deep Breeze (http://www.DeepBreeze.com).
Deep Breeze is a medical technology that rivals the stethoscope. It uses short range sonar to deliver more efficient clearer results than the traditional stethoscope. Another up and coming company in the SCP portfolio uses a localized magnetic GPS system for birthing. Instead of current methods to locate a baby, preparing for a breech birth or other difficulties, this system uses triangulation, the returned data to better position the delivery team.
An interesting comment Churchill makes is his tracking of the NASDAQ and the venture capital market. "Besides the tech bubble that comes once a century, the venture capital market is directly related to the NASDAQ more and more closely." Churchill continues into describing his recent experience with entrepreneurs, "they are much better prepared, partly because of the cycle, but the difficulty in getting funding has made the companies far more informed and educated."
SCP does not traditionally syndicate deals. They are the lead investor and get the lead strategist. "We map the universe and have four areas of expertise. We then have sub universes and we look at everything going on now and over the next 3 to 5 years." One of those companies 3 to 5 years down the line Churchill likes is Biap Systems.
Churchill expects the cable companies to continue a big roll in the delivery of information and target marketing. "Intelligent agents will go out over the transmission and use retrieval power at the other end." That is where Biap Systems comes into play. Biap bypasses normal server based systems and utilizes an edge device that is smaller, cheaper and requires less power to deliver intelligent editing compatible with your cable box.
With Biap Systems and Deep Breeze, we ask Churchill about going into these deals with entrepreneurs. "Longer and more money than anyone anticipates is almost always the case. We are all fighting guerilla warfare going against big balance sheets already. Most of all always anticipate."
"One time I funded a company with out a business plan," American Venture Magazine was surprised, but interested to learn from Churchill. "The business plan should be the bible of the deal so there are no mundane business surprises." A business plan is the road map that continuously will evolve, but is the path to success.
"More importantly than the business plan, entrepreneurs need to be selective in who their investor is," Churchill continues to share with us. "Some VCs are not so hot – but the ones that turn you down, listen to their reasons before moving to the next, but keep in mind there is more to life than VCs".