Finding the appropriate VC to invest in your company requires personal due diligence on behalf of the company founder. However sometimes if you are located in Oregon the answer to your investor questions may be a quick glance up toward the sky. Wayne Embree of Cascadia Partners is an avid pilot and has been flying high both as a pilot and a VC for over 20 years.
Last week prior to the upcoming Bend Venture Conference, American Venture Magazine had a chance to catch up with Wayne Embree while he was grounded in his Portland office.
As always we like to know a little bit about the career development of the VCs we speak with. Embree shared with us that he was in charge of an Oregon state chartered seed fund in the early 1980's and his career blossomed from there. Embree has backed nearly 100 companies over the years with about 50% of those companies coming out of major universities.
Listen all of you professors and business students. Embree is presently raising his 6th fund and contributes his greatest university success to the Oregon schools and also our northern neighbor British Columbia. Both have played a major role in providing quality solid business models and successes.
We asked Embree about doing deals north of the border, "Canada does not have a lot of differences. In some ways it is ahead of the US with their reporting and business practices and more is expected of large public companies with institutional investors. There are some greater benefits for emerging companies with different R&D tax credits, but overall the difference neither hinder nor promote our investment consideration."
Bringing it back to the States, American Venture Magazine discusses the different state initiatives being offered for angel investors and emerging growth technology based companies. "I have lived through the state initiatives. They are good things, but they must be set up correctly and not be a politicians pet project", Embree shares with us on different programs.
The state programs are there to support local growth. CSFB (Credit Suisse First Boston) is a limited partner in Cascadia because it manages the Oregon State Employee Fund. However when raising an additional fund Embree faces skepticism on his local level investing. "Can I do it again, they always ask when we raise money and intend to invest in local companies".
To deliver the returns expected of Cascadia, Embree does hands on marketing, deal sourcing, and networking. "We are somewhat competitive with technology transfer programs from universities. We are willing to go get them and fund them – instead of the company waiting for it."
In parting with our quick, informative and enlightening conversation from Wayne Embree, he left us with some advice in regards to picking deals and helping entrepreneurs find investors. In listening to his gut feeling, Embree states, "you can always find a reason not to do it. The primary fit is integrity with the people involved and intellectual honesty. Listen to your gut for comfort." And for the entrepreneurs, "find the best fit, do your research and have a small list rather than broadcast the business plan. The best thing is get a direct introduction from a CEO that the VC has backed on a different venture."
More about American Venture Magazine
American Venture Magazine is the premier magazine for entrepreneurs and investors involved in starting up a new enterprise. Full of informative interviews, recommendations from industry experts, and information you need to be successful.