Nuggets of Wisdom from Professor Henning Piezunka

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

Last year, I chanced upon a free webinar called “INSEAD Workshop: Venture Capital, Business Angels & Startups” taught by Professor Henning Piezunka. It was a great crash course on the venture capital industry and start-up ecosystem and I would highly recommend every aspiring and first-time venture capitalist and entrepreneur to join his webinar if it is still available (View registration link here).

Anyway, I attended another of his webinar on “Insights into Entrepreneurial Business Models” recently and I have learned a great deal. So I thought that it would be a good idea to summarise and share my key takeaways from his webinars here.

Venture Capital, Business Angels & Startups

  • There are numerous reasons why ventures can benefit from raising capital. For instance, (1) Obtain money to scale and accelerate, (2) Receive advice and mentoring to speed up and avoid mistakes, (3) Leverage on the venture capital firm’s reputation to secure partnerships and raise new capital in later rounds, and (4) Get referrals and network for new partnerships and hiring of talents. On the downside, ventures would have to spend time fundraising and accept the dilution of shareholdings.
  • “Do not worry about attention in general; You need attention from the right people.” It is imperative for startups to note that there are agglomerator VC firms that invest in every stage and across every sector. On the contrary, there are specialist VC firms that invest in a specific stage, sector or both. Startups should understand the firms’ investment mandate and approach the ones that are relevant to the stage of their development and growth. Ideally, the VCs can value-add their industry and market knowledge and connect them with prospective clients and the right network for future financing.
  • “Access explains most of the variation in VC success.” Venture capitalists scout for startups via their personal and professional networks, acting as judges in (or just visiting) demo days and hackathons, speaking at forums and conferences, as well as mentoring teams in universities, incubators, and accelerators. Having access and maintaining a high-quality deal flow is the lifeblood of venture capital investing.
  • 7 Domains Framework developed by Professor and Entrepreneur John Mullins. The framework helps to analyse a new venture or product/service in terms of seven ‘domains’. Startups have to assess whether the markets and industries that they are operating in are attractive, whether they have a unique value proposition and sustainable competitive advantage, and whether the team has the right goals, skills, and network to deliver the results they seek. (Read more: London Business School)
Image Credits: INSEAD Workshop: Venture Capital, Business Angels & Startups, Professor Henning Piezunka

Insights into Entrepreneurial Business Models

  • Innovation does not have to be technical. Aside from technical innovation driven by engineers, there are tons of business model innovation driven by MBAs/managers. Think of AirBnB vs hotels, Netflix vs video rental companies, and Uber vs traditional taxis.
  • A strong understanding of business model innovation allows you to create new businesses, analyse your business model vs others, and choose among multiple business models. Essentially, you can use different business models to go after the same idea.
  • The Entrepreneur Strategy Compass developed by Joshua Gans, Erin L. Scott, and Scott Stern. Go-to-market strategies for startups can be categorised along two dimensions: Choice of Orientation (Collaborate OR Compete with incumbents) and Choice of Investment (Build a moat OR Storm a hill). Startups can use the compass to pick one of the strategies: (1) Intellectual Property Strategy, (2) Architectural Strategy, (3) Value Chain Strategy, and (4) Disruption Strategy. (Read more: Harvard Business Review)
Image Credits: Harvard Business Review

P.S. Professor Henning, if you’re reading this — Thank you so much ☺ I am truly impressed by your energy and passion for research and teaching Entrepreneurship. Wishing you the best of luck in all of your future endeavours.




wanders & wonders 🌎❤️ not all who wxnder are lost

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