The Third Degree

Charlie Kemper Has No Regrets About Missing Cisco’s Big Bucks

charlie kemper e1306265255801 Charlie Kemper Has No Regrets About Missing Ciscos Big BucksCharlie Kemper is the Managing Director at the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator.

Q – You always remember the ones that got away. Tell us about the startup you regret passing on the most.

A – I don’t regret any. Life is too short to regret much. But, I have missed my fair share of big hits. We passed on FlipVideo, ultimately we were right and ultimately the market confirmed out judgement, since the product is now dead. But we could have gotten in before Cisco, and that would have been a huge win.

A – The last thing you want to hear from a founder is…

Q – I would say, “these are conservative numbers” or “this is a quick flip”.

A – What “me too” trend should we avoid / invest in?

Q – More VCs should invest in Four Loko competitors; huge market! Just kidding, we as a firm tend to focus on the market we know. I think there is money to be made in everything, even me too Groupon clones. The question is, can a small business wedge out the big incumbent. Perhaps they have a geographic or platform advantage.

A – What’s the strangest pitch you’ve heard?

Q – I don’t think your reader base wants to hear about that stuff. I get my fair share of emails over the transom for strange idea, but they go in the same bucket as the Nigerian prince in need of extra cash.

A – What’s the best way to ride out a bubble?

Q – Sit on the sidelines, watch, and learn as much as you can. Have a beer. If everyone knows its a bubble, then its not a bubble. It’s about being disciplined, because there was plenty of money made in the dot-com time frame, even though companies imploded, plenty of people made money. You just need to learn as much as you can because the cycle will repeat.

A – Explain, without jargon, what the word pivot means to you?

Q – It means standing on one leg and twirling until you’re dizzy.

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