Updates and Articles from Opus Faveo

Opus Faveo works to learn from thought leaders globally, even as we ourselves try to advance thought leadership on the topic of innovation.

We don't just study innovation policy issues, however. We also assemble great teams and create successful companies.

It's practicing what we preach: learn, think, create.

BEAM Energy Group Joins Austin Technology Incubator

Opus Faveo client Beam Energy Group is designed to address the significant pain experienced in the rapidly growing solar + storage industry due to inefficient procurement practices between installation companies and their suppliers. BEAM seeks to streamline the processes to acquire materials and services through standardized transactions, superior communications and direct access to financing within our platform.

BEAM has joined Austin Technology Incubator, a nonprofit unit of The University of Texas at Austin, as part of their Clean Energy Incubator program. ATI will provide the company with strategic business consulting services and access to the incubator's global network of business, academic and government contacts.

 

 

Venture Development – A New Model for Start-up Success

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Existing entrepreneurial methodologies are not creating robust new ventures sufficient to supply the modern economy with innovation, jobs, and wealth creation. It is time for a new model.

VenDev firms can be used by both investors and entrepreneurs to exploit the availability of experienced managers familiar with entrepreneurial environments. Many willing and competent potential start-up managers exist among available executives; they, like venture capital itself, are just inefficiently deployed. The growth of VenDev firms can change all that and finally begin to realize the goal of the entrepreneurial infrastructure: a significant increase in the new venture success rate, and a flow of robust new enterprises creating jobs, wealth, productivity and finally delivering an investment return to all that venture capital.

Download your free copy here

Topic of the Week (TOTW): “CEO for Start-ups Without an Entrepreneur”

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Commercialization of IP through new venture development is a difficult task for university technology transfer offices or research institutions. Researchers frequently want to see their ideas come to life and benefit the larger community but don’t have the business experience to make it happen.  Without a CEO to lead the formation of a company many outstanding ideas never see the light of day.

All start-ups need a leader, someone to guide the enterprise through the first formative steps.  Often there is little or no money to compensate anyone working in the start-up and it is difficult to find a permanent CEO willing to work for equity who shares the vision and passion of the Founder/Researcher.

The biggest lament of VC firms is not lack of good ideas; rather it is finding credible management teams led by an experienced, qualified CEO associated with those ideas.  Many great product ideas are developed by individuals who have no personal desire to actually run the business; in other cases, they may have the desire, but not the experience, time, or discipline.Continue reading

Energy Transformation: Trends and Drivers 1990-2040

12648929455_e886613915_bOpus Faveo recently published a new white paper on global energy.  Access to low-cost and abundant energy, most of it based on fossil fuels, has enabled rapid economic progress among developed nations over the past century.  As development progresses and global incomes increase, and as that progress expands to include more of the global population the demand for energy will also grow, by a projected 42% in the next 25 years.

Download your free copy here.

Hacks & Hills Releases Fall Video Showcasing New Product

Opus Faveo portfolio company Hacks & Hills released a new video showcasing its products as part of its pre-launch campaign. The excitement is building!

 

Topic of the Week (TOTW): Relationship Selling vs Product (Transactional) Selling – “The Selling Clock is Ticking”

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As we mentioned in social media, we have long had a Topic of the Week that we discuss for 30 minutes at the beginning of our weekly status meeting.  This week’s topic is Relationship Selling versus Product Selling.

Many how-to books are written on marriage, golf and selling because they are all complicated, complex subjects which take time to learn.  For purposes of our discussion, we are defining relationship selling as selling oriented on learning the customer’s company inside and out.  Relationship selling is focused on understanding the buyer’s motivations and drivers around the strategy and the context of the sale.  Product selling (sometimes referred to as transactional selling) is defined, for our purposes, as selling based on the product’s attributes, the seller’s product knowledge and reputation.  Both forms of selling involve relationships and we think both approaches work when used in the correct environment.

In all selling situations, the selling cycle time is an important factor.  The selling cycle time is the time it takes to complete a sale.  The cycle begins when first contact is made with a potential customer and ends with the closing of the sale. The common view is that relationship selling cycle has a longer cycle time than product selling.  For example, in a retail environment, the cycle is typically short because people come to the store to buy. In industries where sellers call on prospects, the cycle time can be weeks, months or even years.

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Topic of the Week (TOTW): Challenger Selling, Solution Selling, or What?

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In the B2B marketplace there is always an unending flood of books and articles being written around the latest hot new thing in sales methodology. In recent years it has gone from “Solution Selling” (find out what keeps your customer up at night) to “Challenger Selling” (tell your customer what should be keeping him up at night) and every conceivable variation.

What is the right approach?  Is there something that might be called “Leadership Selling” that integrates the best ideas of both while smoothing out the rough edges of arrogance and dilettantism that can pollute challenger sales? What might its core principles be?

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Topic of the Week (TOTW): Know Your Customer

2ekltvtThis week’s discussion topic focused on best practices for understanding customers.  Our team members shared some unique experiences, which surfaced a handful of best practices relevant to just about any start-up.

Here are four best practices that emerged from the discussion:Continue reading

Topic of the Week (TOTW): Hustling

As we mentioned in social media, we have long had a Topic of the Week that we discuss for 30 minutes at the beginning of our weekly status meeting. Topics relate to new venture creation, management, growth, and the personal aspects thereof.  Sometimes topics are quite lofty and ethereal, while at other times they are extremely practical. In addition to posting the TOTW (Topic of the Week) in our social media feeds, we decided to begin doing write-ups here to give you a sense of what we are thinking about for the week.

In what will likely be the first in a series of topics related to selling, this week we are thinking about what it means to “hustle” in selling, and how that applies to a fast-growing venture (or one that we want to be). The conversation was lively and featured several great stories (and others that were merely mentioned obliquely).

Make-It-RainThe opening: what does it mean to “hustle” in selling?  For the investment banker in the group, it calls to mind the high-energy foreign exchange trader on a large Wall Street trading floor – a sea of screens in front, a live squawk box to one side, a myriad of people on different phone lines at the same time, yelling at the person at the next desk looking for a price.  Others cited the idea of just keeping after it and not giving up, handling rejections with courtesy and stamina, and chasing after the “maybes” and getting the close.  And still others noted that to “hustle” someone connotes the snake-oil salesperson who is conning the buyer into paying for something they don’t want that doesn’t work – clearly an approach that we, and everyone else, should run away from.  So, what does it take to sell well?

Continue reading

Sea Machines Robotics and Discovery Networks

It was an exciting day in Boston Harbor yesterday for Opus Faveo client, Sea Machines Robotics. The company and its unmanned prototype workboat are garnering an increasing amount of media attention. Discovery Networks spent a gorgeous day on the water, overlooking Boston’s financial and innovation districts, filming a demo of real-world marine autonomy – the next revolution in robotics. In the demo, the prototype unmanned boat maneuvered an oil spill boom in a mock operation. Opus Faveo has been working in marine autonomy and robotics for over two years, and we are excited to see the traction that Sea Machines is getting.

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Opus Faveo Partner Leads Webinar for Mexican Scientists

The “Red de Talentos Mexicanos“, or Mexican Talent Network, is a program initiated by the Foreign Ministry and Economy Ministry of Mexico in order to foster relationships, interactions and the development of leading scientists, thinkers and leaders of Mexican origin wherever in the world they may live.

Opus Faveo Managing Partner Christian Blackwell was recently invited to lead a webinar on innovation impact, universities and spinouts by leaders of the Dallas chapter. The webinar, delivered in Spanish, was broadcasted to university lecture halls across Mexico and included participants from several countries.

Commenting on the webinar, Blackwell stated, “The interest in this webinar and especially the discussion at the end highlight that getting smarter about innovation is both a challenge and an opportunity worldwide. The importance of taking a global view of innovation policy and learning from examples across counties is a theme that Opus Faveo has been practicing and preaching since its foundation. No country, including the United States, has a lock on successful university innovation policies and, in fact, most of the problems are not country specific. If anything, emerging market universities and their scientists have an opportunity to leapfrog competing universities in the U.S. or Europe because of their willingness to try new approaches to creating impact.”

The Ares Materials team attended Display Week.

SID’s Display Week is the premier international event for the electronic display industry, where breakthrough technologies are introduced. Display Week offers synergies unparalleled by any other display event, comprised of attendees and exhibitors representing the foremost display-engineering talent from all over the world, as well as leaders 20150313 DisplayWeek Logo SF2016, 227pxrepresenting both the commercial and consumer markets.

It was a great opportunity for the ARES team to connect with some of the most important companies in the world and hear their interest in Pylux™.

 

Ares Materials introduces Pylux™

Opus Faveo portfolio company, Ares Materials, has formally announced its new showcase product, Pylux™ – enabling the revolution that will make electronics flexible, bendable and more fully “integratable” into our lives and environments.  ¡Viva la revolución!

Hacks and Hills Secures Another Equity Investment

HH1_p1Congratulations to Opus Faveo portfolio company Hacks & Hills for securing another equity investment.  This latest round will enable Hacks & Hills to begin production of their initial product for sale this fall season.

Hacks & Hills is truly international.  The company’s headquarters are in Toronto, and much of the design for the equestrian jacket was completed in London.  Final design and manufacturing is in the US.  To employ the best available materials for each part of the jacket, components are being sourced from all over the world, including Switzerland, Italy, and Asia.

Hacks & Hills plans to begin on-line sales in Fall 2016.

New App Helps Tornado Survivors Manage Debt

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Opus Faveo client Advanced Net Labs develops a first of its kind app called SafeResponse.org to help victims of the 2015 tornado outbreak who rose from the debris only to fall deeply into debt.

“It’s the first time we’ve applied this technology to disaster relief,” said Keith Thode with Advanced Net Labs. “Safe response people can see what rooms are needed right now and make an immediate impact on someone’s life.”

See the full story here.

Opus Faveo on Valuation

IMG_4264Opus Faveo Partners, David Overton and Christian Blackwell, recently led a seminar on valuation of early stage companies for the Lubbock Angel Network (“LAN”) and Texas Tech University. LAN, led by Eli Velasquez and Ryan Reber, is a new but serious organization focused on providing early stage capital to companies, especially those based in West Texas, an area that is one of the most important agricultural and wind-power regions in the world.

“We were impressed by the caliber of investors, and the seriousness with which they are approaching venture investing,” said Christian Blackwell. “They have already developed partnerships with other networks within and outside of Texas, and they are even attracting companies from Silicon Valley.”

As part of its focus on improving innovation development, Opus Faveo conducts workshops and provides assistance to investors and angel groups in order to help them improve their skills. Opus Faveo believes that more successful investors will attract more capital, increased innovation and greater economic growth. For more information, contact Jim Stewart at Opus Faveo.

Congratulations to Ares Materials

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Congratulations to Opus Faveo portfolio company Ares Materials Inc. on its most recent funding round.  The initial closing was in December and the round is expected to be completed by the end of February.

Investors included a Silicon Valley-based institutional VC as well as a sophisticated family office with a long track-record of VC investing.

Ares Materials is Bringing Flexibility to Your Life


Ares LogoAres Materials Inc
. has launched!  The company is the result of a venture development collaboration between Opus Faveo and scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas.

The leadership and technical team includes materials scientists, electrical engineers and chemists who have developed revolutionary technology that will enable the next revolution in consumer electronics.

Opus Faveo has been working with UT Dallas for several years to commercialize technology, and more importantly, to empower scientists to have impact.

 

 

AirMetrics Analytics Receives Research Grant

Opus Faveo portfolio company AirMetrics Analytics was awarded a competitive $100,000 research and commercialization grant from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program (“MTRAC“).

The MTRAC program was developed to fund translational research of novel, commercially viable technologies. Program funding focuses on advanced materials, robotics and autonomy, sensors, electric vehicle drivetrain/propulsion, software/controls/data, and advanced manufacturing processes.

AirMetrics Analytics Launched!

6769120131_8bd073c551_bu-michigan-logoAirMetrics Analytics, the result of a venture development collaboration between Opus Faveo, University of Michigan scientists, and an aerospace industry executive, has launched.

The company promises to revolutionize the aerospace industry using big data and robotics to dramatically improve air safety in next-generation carbon-fiber airframes.  The venture is the result of what we do: bringing together scientists, experienced industry leaders, markets and venture development expertise to create new businesses.

Stay tuned for more developments as AirMetrics Analytics Takes Off!

And go Blue!

Dr. Ryan Eustice on Autonomous Cars

A pedestrian crosses in front of a vehicle as part of a demonstration at Mcity on its opening day Monday, July 20, 2015 on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Mich. The 32-acre simulated city, complete with building facades, a roundabout, brick and gravel roads and other familiar features of urban driving, will be used to test driverless and connected vehicles. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)Opus Faveo collaborator Dr. Ryan Eustice was interviewed on NPR’s “On Point with Tom Ashbrook” in a show about the future of autonomous vehicles.  “On Point”, which is produced by Boston’s WBUR, is a nationally syndicated program carried by 290 stations across the US.

The show is entitled “Detroit Vs. Silicon Valley: The Future Of The Driverless Car”.  Listen here.

Hacks & Hills Closes First Funding Round

Opus Faveo portfolio company Hacks & Hills has closed its first outside funding round.

The company is developing an exciting international lifestyle brand focused on premium equestrian-inspired apparel. The seed round will provide funding for the company to develop and refine its product prototypes, solidify its manufacturing supply chain, further develop branding and prepare for commercial launch.

Hacks & Hills is a part of the Canadian Innovation Partnership, an initiative of Opus Faveo and the government of Canada.

Mexican Scientists are Creating the American Dream

 

Opus Faveo venture development partners, Dr. David Arreaga and Dr. Adrián Avendaño, are creating the American Dream – in the lab.

After obtaining their PhDs in Materials Science, the duo are commercializing the technology they developed at the University of Texas at Dallas using the incredible facilities enabled by the university’s close ties to Texas Instruments, itself a long-time pioneer in the semiconductor industry.

At its best, globalization allows talent to go where it can best be utilized. However, the benefits compound. As these scientists frequently make clear, they want to create jobs and economic growth in the US and Mexico. Both countries invested in them, and both countries should see the benefits.

Opus Faveo. Learning. Thinking. Creating.