Windows of business opportunities present themselves. There are those tuned-in who see opportunity and a subset who dive-in to take on the risk and uncertainty to pursue opportunities. Courage or naivety - I think a bit of both but it doesn’t matter. These people, these Founders are my heroes.
The uncertainty of my venture was thrilling and daunting and the belief that we could build a great business was fuel that gave me the courage to jump into areas where I had no experience. My personal journey at Clarity took 16 years to complete, along the way I was fortunate enough to work with so many wonderful and talented people, many of which I continue to work with today.
As a Founder of Sherpa Venture Studio, I am again thrilled with the idea of partnering with talented Founders ready to build successful enterprise software and managed services businesses. Founders who are willing to de-risk their startup by teaming with a group of leaders who have all been there themselves.
It’s about Founders first and ideas second. I believe that Founders who lived through the pain and struggle of the business issue they are solving, have addressed it in different ways before. These founders have the stamina to go through the ups and downs of a Startup. A founder's perseverance is the key to their success and the major risk mitigation factor in any new venture.
I was in my late 30's with our third child being just a few months old when I left a cushy and very promising executive role at IBM to pursue my dream and start my own business. My friends, my accountant and my colleagues all thought I was crazy and irresponsible in doing so. I knew I was taking a major risk, but I also knew the field that I was going into very well, that I had experienced co-founders, and I had tackled the business problem before as a consultant - it was a major risk, but a calculated one, with all the possible risk mitigation that I could leverage. It worked out well for me, and I strongly believe it will work out for these founders who bring resilience, commitment, experience, and determination.
Our goal at Sherpa Venture Studio is to assist founders in achieving outcomes faster while reducing risk along the way. The Sherpa team is not much smarter or more talented, we have just done it before, we know what works and does not, and have a network we effectively leverage, the talent pool, and resources to accelerate success.
Many people have great ideas but taking an idea and creating a business from it takes courage which only some people have. These are Founders. They are risk-takers, and visionaries, and are determined to succeed. They have experienced business problems firsthand, and while others sleep, they are restless to find solutions. This is why I cherish them and want to help them in their journey.
The road to my journey began when I worked at Clarity Systems. I was young, maybe a little inexperienced, but motivated to grow just as fast as the company was growing. I travelled across North America and started consulting clients who had more work experience than my age. I realized very quickly that it was not about who was the smartest or who had the best solution, it was all about people and trust. When Clarity was sold to IBM, opportunity knocked, and I knew it was the right time for me to open that door and start my own business. Why was I confident? It was because I trusted my co-founders and our clients trusted us.
Trust is our mantra at Sherpa Venture Studio. We don’t invest in ideas, we invest in the Founders and trust that they have the resilience, perseverance, and confidence to win. We want to share our experience, network, and resources to help the next generation of Founders accelerate their growth.
Venture Capital playbooks may not coincide with a startup’s natural path. A fund's investment window and your startup's timing may not align. Couple this with the unrealistic expectation that your software product will be an instant hit and again more friction materializes. Mix in recurring material dilution and inefficient capital burn and it becomes clear that an alternative path should be considered.
I am passionate about identifying aspiring entrepreneurs who need to see their vision come to life by joining our team of experienced founders who have followed an alternative proven path. Bootstrap for as long as you can or build a business capable of generating non-dilutive capital to support your venture's growth turns your startup into a platform giving you fuel to test alternative paths.
Risk taking is an inevitable ingredient in this process. Surround yourself with a team that can help you assess and manage risks which are foreign, improving your likelihood of success.
At Sherpa Venture Studio I am committed to a broad range of functions including due diligence, deal sourcing and supporting portfolio companies. My experience extends across many verticals including consulting, real estate development, and asset management.
As a veteran B2B startup executive with over two decades of experience in emerging and new markets, Phil has a proven track record of establishing recurring revenue streams (ARRs) at an early stage. Assisting early stage companies in building go-to-market teams capable of scaling through the first $5 million in ARR to global businesses generating over $280 million per year.
Over the course of his career, Phil has been fortunate to be associated with early-stage companies such as Waterloo Microsystems, CrystalReports, DMTI Spatial, Obero SPM and Pathfactory that have generated positive exits for the founders, their investors and employees.