Entrepreneurs want to succeed, and investors want to make investment. Yet raising money is tough especially for starting hardware companies. This is in part due to the low rate of success using the conventional approach; the outcome of raising significant capital to pursue a hot idea and spend freely to gain first-mover is no better than hit or miss. Companies do get funded, but entrepreneurs must be able to substantiate that the business makes sense, it could succeed, and will give investors a handsome return.
Milton Chang will describe a low-risk startup model, based on more than a dozen companies he has successfully incubated. In a nutshell, start with an idea in an area of familiarity, do due diligence to challenge assumptions, establish realistic stepwise goals based on what is achievable, formulate a viable business strategy, and commit to develop the business thoughtfully over time. Fundamentally a business must be able to use capital efficiently to create value in order to succeed. That means an entrepreneur must know something about business, proceed with an appropriate strategy, and execute to properly lead the business.
Chang will also provide career guidance to engineers. He encourages everyone to take an interest in business and management to improve job performance, gain upward mobility, and also have the option to become an entrepreneur. You will be glad that you did when you realize that it is challenging to maintain a technical edge in a 40-year career.
Milton Chang is managing director of Incubic Management LLC and is the author of Toward Entrepreneurship. He was president of Newport and New Focus, which he took public. He is currently director of MBio Diagnostics and Aurrion, and an active Advisor to YesVideo. He also spends time advising companies and mentoring entrepreneurs, and writes a monthly business column for Laser Focus World. Chang is currently a member of the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies and a Trustee of the California Institute of Technology.
Chang earned a B.S. in electrical engineering with highest honors from the University of Illinois and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in EE from Caltech and he has completed the Harvard Owner President Management program. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Caltech in 2002, and was also named a Distinguished Alumnus by the University of Illinois. He is a Fellow of IEEE, Optical Society of America, and the Laser Institute of America (LIA), and past president of IEEE Photonics Society and LIA. He has also served on the visiting committee of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and on the committee to write Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation for the National Academies.