David J. Freschman, a leading voice of emerging business, is one of the most highly regarded and influential venture capitalists in the nation. With over 20 years of expertise in the venture and early stage businesses, David’s work ranges from his head position at Innovation Capital Advisors, LLC., to single handedly guiding 30+ portfolio companies to financial stability and smart investment funding.
Bankrate talked with Freschman about the challenges an entrepreneur faces in today's climate and advice he has for those looking to start their own businesses.
How did you get into the venture capital field?
I grew up in Wilmington, (Del.) which was home to the DuPont Company and all its spinoffs. My father is an immigrant and we owned a little corner grocery, which was tough work. I knew I did not want to do that, but I used to see the thousands of scientists going to work every day in suits and ties. I thought being a chemist was what I wanted to do, as I enjoyed problem-solving. That dream died when I took my second chemistry class! So I became an accountant. I figured it's like being a chemist for business.
I initially was an accountant and CPA for the big-eight firm Arthur Andersen, where I spent half a dozen years in the Philadelphia office. I knew that when I initially started I did not want to audit big companies, so I positioned myself to be recruited directly into what was the Enterprise Group. It was focused on fast growth (and) emerging, privately held businesses. It was there that I caught the "bug" for working with and advising startup companies. In 1995, after founding a consulting group, I was recruited to establish and run the first early stage venture fund in the state of Delaware, a partnership between the private and public sectors. Seventeen years later, I still love what I do.
What's the most rewarding thing about your job?
There are lots of rewards, but I think the most rewarding is working with young companies and young entrepreneurs. ICA is a hands-on fund where we support our companies with our contacts, knowledge and experience and allow management to ultimately run their businesses. Watching the companies succeed with their new ideas and innovations is exciting. What is most gratifying is when you see a product or service in the marketplace and you can say, "I remember that company when … "
To read this interview in it's entirety visit: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/07/10/ceo-tips-for-starting-your-own-company/