Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A false start

In the year before I left NC to go to Calgary, we worked hard to flesh out Qtility and got some initial traction with it.  Mike joined the CED (Council for Economic Development) in NC which supports entrepreneurs in the Research Triangle.  He participated in a course there which takes an idea through to business plan and then presentations in front of investors.  We took on a couple of partners who were to contribute their time and expertise.  Everyone chipped in a little money (or were supposed to).  We had brainstorming meetings and sent out executive summaries to a few contacts to get feedback.  It was going well for a while and then it all kind of fell apart.  Two of the partners had stalled putting in a little cash.  One rule of thumb for a venture is that unless you have "skin in the game", you aren't likely to take it seriously and be committed.  It wasn't a lot of money - under a $1000.  But they were not forthcoming and eventually refused and quit.  Then, the one partner who HAD put in some money quit and wanted his money back!  Fine, Mike and I said, we'll do this on our own.  We paid him back, tried to carry on.  Mike made several presentations to potential investors but without success, although the feedback we were getting was positive.  Frankly, Qtility was ahead of its time as an idea, and very few people understood what it was supposed to do.  "Renting" software, or as it is now known, "Software-as-a-service", was a very new idea in 2002.  Now, it is everywhere and is also known as "Cloud Computing".

So, things stalled in North Carolina.  I told Mike I would go to Calgary and register a new Canadian company to transfer everything up there to carry on.  All we had at that point was a great, fleshed-out idea and business plan.  What coding we had was virtually useless, since the only programmer on the team had quit.  But we still believed passionately that Qtility was worth pursuing.

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