February 20, 2012
Smartix: Dancing with the Elephants
1. How would you evaluate Vivek Khuller's initial development of Smartix in terms of developing the product/concept and testing/proving it out at the Harvard Ball?
I believe Vivek’s use of the Harvard Ball as a testing venue was an effective, intelligent choice. He was able to illustrate many of the system’s features including its ability to capture demographic information, and the arrival and departure times of attendees. Site traffic dramatically increased before the event, and students were able to buy and sell tickets amongst one another, ultimately providing a greater overall turnout rate.
2. Subsequent to the Harvard Ball, what do you think of Vivek's …show more content…
Vivek had a staunch ally in Krezwick, he had become the CEO of the Worcester Centrum at age 27 and had continued to move up within the industry. He was looking for his next big “win” operationally, making him a perfect partner for the Smartix team. He proposed reasonable terms that would have proved a win-win for everyone involved. While the FleetCenter could not promise Smartix any funding, their early partnership would have likely been enough to convince VCs to invest in their venture.
6. What happened at the end with MSG and Accell as the stakes were very high? (i.e. all or nothing) What would you have suggested he do differently to develop the company and obtain financing?
Smartix used the letter of intent from the MSG as leverage in negotiations with Benchmark and Accel, however, they had not yet reached any kind of an agreement with the venue as to how their partnership would function. This uncertainty would prove disastrous for the team. Accel came through with a term sheet stating they would provide $6 of the $8 million the team needed to launch their venture, however, they first wanted to speak to Smartix’s potential partners, including the MSG.
When the team spoke to Checketts and