Successful Consulting Engagements with Startups

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 7:00 pm          


Startups often need a consultant’s expertise, but their limited resources can make for riskier and more complex fee arrangements as compared with larger companies. A panel of three consultants – two of whom are also serial entrepreneurs who have founded technology startups – will offer their perspective on the practical realities of working for startups.

This program will cover the following important topics to consider if you are considering working as a consultant for a startup:

  • Tips for engaging with startups
  • Tips for getting paid
  • Rules of thumb about taking equity
  • Managing IP issues
  • Lesson learned by the panel members

The panel members will share their rules-of-thumb and stories from the trenches. Consultants and technology entrepreneurs are invited to take part in a candid discussion.


About the speaker, Sean Murphy, SKMurphy, Inc.; Chris Apple, Apple Enterprises; Clyde Kip M. Brown, PE, CMBJR Consulting, Inc.; Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., Minerva Consulting

All four participants in this panel discussion are CNSV members.

Panel moderator Sean Murphy founded SKMurphy, Inc., in 2003 to focus on the marketing and sales challenges that technology firms face in successfully introducing new products. He has helped hundreds of technology entrepreneurs in a direct consulting capacity, through hands-on workshops, or by moderating more than 250 Silicon Valley Bootstrapper Breakfasts since 2006.

Chris Apple founded Apple Enterprises in 1981, where he specializes in embedded firmware, control software and application software. He develops the embedded product, the PC control application, the manufacturing and calibration application and even the installer by taking a concept and making it a product.

Clyde “Kip” M. Brown, PE, is a Professional Engineer with IC design experience in analog and mixed signal. His consulting includes work as an expert witness, and he is a CNSV At-Large Director. Kip has founded three startups, and he will provide insights from both sides of the table on the topic of startups hiring consultants.

Dr. Arthur M. Keller is Managing Partner of Minerva Consulting. He serves as an expert witness on patent infringement cases, and as an advisor to startups. Arthur has served on the board of several startups, including Persistence Software, where he was Chief Technical Advisor prior to its IPO. He has also co-founded several startups, including Mergent Systems, which was acquired by Commerce One.


CNSV Pre-meeting: Intellectual Property (IP) SIG (6-7 pm)

Co-Chairs: Joel Williams, Tal Lavian and Jerry Rice

Location: Aristotle Room

Understanding the Financial Value of Your Patent Portfolio: A Practical Guide for Technologists and Engineers

Speaker: Efrat Kasznik, Foresight Valuation Group

The value of patent portfolios is often shrouded in mystery, due to the lack of transparency associated with intellectual property transactions. The media coverage of recent multi-billion dollar patent deals and litigation activity has allowed a rare glimpse into the financial value of these assets. Understanding the financial value of IP portfolios is becoming critical to deploying a successful IP commercialization and monetization strategy in today’s global market.

Through case studies and financial data, Efrat Kasznik will provide a practical guide to understanding the value of a company’s patent portfolio from the perspective of a variety of stakeholders. Some of the valuation viewpoints that will be discussed include mergers & acquisitions (M&A), litigation damages, patent transactions, and financial/tax reporting.

Efrat Kasznik is an IP valuation expert, and a lecturer on IP Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). She is the founder and president of Foresight Valuation Group, a Silicon-Valley based IP consulting and startup advisory firm. Efrat has 20 years of consulting experience, focusing on assisting clients with valuing and commercializing their innovation. She worked as a valuation consultant to some of the world’s largest IP holders across a variety of industries, including telecommunications, aerospace, automotive, semiconductors, software, nanotechnology, cleantech, chemicals and media. She is a frequent speaker and author on IP valuation and strategy issues, and has spoken at major IP and technology conferences such as GigaOm Mobilize, ICAP patent auction, and Stanford GSB student and alumni events. Efrat is Chair of the Content, Communications and Cloud committee of the Licensing Executives Society (LES) USA-Canada, and is listed on the IAM 300 list of leading IP strategists for 2013.

Efrat served as a co-founder and adviser to several startups, including serving as Chief Financial Officer at a telecom startup, and most recently, as a co-founder of an energy efficiency start up, where she is also designated as co-inventor on patents related to analyzing residential energy usage. She serves on the Board of Advisers of several startups in the US and in Europe, and routinely advises startups on topics related to business strategy, financial modeling and IP portfolio management. She is a mentor at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Stanford GSB, and is a member of the screening committee of the Astia Angel Fund. Efrat received an MBA from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. in Accounting and Economics from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.


CNSV Pre-meeting: MedSIG (6-7 pm)

Co-Chairs: Shashidhar Sathyanarayana and Carl Angotti

Location: E.O. Wilson Room (adjoining the Aristotle Room)

Home Health / Aging in Place

Speaker: Walt Maclay, Voler Systems

Technology is now making a huge push into home health care. New markets are emerging as well as the traditional “aging in place” market is growing. New assistive technologies are being developed including communications, health and wellness monitoring, home safety and security. Product design must take into account user capability, medical device regulations, and technology issues. This talk will address the major issues for new devices in the home health and aging in place market. It will include resources, driving forces and the latest trends for new technology development.

Walt Maclay, President and Chief Engineer of Voler Systems, is committed to delivering quality electronic products on time and on budget. Voler Systems provides the integrated design, development and risk assessment of new devices for medical, industrial, aerospace and instrumentation applications.

Walt is recognized as a domain expert in Silicon Valley technical consulting associations. He is an instructor for the Product Realization Certificate Program. He is a CNSV member, and is past President of the Professional and Technical Consultants Association (PATCA). Walt has applied his leadership to many multidisciplinary teams that have delivered quality electronic devices. He holds a BSEE in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University.


Location: Agilent Technologies, Bldg. 5

5301 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95051
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