Last week, the Dingman Center hosted another edition of our speaker series featuring Wayne Kimmel ’92 (@waynekimmel). Wayne is the founder and Managing Partner of SeventySix Capital, a seed and early stage venture capital fund that invests in consumer product and service businesses. He is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist and tireless networker and an avid sports fan. Some of SeventySix Capital’s most notable investments include Indiegogo, SeamlessWeb and Nutrisystem.
In an informal and intimate setting, Wayne offered advice on a range of topics, but focused primarily on the the importance of building a strong network and how to go about doing so. The room was filled with student entrepreneurs, both undergraduate and MBA, and even had guest appearances from Dingman Center Founder, Rudy Lamone and Smith School Dean, Alex Triantis. Here are some of the highlights from his talk:
- Networking is crucial. Even if you own an online business, you have to build relationships, so get off the couch! You also don’t need to wait for an invitation. If there is somewhere you want to go that presents an opportunity for you to network, GO.
- Go to places where business people spend time. Modern technology allows you to easily figure out where people are, so there’s no reason why you can’t find them and talk to them. Over time, you’ll build relationships with the people you see at these places.
- Once you get into an event, you have to work the room. Always have a business card ready. It’s a natural ice breaker.
- Wear a name tag and always put it on the right side. When you shake someone’s hand, they’ll immediately see your name.
- Give back. Networking is a two-way street. If you help make connections for others, they’ll help make connections for you. Keep up with your contacts, send congratulations on their successes,and be helpful when you can. It comes back around.
- Say thank you! Time is precious. Be appreciative to those who take time to meet with you, talk with you at a networking event and make the connections that matter.
Following his presentation, Wayne opened the floor for questions from the crowd. Student entrepreneurs were able to pitch their business ideas and present the challenges and opportunities they’re experiencing, all while getting an investor’s perspective.