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Image and Venture Capital: Publishing and the Prospectus

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Along with two other authors – John Lee Brook and Phineas Tol – I participate in a new publishing company called Group at Old Pink. Rather than attempt to operate on a shoestring budget, we decided that, despite the fact that the publishing industry is in flux at the present moment, we would go merrily forth and seek financial backing from venture capitalists.

The first thing we learned was that we needed a formal prospectus to present to the money-men. This is not an option, it is a necessity. The guys with the money won’t even talk to you until they’ve had a chance to look at your brochure. So we consulted the experts in commercial printing, Southeastern Printing. These guys put together materials for all sorts of high-flying companies, including major pharmaceutical companies and even the Ford Foundation. So we were in good hands.

Venture capitalists are interested in a number of things: a business plan, potential profitability, and something I never even considered – image. And the first glimpse the VC guys get of your image is found in your prospectus. So it better be good.

As the guys at the printers explained to us, “Your image is just as important as your business model.” They went on at length about the topic. After a while, my eyes began to glaze over, but this is what I came away with regarding image: image, as ritual and symbol, is as necessary to human beings as air and water. The recognition of image marks us as human, and gives us identity. And that is why the inquiry into the makeup of image, and its constituents, becomes influential. Is image an illusion; is it a mere commodity? Is it only a credit card receipt away? Or is it something more ethereal? Is it substantial or insubstantial? Is it purely and only physical; is it abstract?

In other words, are the Thomists right, or should the Manicheans take precedence? What is image? And how does it impact us as individuals? As members of a society? How does it impact and influence our culture? Or does our culture influence our opinion of image? And of course, all these interrogatives are pertinent and important; yet the most salient question is this: what kind of image are you presenting?

As you can tell, I came away with more questions about the topic than answers, but one thing I do know is that the creative brainiacs at the printers had put a lot of thought into the subject. So I deferred to them and told them to ‘go for it,’ which I thought endowed me with a kind of ‘no-worries-risk-taking image.’ What do you think?

Anyway, the prospectuses were printed up and sent out. Somebody somewhere was impressed, because my two erstwhile partners are now involved in heavy-duty discussions, which are fast approaching quasi-negotiations, is the way I get it.

So if you’re thinking about seeking venture capital, don’t forget to snazzy-up your image with a buffed and polished prospectus.

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About Randall Radic