Creative Ways to Raise Early-Stage Capital
i-Teams Panel Discussion
December 8, 2004 – Graduate students in the i-Teams course heard two CEOs and two
investors discuss creative ways to raise early-stage capital for startups. The special
session, which was open to the public, capped off i-Teams’ inaugural semester and was
part of MIT Fall Innovation Week.
Janet Kraus, CEO and co-founder of Circles; Lucinda Linde, investor at Walnut Venture
Associates; Mark Lundstrom, CEO of BioScale, Inc.; and Laura Morse, human capital
partner of Atlas Venture, discussed fundraising methods including bootstrapping, tapping
friends and family, angel investing, and government grants (e.g. SBIR). Deshpande
Center Executive Director Krisztina Holly moderated the session, which was hosted by i-
Teams Faculty Lead Ken Zolot.
The following is a review of the session that includes the panelists’ bios and
presentations, followed by a Q&A segment.
CEO and founder of Circles, a marketing company that creates experiences that develop
better relationships between companies and their best customers. American Express is a
client. “If you carry an American Express platinum card, one of the features of a platinum
card is access to a 24/7 concierge, a live personal assistant who can get you into a trendy
restaurant in New York, get you World Series tickets when they’re sold out,” said Kraus.
Since 1997 raised $26 million in venture capital for Circles. Sits on board of the Capital
Network. Honors: finalist in 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award,
Boston Business Journal 40 Under 40, Circles chosen by Greater Boston Chamber of
Commerce as Small Business of Year.
Partner at Walnut Venture Associates, background in both investing and operations.
Involved in many startups, including Molten Metal Technologies (an MIT spinout) and
Ceramics Process Systems – both ventured-backed startups that went public. Earned
materials science degree at MIT, then went to Harvard Business School (HBS). Has been
an angel inves