uSAOver the last few months I have had the chance to speak to entrepreneurs from Brazil, China, Estonia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Norway, Singapore and Ukraine seeking to operate and solicit investment here in the U.S.  As an attorney, I’m expected to focus on best legal practices.  They’re indeed important, but perhaps not worth quite so much energy if the company isn’t on a course to succeed as a business.

Among my first questions, I’m curious to know what a company has, why it’s great, who’s willing to pay, and how much.  Then, I explore other challenges facing the business.

For start-up companies that still want to talk, here’s my simplified rundown of business and legal items (for information purposes only, not legal advice):


Continue Reading U.S. Market Entry Top 10

Migration is already underway, but some of the world’s largest organizations are still reluctant. They handle proprietary data and a staggering volume of transactions.  They want to marshal information and deliver nuanced results.  But a lack of appreciation for the Cloud’s promise, together with questions surrounding security and cost, make many CTOs and COOs cling to legacy systems.

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At the surface, the Cloud is seemingly straightforward even for occasional users; using encryption and/or password protection, individuals log on to a website, smartphone app, or similar “thin” interface. They may send an email, manage ‘Internet-of-things’ controls, reserve a seat, store a document, access a data base, or subscribe to an online tool for accounting or lead tracking.  While it’s clear that the “back office” intelligence sits someplace else, users probably don’t appreciate the architecture.

Understanding the Cloud’s capabilities and shortcomings is key to a thoughtful migration strategy. Can organizations really save money by replacing their on-premise solutions?  How do they comply with regulations around the world addressing the collection, use and transfer of personal data?  When migrating, do they retain control of their systems?  What about cyber security?  Here’s a simplified description for non-technologists!


Continue Reading Cloud Migration Demystified

Health_Cloud_shutterstock_129963686As companies continue to implement mobile health apps, aggregate clinical trial results, and isolate disease through computer modeling, they are also focused on possible risks. Harnessing cloud technology gives rise to a constant concern about keeping sensitive data secure.

Medicine has led the drive for nimble handling and accessibility of information.  Electronic health records and clinical decision support have been widely adopted. Physician order entry facilitates scrutiny of outcomes. Stats can be compared thanks to industry standards for sharing. Devices for patient compliance and fitness provide value by accumulating user information to assess individual results and detect trends. Finally, better processing power can employ sophisticated algorithms to sift hundreds of millions of compounds and billions of DNA base pairs in a quest to discover drug targets.


Continue Reading Your Health in the Cloud

It’s not where the Sox play ball.  It’s home to the world’s largest accelerator, MassChallenge, where 128 start-up businesses from around the world are polishing their plans and getting mentored in hopes of winning money or landing that critical investor audience.

I just finished leading my third program on how to pitch.  The finalists are far enough along that they no longer get allowances for unknowns and the chance to engage a listener with information they only hope to hone.  They’ve done enough homework to know their team needs, round out their data, show they’ve tapped the right market, trot out validating customers, or boast a board of advisers.  Yet even the most brilliant entrepreneur can get caught in the headlights.

Here are the six tips that the companies I’m coaching will hear from me in the coming weeks:
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A solar water heater on every Israeli rooftop

Israel is a garden of inventiveness and Israelis have a strong tradition of contributing to technology and life sciences. Breathing the innovation when I lived there, I was privileged to test PrimeSense’s 3D camera, help bring Notal Vision’s tool to gauge macular degeneration to the United States, deliver a turn-key VoIP network in Nigeria and Zambia on behalf of VocalTec, license ecommerce and security software to dozens of Fortune 100 companies, watch knee surgery with miraculous tissue-repairing Regentis hydrogel, play with a gear box created from an Objet (now Stratasys) 3D printer, and negotiate sponsored research, patent licenses and clinical trials on behalf of emerging pharmaceutical companies.

Figuring out what gives rise to the “start-up nation” character, with wildly disproportionate foreign direct investment and numbers of translated books, cited academics, filed patents, Nasdaq companies, successful exits, and tuneful children’s songs, is a pervasive new-age question. Many answers have been floated, including its world-class research institutions, the very first technology transfer offices for commercialization of academic R&D, raw skills honed in one of the best-trained and most-sophisticated militaries, a culture of questioning, and a flood of ex-Soviet engineering talent over three decades. Naturally one can’t discount that there are real issues to be addressed too. Israelis have done it — from discerning security risks through synthesis of big data to making the desert bloom with fruit, vegetables, fish, and minerals.
Continue Reading Ingenuity in Israel’s Water