It was really a SEED study that prompted me to create this program.
Over 3 decades ago, I was a college student in Venezuela, investigating genetics, and particularly, grass seeds. Grass seeds’ lemma and palea are SO hard that pollen grains cannot get through them and enter the stigma, causing Apomixis. Yep, I know all of these terms. An active nucleus would be tinted in a beautiful blue, and inactive one would not. Our main problem was that the seeds themselves were so hard we could not cut them.
We spent months trying to find the perfect way to weaken the seeds so we could have clean cuts and observe the nucleus. The material surrounding the seeds was a softer plastic, so everything the blade contacted the seeds, they would come off.
Because I had done other work on plant cells, I knew that we could use a diamond cutter to slice very hard surfaces – in this case, a hard plastic where a tiny piece of a leaf was immersed into. It then occurred to me to strengthen the plastic and use a different type of cutting.
After several months of testing, we developed a way to make clean cuts of the hard seeds to investigate their nucleus.
How is this related to funding?
Funding is fundamentally a human process, and it involves individuals with all of our complexities. From the demand side of capital, individuals are at a disadvantage because they are not exposed to the fundraising process continuously. From the supply side of capital, individuals are under pressure to select those who are better prepared, have better business models, and have established trust in some form.
Entrepreneurs or fundraisers get as prepared as they can but when they are underprepared watching them is painful, no matter who it is. Furthermore, some good deals are lost because of that.
I shifted the way we managed seeds to study apomixis by making the context stronger. I now want to shift the narrative of funding, making entrepreneurs stronger. There are so many WAYS of getting funding that just thinking about Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists don’t do justice.
Yes, there will be deals that don’t get funded, but not because the entrepreneurs are underprepared, that is my goal.