Greg Steltenpohl, the founder of Odwalla, spoke to a rapt audience at the recent Social Venture Network spring conference in San Diego.  Here are some excerpts from his talk:

The riskiest thing I ever did was bring an investment banker in to invest in the company.  Us entrepreneurs don’t think nearly enough about the decision of who you get in bed with with the money.  You put some real thought into who you partner with but when it comes time to go get the money you just want the money and you’re so happy that someone believes in you that you take the money.  It’s crazy.  There is way not enough attention paid to thoroughly thinking through and vetting and doing your homework on who is the money.  As soon as the money comes in, the destiny is changed.  You gotta make sure that that is what you want.

Mr. Steltenpohl speaks from experience.  Because of pressures from investors, Odwalla was sold to Coca Cola.

Giving up control and/or going public are not requirements for raising capital.  Many large and successful companies have avoided those routes.

Clif Bar is one example.  The founder, Gary Erickson, chose not to sell the company, giving up $60 million to stay in control.

When asked why the company hasn’t gone public, Erickson said, “We have exponentially more freedom.”

Marjorie Kelly has a chapter in her new book, Owning Our Future called Stakeholder Finance: Capital as Friend.

Talk to CEC today about how we can help you preserve your freedom by raising capital from stakeholders that will be your friend!