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A Serial Entrepreneur in Search of Disruption

Q & A with Rich Langdale

Rich Langdale, managing partner and co-founder of NCT, a venture capital company that invests in early and early growth stage businesses in marketing, logistics and technology, searches the globe for “disruptive business models” and then brings those entities to central Ohio to be nurtured under NCT’s guidance. A professor of entrepreneurship at The Ohio State University, Langdale shares his insights.

What characteristics set an entrepreneur apart from corporate professionals?

We believe that the attributes of a good entrepreneur also make a good intrapreneur in a corporate environment. We look for the ability to have a clear vision for the future that aligns both personal goals and professional ambitions and then the ability to take that vision and turn it into a mission, strategic plan and financial plan. It is someone who can think across these specific and defined stages of a business’s evolution and can articulate it.

What advice do you have for fledgling entrepreneurs?

Take the time to build the financial plan in advance of starting the business and test and retest your theory as much as you can before you launch. One of the best ways to do this is to talk to potential customers and make sure you aren’t fooling yourself about your business model. Unfortunately, so many entrepreneurs avoid talking to customers because they don’t think they will understand. That kind of myopic thinking is counterintuitive to innovation.

What are the core considerations when you evaluate a business idea?

Ultimately, we are looking for dynamic growth opportunities that need an infusion of capital to scale the business quickly. We start with a Venn Diagram to reference an opportunity. We look at the problem that is being solved, market analytics and market potential. We evaluate the management team’s potential. And, we determine whether the business is consistent with our core competencies. For those businesses that fall within the intersecting circles, we will drill down further.

What is your Circle of Prosperity road map and how does it work?

The Circle of Prosperity lays out the key stages necessary to bring an idea to market. NCT Ventures, in conjunction with The Center for Entrepreneurship at The Ohio State University, created the Ideas-To-Business Model in 2001 that was based upon our circle. An entirely new business emerged when the collaborators realized that we often spend a substantial amount of time working with potential businesses and directing them to the resources they need to effectively vet an idea. NCT provided early stage investment for Venture Highway, the business model that transformed the circle into an entrepreneurial curriculum and business tools for both educators and entrepreneurs that is available on line.

How would you rate New Albany’s business climate in terms of innovation?

New Albany is doing all the right things to attract entrepreneurs. They have identified focused areas of expertise within their business park, including technology which is critical. They have put together the right resources to help businesses in the community. And, they have attracted mentors and professionals who are willing to help small businesses.

 

 

Innovate New Albany, the city’s incubator for technology startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses, features 16,000 square feet of space within the New Albany Business Park’s Signature Office Building, 8000 Walton Parkway.

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