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Sevin Rosen Funds CEO Survey Identifies 2003 Challenges; Creative Customer Acquisition, Team Morale Top List.

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Sevin Rosen Funds, an early-stage, technology venture capital firm, today announced the findings from their 2003 CEO Challenge Survey, conducted during the recent SRF CEO Summit. Not surprisingly, the most common challenge identified by start-up CEOs was finding new means for acquiring customers, but less obvious and more telling was that the second most common challenge was keeping team morale high during tough times.

"The purpose of this survey was to uncover key challenges facing early-stage companies as they approach 2003, and use this understanding to help set priorities for the coming year," said David Shrigley, general partner at Sevin Rosen Funds. "We took the survey at the start of the meeting and were able to discuss solutions to many of the challenges during the course of the Summit."

Survey Findings

In listing the challenge of customer acquisition, obstacles cited by the CEOs include: reduced sales and marketing resources; difficultly in gaining early reference customers; demand for proving ROI; and hesitancy to do business with a start-up in uncertain economic times.

Maintaining team morale and employee motivation was the second most common challenge facing these companies. CEOs are struggling to balance employee satisfaction with frugality and are looking for ways to keep their teams focused on success despite the challenges posed by the current economic environment.

Other challenges CEOs see for 2003 include continuing to innovate in the face of slow revenue generation and defining the right customer-focused products for the future.

"The message for CEOs from this survey is 'you are not alone' and there are feasible solutions to your challenges," commented Jackie Kimzey, general partner at Sevin Rosen Funds. "Many early-stage companies are facing significant hurdles getting those initial customers signed and keeping their team inspired in the process. Sevin Rosen Funds' partners are working closely with each of our portfolio company teams to develop concrete solutions to the issues they face while building a company in a tough market."

About the SRF CEO Summit

Sevin Rosen Funds hosts an annual CEO Summit to address topical issues faced by many of its portfolio companies. This year the topic was Planning, Culture, and Team, three subjects that are often overlooked in start-ups as they struggle with technology, product development, and financing related issues. This year's Summit sessions were led by SRF partners with operational expertise and also included guest speakers from Documentum, Citrix, and nthOrbit.

"I found the discussions I had during the SRF CEO Summit with other CEO's about solutions to common challenges to be very valuable," commented Dave Vucina, CEO of Wayport. "Being able to tap into the wide range of operational experience of the SRF team makes a significant difference in all aspects of building a company."

Topics discussed during the SRF CEO Summit included the importance of strategic and annual operating plans and examples of team-building techniques and ways to foster an execution-oriented culture.

About Sevin Rosen Funds

Sevin Rosen Funds is a top-tier venture capital firm with a track record of funding successful companies since 1981. The partnership has consistently made early stage investments in pioneering technologies and companies with the potential to create new markets. The most recent fund, Sevin Rosen Fund VIII, is capitalized at $600 million. Compaq, Lotus, Cypress, Citrix, CIENA and Capstone Turbine are some of the firm 's successful lPOs. Sevin Rosen Funds has offices in Dallas, Palo Alto, Austin, and San Diego. For more information go to

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CONTACT: Kamini Ramani of Sparkpr, +1-415-962-8200, ext. 242, or, for Sevin Rosen Funds; or Jennifer Kammeyer of Sevin Rosen Funds, +1-650-326-0550, or

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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 13, 2002
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