Ovation Inc. was a small start-up launched in 1982 to build "the next generation" of integrated PC software. It started out strong, but filed for Chapter 11 two years later after spending $7 million and failing to deliver a product.
The company suffered from a fundamental imbalance: too much marketing and not enough technology.
C. Gordon Bell, an entrepreneur and former head of engineering at Digital Equipment Corp., thinks it is possible for start-ups and their investors to spot problems early through constant monitoring. He spells out what it takes to make it in today's high-technology world in his new book, "High-Tech Ventures."
Mr. Bell divides the life of a start-up into five stages: concept, seed, product development, market development and steady state. Within these stages, Mr. Bell identifies 12 aspects for evaluation, from the board of directors to the business plan. He considers four to be the most critical determinants of success: people, cash, manufacturing and marketing.