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Partnership and Conflict of Interest in Smartix

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    – Vivek wanted one more partnership, and he remembered a presentation by David Checketts (CEO of MSG), where he expressed interest in online ticketing initiatives. Later, a HBS professor connected the Smartix team with Checketts. – Smartix wanted to refine the presentation before approaching the top five VCs, so they started with trial VCs. First, Kirill knew someone who worked at Divisidero Farley, and he described the concept to them and got the team an opportunity to meet with Divisidero Farley.

    The meeting enabled Smartix to understand the VC’s concerns and perspective about the idea. Therefore, Smartix had a chance to change some parts of the presentation before they met with the next trial VC, Melrose, which is one of the top-tier but not top five. However, Melrose wanted them to implement incremental tryouts starting from a smaller arena. -Vivek thought that getting MSG onboard would give them more credibility to approach the bigger VCs.

    Just in case other people started cornering out the market in the West Coast, Viveck also wanted Smartix to have a big enough potential business for their business to be sustainable. Playing with MSG and getting a strong VC onboard would help Smartix bring down the rest of VC’s along the way. These are the reasons why Smartix went to MSG for the second approach. – After Smartix got MSG’s LOI, they were ready to approach the top five VCs.

    So, Vivek asked HBS professor, Bill Sahlman, for help, and the professor gave him the numbers of the top VCs and followed up to make sure the team actually met with the VCs. -In order to cut their cost, Smartix arranged back to back meetings with Accel and Benchmark. In order to get the capital as soon as possible, Smartix used the underlying competition between the two VCs to their advantage and got Accel onboard in a short amount of time. Accel gave the team a term sheet with their investment including a due diligence work on Smartix in order to verify its relationship with MSG. However, when Smartix returned to MSG with this term sheet, MSG did not understand why Accel should be included at this stage because MSG wanted complete control over Smartix until the system developed to the their satisfaction so that they could lower the risk of the project. There was a conflict of interest between MSG and Accel.

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