The SAGE Meeting and SAGE Engagement

The SAGE Meeting

Roughly 25 to 35 people attend a typical SAGE meeting. All are professionals with experience in both large enterprises as well as startup businesses and operations. Others are VIP’s from the University and local entrepreneurship support organizations. After some initial announcements, the Entrepreneur gets 20 minutes to make his/her presentation. The Entrepreneur delivers their pitch uninterrupted. There is a dedicated 15 to 20 minute Q&A session following the presentation where advisors ask clarifying questions.

After the Startup’s presentation and Q&A session, all those associated with the Startup Company leave the room and the advisors in attendance formulate an initial set of feedback statements. This brainstorming typically takes 20 minutes after which time the Entrepreneurs associated with the Startup Company are invited back into the room for a carefully facilitated discussion. The specific feedback points are provided to the Startup in hardcopy form after the meeting.

Separately, advisors also indicate their individual interest in offering their advisory services to the Startup Company. Depending on the potential company contribution and the perceived openness of the Entrepreneur to feedback a single advisor may step forward, several advisors may volunteer, or a large group may indicate interest. These advisors are bound by pledges to both the SAGE group and to Innosphere to treat all your business matters with full confidentiality.

The Engagement

You will be contacted shortly after the SAGE meeting with:

  1. Hard copy feedback points from the meeting
  2. Name of the Lead Advisor
  3. Names and contact info of other interested SAGE Advisors

You, as the Entrepreneur, of course can say no-thank-you to any or all of the interested SAGE Advisors. Assuming however that there is mutual interest, the Lead Advisor will initiate follow-up discussions. The Lead Advisor will schedule a 1 on 1 meeting with you and others who were involved in your SAGE readiness. One objective of this 1 on 1 is to transfer knowledge gained during the SAGE assessment and vetting process to the Lead Advisor. Another objective is to begin the process of defining specific outcomes of the engagement, defining the structure of the team and to begin the process of planning the engagement.

The SAGE Advisors are each asked to make a 3-12 month commitment of up to 48 hours – at no cost – to the Startup Company. At their first or second meeting, the Startup and the SAGE Advisors should map out the expectations and timelines for those hours for the next 3 to 12 months – “The Mutual Agreement” document.  After receiving 48 hours of advising, the Startup Company and the Advisor may elect to continue their relationship under any mutually agreeable terms – Board seat, equity, and fee for services are all permissible under Innosphere guidelines. The Startup Company may ask Advisors to actually perform certain work items in addition to advising. The Advisors may elect to include their additional contribution on work items within their 48-hour no-charge commitment or may elect to instead to propose a compensated engagement for the work items.

The expectation of the SAGE program and its advisors is that the SAGE Advisor and Startup Company work as a team to make significant progress towards company formation. The Startup Company can expect that the SAGE advisor will actively participate in briefings, and offer advice that in their best estimation can help make a positive difference to the Company. The SAGE Advisor can expect that the Startup Company will listen openly to the advisor’s advice, and make significant progress towards mutually agreed objectives. Unprofessional behavior outside commonly accepted standards of business conduct will most likely lead to a termination of the advising relationship. In all circumstances the Company — its founders, employees, and officers — remain in control of all decisions.

If expectations are not met from either party, the other party can terminate the relationship at any time. By making a presentation at SAGE and subsequently engaging with SAGE members in advising sessions, the Company and its founders, employees, and officers agree to release SAGE and its members from any liability related to the merits and suitability of such advice.

Summary of Expectations of SAGE companies

  • Openly shares Startup company successes and challenges. Does not overstate reality.
  • Prepares well-organized and functionally balanced presentations of the Startup business.
  • Open to criticism and other’s ideas; And maintains a healthy positive attitude
  • Meets agreed upon milestones and completes agreed upon action items
  • Works with advisor on a written advisory plan
  • Comes to meetings prepared to discuss agenda topics; Listens to other points of view without interrupting; and supports keeping the meetings focused on the agreed upon topics.
  • Arrives at meetings on time