George Kutnerian has a particular focus in education and healthcare services that are technology-enabled as well as businesses that feature "choice technologies". Since 2007, George has been the CEO and a board member of Xencare, Inc., which owns and operates assisted living residences for the elderly. Under his leadership, Xencare has consistently been a top decile performer with respect to operating margins, having automated a significant portion of its workflow. In 2011, George successfully led Xencare to becoming only one of a handful of non-nursing senior living operators in California to be approved for Medicaid reimbursements as part of a state-wide pilot program. George is also the co-founder of test prep startup Apollo Prep (www.apolloprep.com), which provides advanced SAT test prep solutions for students seeking admission to the country's most selective colleges and universities.
Prior to Xencare, Mr. Kutnerian served as a manager within the Sales & Brand Management division at Altria Group. He received a B.S. (High Honors) from the University of California-Berkeley and an M.S. from Columbia University. He is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
The days when a technology based startup may have cost millions to launch are over. That same business now costs thousands to start, not millions, thanks to advances like open source and cloud computing. Product development cycles that were once painstakingly long are also over. Conceiving an idea and taking it from soup to nuts takes only a fraction of the time it used to.
The result is that seed and early stage capital is not nearly as important as it used to be. Entrepreneurs now have greater control over their financial destiny and can enjoy a greater share of the fruits of their labor. Everything is gravy then, right? Not necessarily. New opportunities have also led to new challenges. The same forces that have driven startup costs down and shortened product and service development cycles have also lowered competitive barriers and customer switching costs, resulting in increased competition. Today’s competitive pressure cooker is evidenced by consumer and business customers demanding more value, sooner. As such, entrepreneurs may experience a longer and more winding road towards monetizing at exit the value they have created.
The answer to these new challenges is not throwing more VC capital at seed and early stage startups, which often misaligns interests and leads to undesirable outcomes. If the amount of seed and early stage capital is not nearly as important as it used to be, then what has replaced it in relative importance? Collaboration between investor and entrepreneur…more of it, and sooner!
Blue Cedar Ventures, its values, and approach are borne out of this fundamental paradigm shift.