Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fraud Prevention: Getting the Facts

Employee theft and customer fraud are issues for companies at all stages of growth, and there's no better way to consider what are apporpraite controls for your business than to hear the recommended best practices of the experts. If you're in Ottaw next Thursday, you might want to check out PWC's presentation to the National Capital Region Chapter of Financial Executives International Canada.

Kas Rehman of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP will discuss the the key components of an enterprise wide anti-fraud regime, including governance, fraud risk assessments, ethics, incident reporting mechanisms, communication, intelligence screening and remediation. This kind of overview is a great time-saving way to prime yourself on the subject.

Another option is to call Kas and beg for a copy of his slide deck. You can also try begging Howard Quon here in PWC's Toronto office.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Shop Now for Valentine's Day

Each January I try to stop at one of my favourite sites, Despair.Com for some early Valentine's Shopping. Their candy hearts - Bittersweets - have lovely sayings such as "U Left Seat Up", "Mommy Issues", "Use Me 2Heal" and "Prenup OK?" Their motivational calendars are also not to be missed - somehow, the site's faux cynicism makes real world problems bearable.

Barry Gekiere Exits Ventures West

I met Barry Gekiere (or, as we call him in our office, "kitten" )during my first month as a VC. Our funds had invested in the same company which, shall we say, was underperforming, and Barry rolled up his sleeves and dug in in a way that no one else at the board table did.

So it comes as no surprise that Barry would find himself drawn to turnaround management in the current market. His offical announcement yesterday that he has left Ventures West to focus on this area at the Kirchner Group as a Managing Director is a great fit. More and more of my favourite colleagues seem to spend time at Kirchner (Paul Gardner is one of them);maybe it's the coffee.

Looking South: Status Update on Kodiak Venture Partners

It is more than 8 years since new VC Kodiak Ventures made its name investing in Ottawa based semiconductor plays such as Solidum and Extreme Packets, followed by Tropic Networks, Potentia and BTI Photonics. Since it raised its third fund in 2004, Kodiak has played closer to home, preferring to invest in more companies in Boston (although it has continued to support BTI and had a hand in unsuccessful Simpler Networks up here). With the departure of partner Ilan Carmi a few years ago, there seems to be little interest in continued investment up here. Kodiak is rumoured to be going to market to raise its fourth fund this quarter.

As a hedge against poor market condition, in late November Kodiak let it be known that it has entered into an arrangement with one of its limited partners to provide continued support for some of the older companies in Kodiak's portfolio.

What is a sidecar arangement? In Kodiak's case, partner Tony Volpe told Tech Confidential that some of Kodiak's lps had purchased a small ownership position in a number of portfolio companies as well as put up additional capital for Kodiak to continue to invest in and support those companies.Good news for Ottawa's BTI and Montreal's Airwide Solutions, we can hope.

This kind of sidecar fund is a popular tool that only some local VCs here have been able to secure from their lps. Given that the sale of LP interests in secondary markets reportedly fell to 61% of net asset value in the second half of 2008, let's hope that limited partners find an appetite for further funding.