Ivy Exec recently interviewed Akira Hirai, Founder and CEO of Cayenne Consulting. Cayenne Consulting helps entrepreneurs put their best foot forward when they reach out to venture capitalists, angel investors, bankers, and other sources of capital. Cayenne’s primary focus is the preparation of leading-edge business plans, pitch decks, and financial forecasts, supported by thorough market and competitor research and analysis, time-tested strategic and tactical planning, and critical review of key assumptions.
Ivy Exec: In which area of your company do you expect the most growth during 2012?
Akira Hirai: Our core business – business plans, pitch decks, and financial forecasts – will continue to grow very rapidly. Startups represent a large market: hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs seek capital from VCs and angel groups each year, and millions more seek funding from banks and friends & family. They all require planning to guide their ventures and to tell their stories.
Ivy Exec: What changes and challenges do you think your company and industry will see in the next 5 years?
Akira: The crowdfunding provisions of the JOBS Act will encourage many entrepreneurs to do this work themselves. And to the extent they have the time and skills, they probably should. Entrepreneurs need to drive the planning process – they can’t outsource thinking.
Ivy Exec: What led you to found Cayenne Consulting in 2001?
Akira: During the Dot Com days, I was involved with a couple of startups in Silicon Valley. I had consistently received great feedback from VCs on my business plans and financial models. And I really enjoy working with entrepreneurs and exploring different markets and technologies. It was a natural next step for me.
Ivy Exec: What three words or phrases best describe your culture?
Akira: Independent, client-focused, continuous improvement
Ivy Exec: What are the two best perks that employees get at your company?
Akira: Constant variety in assignments and the ability to take on as much responsibility as you can effectively handle.
Ivy Exec: What gets you excited about going to work each day?
Akira: The pride of managing a company that has grown to be the Mercedes of our industry.
Ivy Exec: Which leadership qualities best insure success at Cayenne Consulting?
Akira: The ability to help clients succeed, while ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.
Ivy Exec: What is the biggest misconception that you encounter about the consulting industry?
Akira: That consultants choose to “teach” because they cannot “do.” Most of our consultants have had hands-on experience as startup founders, and we are now leveraging our experience to help multiple entrepreneurs.
Ivy Exec: How did Cayenne Consulting get its name?
Akira: I like spicy foods, we write red hot business plans, and we help heat up startups!