When technology pioneers George Teixeira and Ziya Aral invented storage-operating software would result in storage servers with one-third the cost and three times the performance of current hardware systems, they knew they would have to move quickly to meet market demand. But when their innovation fell on deaf ears at the company where they worked, they knew they would need to do it on their own.

"Unfortunately, 10 years of being a business executive does not equip you for running your own business — you don't know anything about things like insurance," explains Aral. In order to prepare for the transition from big corporation executives to small business owners, Teixeira and Aral needed business advice.

They went to SCORE with a very rough outline of a business plan and were met by counselors Dick Wasserman and Alvin Schwartz. Wasserman, a retired IBM executive, helped them simplify the technical language used in the business plan so that it could be clearly understood by potential funders.

My Successes: 

After four revisions of their business plan, Teixeira and Aral, along with 12 employees, walked out of their large corporation to start their own business, DataCore. "We had no job, but a very interesting technology," explains Aral. Together, the new team raised $750,000 through family and friends and their own funds — just enough to rent a warehouse space and to start creating the technology. But, DataCore needed to raise a lot more capital in order to continue.

DataCore received $6.6 million from two of the largest and well-known venture capital firms, making it the first software start-up firm in Florida to ever receive venture capital from these firms. This earned them the honor of being named by Facts Online as one of the 117 "hot" technology companies.

How SCORE Helped: 

Teixeira and Aral spent many hours with their SCORE mentors rehearsing and polishing a presentation for bankers and venture capitalists. Schwartz, a retired financial executive, played the role of a staunch venture capitalist with no comprehension of technology, asking tough questions. "We kept exercising their consistency," says Wasserman. 

Teixeira explains, "We were used to talking with the tech industry, but it's a different language with venture capitalists. SCORE asked the hard questions that we needed a concise answer to."