Entrepreneur vs Financier

About two weeks ago I was at a seminar where one of the key note speakers was introduced as an entrepreneur . He had it all. The swagger, the million dollar smile, the gift of the gab and the ego.

His keynote was about his start-ups and the capital injection he has raised over the years and he was giving tips and tricks on how to make it to the big leagues. He had apparently raised in the region of a 100 million dollars for his diverse start-ups (impressive , granted) and his exits has made him a rich man.

I asked him then whether his goal was to exit his start-ups and his answer was : of course, is that not the goal of all entrepreneurs? I got a hollow feeling in my stomach. This guy was not an entrepreneur, he is a financier. I was tempted to ask him how much profit his companies had actually made for the investors post exit but decided to keep the peace. (these ponzi scheme investments is just terrible)

But this is a common fallacy that is being perpetrated on the market. There are a bunch of people out there misconstruing what an entrepreneur is (imho, and they are all trying to get onto TED to tell the world what awesome entrepreneurs they are) . To me she is an inventor, who is and remains passionate about her invention. A financier is somebody that bank rolls the idea. An entrepreneur generally sticks around after the life has gone from the idea because a lot of blood sweat and tears went into the creation of their products/services whilst the financier has cut his losses or profits long since.

So just a word of advice here, know who you are talking to and what motivates them. The money or the product.