Top tips for startups by Greg Rice

Top tips for startups by Greg Rice


When you meet new companies and companies go through our acquisition and investigation process, can you tell us something about how the process works? And how closely do you look at companies? Because I think there’s a little bit of this myth of the “demo day” and the “elevator pitch” that everybody should be able to convince an investor in three minutes otherwise their opportunity is lost. At the same time, being an early stage investor there could be a good founder with a good idea who’s not very very good at pitching so how do you approach this? How do you find and sift? Right. When we do the intake through the Studio we’re averaging up to two two applications a
day and you know that just to go through those act just to keep up with you know
evaluating those applications using my minimal criteria that we talked about
that’s that’s a job but what we try to do is come up with a short list of
people to look at that meet the criteria we talked about you know there’s does
the team look you know okay on paper does the idea hold water you know is it
somewhat mobile you know and is it sufficiently differentiated that you
could act that it’s gonna be noticed you know and those are the kind of the
things that that we’re looking for and then lastly specific for us is is it
going to be delivered on a digital platform because you know if there’s if
we’re not going to add you if there’s no digital platform
involved I think you know that that’s where we really come into our own so
that’s kind of the evaluation process once we have that with then we narrow it
down we usually do a phone conversation with with founder or the founders if if
there if there are more than one and we tend to you know from that phone
conversation say does this stack up do we want do we want to meet you know
bringing them in and meet the rest of the team because nobody gets through
here without meeting everybody in the team and we try to do everything with
the unanimous you know thumbs up so so when you when you were thinking about
investing in the starter is it the idea or the team that’s most important both
sorry you got to have both and you know a great idea with the wrong team won’t
work you know a good team can usually you know you can usually find an idea
that’ll of me so you know if you look at it that way I guess I’d rather I the
team is probably going to outweigh the idea in the long run because a good team
can you know come come up with a new idea basically you know a idea can’t
come up with a new team so I think you know they’re both important you know
when you’re evaluating the startup I don’t think we would we would really
look at anything that didn’t have both so have there been situations where you
got engaged with or you were evaluating a company and you liked the idea but you
decided not to work with it because you didn’t have enough confidence with the
team absolutely absolutely I mean you know and to be quite honest you know if
I look at the Contra of that if you had a good team and
you know they came in with a not it with a half-baked idea you might see them
again but probably you’d probably go away and tell them do a little work out
there right yeah you know what is the ideal team I mean we see companies with
single finders with many founders and I mean what do you look for in an ideal
team I’m still looking for that one now I it’s it’s difficult I mean you
know if you kind of set your parameters this is what I want in a team you’re
never going to invest in any companies because you’re never gonna get what you
want people are different and people that come together they come together
for serendipitous reasons you know and you can’t really control that you know I
think probably the most difficult journey is the sole founders journey we
see a lot of soul founders because you know the idea generally gets generated
out of out of an idea out of somebody’s mind who you know is kind of workaholic
and you know and that that’s how you end up with sole founders it’s a difficult
route because you have nobody to really bounce off of and when things get
difficult you have nobody to support you and it’s a really really difficult road
I mean as an investor I would always rather have a team if we could on the
other hand you can’t force the team either you know if they’re you know you
can’t say go find somebody because he just it’s like go find a partner to
marry you know you can’t force that type of thing but you know ideally if you
could you know if you would have a domain expert in the domain that the the
startup will be operating in and probably secondly somebody
to balance that either operationally or technically or something like that you
know it’s nice to have that balance and you know that and to have some different
expertise right I mean what startups do is they they look out at at the market
and you know they you know a good startup is looking for an opportunity
because the world is always shifting and the environment in which we operate what
people like and there are the tastes change and things like that what a
start-up is trying to do is say right we what what we want we see this change
happening and we think we can grab this opportunity and actually make a business
out of it to me that’s pretty exciting because what you’re looking for is you
know changes that can give you that give you the opportunity to actually do
something so if you got got any tips for startups than a meeting investors for
the first time probably my biggest tip to somebody running a start-up is really
nailed down your story before you you know go burn a few bridges I guess
that’s probably the best way best way I can say it I mean my advice would be try
to actually give yourself a little runway before you actually have to go
pitch for real money why raise a little friends and family or do enough work
that you can actually get your story really straight before you God and start
seeing investors that you don’t know okay it’s critical because you’re not
gonna get that many chances and if you make a hash of it you’re probably not
gonna get very far you do a good job with one the network is there it’s like
I found one you know the vest is usually invest in
or herd so if you can get the you know get the head one to say yes then the
rest usually come so you know getting that story rights incredibly important
and you know whether you work with you know an incubator or a startup studio
like us that has those and those benefits so Greg what’s the investment
that you’re most proud of that’s a difficult one I’m not even sure that’s
fair I mean all the stuff we’re doing in the UK I love them all I love what
they’re doing you know they all have had their you know their wins and their
failures you know that they’re all evolving but I still believe in them all
and you know if I had to pick one I think it’s only fair that one that’s
sort of run its entire lifecycle and you know and I you know go back to kind of
late 90s I a friend of mine and his wife were running a early digital platform
business and this is in California they they were just at the point of they were
it was working but they had no money and they were just about ready to pull the
plug and it’s like alright we need to do this this isn’t this let’s throw in some
money and that one actually you know took off after that and you know I think
there were a few key things that happened I think the investment helped
their mind with the investment they were able to go out and find somebody that
actually was the connector that plugged that business in to so many things it it
got them acquired the company that acquired them was in process of doing
their IPO and they needed to put more businesses in so
I was one of the IPS you know so yeah I’m I’m proud of that because you know
the opportunity yeah it was there it needed to be Donald a little differently
and you know we basically took it from you know a pretty steep dive to leveled
off into you know a really nice flight again so yeah that’s fun hopefully we’ve
got you know a few of our startups here that are gonna have the same journey you
know these things are never clear and they’re never you know they’re none of
them are easy

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