Written for founders I have invested in, am considering investing in, or who want me to invest in them. I aim to be the most useful angel on your cap table.
- If you want me as an angel, email me. I don't mind cold emails.
- I write $5k to $50k checks to 10-30 startups every year, and introduce them to other useful angels and institutional funds for additional capital.
I love helping with
- 📈 Growing teams. I've taken teams from 4 —> 400
- 🤝 M&A Strategy (fyi this begins at founding). I've sold 3 companies as founder and / or CEO
- 1st for $3m, 2nd for $25m, 3rd for $165m to a public company ($LRN)
- I’ve learned a ton from each one. I love helping founders make sure they exit for the maximum amount possible by creating a win/win for the acquirer, and put themselves in a good situation post - transaction.
- 💳 Getting your first 100 paying customers
- 💰 Raising capital: Pre-seed, Seed, Series A, B, C
- 😡 Founding team issues
- I'm not great at: Top-down Enterprise Sales
1) If you raise more than you need, don't spend it. Seriously. Put it in the bank, and tell your investors you don't plan on touching it, and if they have a problem with that, tell them you don't care; that's what you're doing. Don't be afraid to disagree with your lead investor. They will respect you more if you have a strong opinion about something. Over time, they will lose respect if you always do what they say, even if you disagree with it. You are the leader of this company, not your investors. Investors are a tool to help you succeed. They are not your boss. You need to lead your investors. Don't let them lead you.
2) Don't hire faster than you absolutely need to. Hire as few people as possible. Steady growth is more important than having a big explosive growth moment, things going off the rails, then you having to fix things later, or MRR goes down later. Once things stop going up and to the right, your focus as CEO will change drastically, and things will compound negatively. It's better to go from $0 MRR to 20k to 30k to 40k to 70k instead of $0 to $100k back down to 40k to 80k.
3) Don't get lost in the investment hype. Investors will always be there. Stay focused on building the company. If you miss an investor meeting because you were focusing on the company, that's good. And if an investor gets pissed about that, they're a lousy investor. Investors come last. Company building comes first.
4) Walk the streets, talk to customers. As the founder and CEO in the early stages (until you reach about $10m+MRR, yes MRR), you need to have the best understanding of what the customer needs. Do not delegate this away. You can ask for help from other people, but do not give someone else the sole ownership of this responsibility of knowing your customers. You, the CEO and founder, have to know your customers best. It will help you make better product decisions and better company decisions. It will also always inspire you when you talk to customers.
5) Fire quickly but compassionately. You don't need to be an asshole to fire someone, but you should do it quickly if you see that you made a mistake. I've personally done layoffs of 50+ people, and each of them still gave the company a 5-star review. If you don't fire fast enough, your great employees will notice, and they will lose faith in you. Your employees will figure out who is good and who is bad faster than you will. So if you drag your feet, your best employees will end up leaving. This goes for cofounders too. I had to fire a cofounder once, and we are still friends to this day, and we co-invest in companies still. You can fire someone without being an asshole, but do not hesitate to fire them. Call me if you need to do this and are hesitant about how.
My Contact Information
- iMessage / Text / Call: 314-537-1024 (usually 1 day turnaround)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (2+ day turnaround)