Buying, selling, or investing in a business is no easy feat. You have to get clear on your goals, make sure that they align with your partnerships, and navigate the challenges that come with change. However, when your well-researched plan falls into place, you can reap massive rewards.
How do you turn your plan into action and ensure that your endeavor is a success? We spoke with experts in the buying, selling, and investment spaces to hear their advice on the matter. In this article, top entrepreneurs share their tried-and-true strategies to foster a smooth transition, expand healthy teams, develop a plan that fits their vision, and achieve the future they want.
Kate Brodock, W Fund
According to Kate, investing in companies is not for the faint of heart. Investing entails managing millions of dollars of other people’s money, so it’s critical to put forth your best effort every day. When you demonstrate to businesses that their success is your success, everyone will benefit.
The W Fund invests in startups from seed to Series B. At least 70% of their investments are in female-led businesses. At least half of those founders are also from a traditionally underserved group. The W Fund team is comprised of seasoned entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry experts who are adept at identifying top-performing, high-growth tech companies. The W Fund aims to shape the future of innovation and transform the face of technology.
Gary Jacobs, FTI Consulting
When it comes to buying businesses, Gary’s number one tip is to understand the industry you’re buying into. Furthermore, you must understand the company’s culture as well as the people who make the company successful. Those people aren’t always the ones you’ll be negotiating with, so getting a sense of the culture is essential if you want to succeed in this business.
FTI Consulting is a global business advisory firm that assists organizations in managing change, mitigating risk, and resolving disputes. With over 6,900 employees across 30 countries, FTI Consulting professionals collaborate closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate, and overcome complex business challenges while capitalizing on opportunities.
Jay Goss, Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health
According to Jay, investing is a combination of betting on both the jockey and the horse. You must investigate both the founders and the company’s profitability. When a company accepts investor capital, they are embarking on an ambitious journey.
Jay spent his career operating and growing early-stage companies before founding Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health. Jay has developed the company into the leading US early-stage venture capital fund fully focused on healthcare. Seeding healthcare’s tomorrow, Wavemaker Three-Sixty invests in healthcare disruptors and entrepreneurs that see how the industry is transforming and want to make a difference.
Scott Chou, Employee Stock Option Fund
Scott asserts that intention is a critical factor in business success. If you start a business with the intention of selling it, chances are it will fail. Companies are bought — not sold — and you must have a vision beyond selling to drive your company’s success.
The Employee Stock Option Fund (ESO Fund) compensates employees of venture-backed companies for the financial risks associated with exercising stock options. The cost of exercising stock options and paying AMT is frequently very high and poses the risk of total loss and the burden of long periods of illiquidity. The ESO Fund provides tax-efficient financing while protecting the employee from total loss.
Jeff Wallace, Global Kinetics, Silicon Valley In Your Pocket
Early-stage startups are frequently looking for capital, but Jeff believes that a better way to stand out is to stop asking for investment. Instead, Jeff suggests requesting more traction. If you’ve identified product market fit and have a good team, gaining traction can help you go a long way.
Jeff is the Founder of Global Kinetics, a market development accelerator for early-to-mid-stage clients looking to establish or expand operations in the US market. He is also a Co-founder of Silicon Valley in Your Pocket (SVIYP), a mobile and online platform that provides global entrepreneurs with Silicon Valley content, coaching, and connections while they build viable businesses.
Tim McLoughlin, Cofounders Capital
According to Tim, every aspect of the buying and selling process comes down to one crucial factor: the team. Tim says that identifying a strong team is often a better indicator of the business’s potential to succeed than the business model. If the CEO can articulate the business and identify the buyer and the team can adequately support the CEO, it’s a good sign for the company’s health.
Cofounders Capital is an early-stage seed fund primarily focused on B2B software ventures in North Carolina. Founded in 2015, the company is made up of former entrepreneurs-turned-investors who assist startup founders with everything from prototyping and testing value propositions to lining up beta customers.
Eva Yazhari, Beyond Capital Fund
Eva advises the founders with whom she works to be aware of how people around them will influence their own success. When Beyond Capital Fund considers potential investments, Eva says they look into the company’s board of directors. The board cannot provide true support if it is only minimally involved. Eva advises entrepreneurs to surround themselves with people who will collaborate and contribute to their success.
Beyond Capital Fund is an evergreen impact investment fund that invests in for-profit, early-stage companies in East Africa and India. The fund invests in companies that aim to improve access to healthcare, sanitation, clean energy, agriculture and food security, and financial inclusion, all of which can improve the quality of life for consumers at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Beyond Capital has reached an estimated 8 million people, including 5.8 million women, in underserved communities since its inception in 2009.
David Pawlan, Fifth Star Funds
David guides investors to reconsider their assumptions. According to David, it is critical to understand your own biases in order to help broaden equity for all. Your biases can prevent you from identifying a successful business, and, therefore, may be limiting your own success.
Fifth Star Funds is a venture philanthropy fund that aims to address America’s funding crisis, in which only 1% of venture capital is awarded to Black founders. They accomplish this by investing in early-stage Black tech founders in Chicago. Fifth Star believes that addressing the funding gap at this stage is critical, as centuries of inequity have prevented these potential entrepreneurs from having the initial capital to start their businesses. The Chicago flag has four stars that represent pivotal events in the city’s history; Fifth Star Funds believes that the fifth star belongs to underrepresented founders and the extraordinary impact they will have on the city’s future.
Daniel Pianko, Achieve Partners
Being a good leader entails never asking more of your team than you are willing to do yourself. When Daniel joined a small startup that built schools, he didn’t expect to build anything other than financial models. On his first day on the job, however, a school needed to be built quickly, so the CEO handed Daniel his credit card, told him to go buy materials, and then got down and dirty with the rest of the crew. According to Daniel, this was an invaluable example that influenced his leadership approach.
Achieve Partners invests in companies that are changing the way people learn and earn. They have a growth buyout investment strategy that includes both education and employment digital transformation. While talent is widely distributed, opportunity is not. Achieve Partners seeks to assist businesses and entrepreneurs working to solve this problem.
Learn more:Achieve Partners
Karen Davis, Entrada Ventures
Karen states that the most important factor she looks for in a company is whether or not it has invested in a great team. If a company invests in people who are ethical, self-aware, collaborative, resilient, and resourceful, it is a good predictor of future success. Furthermore, founders who see the world differently and look for ways to affect change are a major green flag for high potential returns on investment.
Entrada Ventures is a late seed-stage fund founded by a group of passionate, experienced operators and investors who have built a number of successful businesses. Entrada Ventures works with a few companies each year, personally and intensively, to help them grow from a startup with product-market fit to a strong business ready for its first round of institutional financing. Entrada Ventures can significantly improve those companies’ ability to understand, manage, and scale their business and raise a tier-one Series A on favorable terms by investing in and working with strong founders who have demonstrated some traction.
John Hui, Rendr
John advises anyone involved in the buying and selling process to keep in mind that nothing is ever perfect. It’s a never-ending cycle of learning, trial and error, and adapting to each new situation. John suggests that you practice explaining your process to clients so that you not only explain the “what,” but also the “why.”
Rendr is New York City’s largest primary care-driven, multi-specialty physician group dedicated to providing world-class, value-based healthcare with compassion to a medically underserved Asian population of about 100,000 people. Rendr has approximately 40 clinical locations across the city.
Karim Nurani, Linqto
Nothing is more important to Karim than the people he surrounds himself with. From the CEO to the CFO and the board of advisors to all employees, the people who surround and support you are the most important determinants of your success. If your company as a whole has a strong vision and mission — and your employees believe in it — success is within reach.
Linqto is a leader in liquidity in the private sector, providing accredited investors access to affordable investment opportunities in the world’s top unicorns. Traditionally, only 2% of the world’s accredited investors have legal access to the world’s private markets. Linqto utilizes a technology-enabled platform to address this issue by providing a liquid investing environment for the other 98% to invest in unicorns before they go public. The platform ultimately makes the private securities asset class accessible, while reducing costs and saving time with the flexibility of trading directly on the mobile app.
Mark McNally, Nobody Studios
Companies, according to Mark, are bought rather than sold. Getting “discovered” and making your business appealing to potential buyers is an art, and being in the right place at the right time is a big part of it. Being ready for the moment will ensure your success when it arrives.
Nobody Studios’ goal over the next five years is to create 100 compelling companies, guiding them from ideation to MVP to full-scale company validation. Its tight-knit powerhouse team of talent is stacked with industry experts in marketing innovation, e-commerce business strategy, wellness, RE tech, fin-tech, data science, product innovation, and more. Nobody Studios is bigger than any one person, and it is united by principles of rapid and frugal innovation, a “people first” mentality, crowd-first execution in everything, and core transparency.
Tony Saxton, Terra Group Holdings
According to Tony, the key to success when buying and investing in businesses is to find your niche and stick with it. Instead of getting caught up in the novelty of new technology, concentrate on developing solutions using proven technology. With so much competition out there, knowing your focus, needs, and budget will go a long way.
Terra Group Holdings is an opportunistic partnership that is engaged in the creation, acquisition, ownership, management, and operation of game-changing private businesses that provide a positive impact on the world. The company believes that the key to its growth is smart, strategic partnerships with global companies that possess specific local sector expertise in building sustainable businesses. Terra Group Holdings encourages an entrepreneurial culture in everything it does while operating within a vigorous institutional structure.
Matthew Le Merle, Blockchain Coinvestors
Matthew suggests investors conduct thorough due diligence on the companies in which they invest. The world is a big place, and there are a lot of people who think they have a good idea. One of the most difficult challenges is putting a process in place that effectively identifies good investments.
Blockchain Coinvestors, founded in 2014, aims to provide comprehensive coverage of emerging unicorns and the fastest-growing blockchain companies and crypto projects. The strategy is now in its ninth year and has invested in over 40 pure-play blockchain venture funds across the Americas, Asia, and Europe, as well as a portfolio of 400+ blockchain and crypto projects, including approximately 62% of all blockchain unicorns. On both PitchBook and Preqin, their funds rank in the top decile of all funds in their respective categories.
Drew Tulchin, New Mexico Angels
Drew advises potential investors to thoroughly research the company and industry in which they intend to invest. He emphasizes the importance of being prepared, as it will help differentiate you from those who are “winging it”. Drew also highlights the significance of having a strong relationship with the startup’s founders. Investing in a company is about more than just numbers. It is also about the people who work there.
New Mexico Angels’ mission is to provide opportunities where its members can obtain outstanding financial returns. They do so by investing in early-stage companies in New Mexico and the Southwest region and accelerating them to market leadership. New Mexico Angels works with the venture capital community and other angel groups in the Southwestern area.
Francois de Visscher, de Visscher Advisors
According to Francois, it is critical to have a robust database for identifying and gathering information about potential targets when considering potential acquisitions. This database can be invaluable in assessing the strategic significance of a potential acquisition and making sound decisions. It is also important to remember that in today’s market, private companies may have already been approached by private equity funds or strategic buyers. As a result, you should be proactive and creative in identifying unique opportunities.
Francois de Visscher is a seasoned advisor with over 30 years of experience advising on financial issues affecting business-owning families and their assets. He is a trusted advisor to family ownership groups, family offices, and family businesses, primarily representing buyers of private companies who can assist in recapitalization. He was previously a Partner at Smith Barney before opening his own business in the early 1990s.
Ingrid Alongi, Stage Fund
Every investor, according to Ingrid, has their own areas of focus when it comes to making a business sellable. Investors want to find companies that they can have an impact on and assist in expansion. This is why a company must be in a position where an investor can see the potential for growth and improvement. As a result, the investor can be confident that their participation will benefit the company.
Stage Fund is a private equity fund founded in 2009 that focuses on acquiring controlling interest in companies going through a change in capital structure, strategy, operations, or growth. They work with small and medium-sized businesses, providing both capital and management expertise to help them rethink their approach to growth. They also do control investments in companies and work with lenders on debt recovery.
Preetha Ram, Pier 70 Ventures
Preetha stresses the importance of the CEO in the purchase and sale of businesses. The CEO’s ability to effectively pitch and communicate the company’s vision and mission is critical for instilling confidence in potential investors or buyers. The CEO is the company’s face; they set the tone, and it is critical that they can communicate the company’s vision and mission in a clear and compelling way in order to build trust and attract investment.
Pier 70 Ventures invests in impact-driven innovation, seeking out and funding disruptive technologies with the potential to change the status quo in healthcare. Entrepreneurs turn to Pier 70 for both capital and guidance, and the company helps them build diverse teams that are well-positioned for financial success. The success of Pier 70 is measured by the success of the companies they invest in and the collective value that is created.
Gabe Galvez, CAPTARGET
According to Gabe, a transferable management structure is critical when it comes to making a business sellable. He admits that it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of a charismatic or innovative leader, but a company that is overly reliant on one person can be difficult to sell. The most valuable businesses, in his opinion, are those with a strong management team and a CEO who fosters a culture of support and accountability. He also emphasizes the importance of transferability, and he frequently observes CEOs overvaluing their own involvement. A strong management team is what makes a company truly marketable.
CAPTARGET is a company that offers deal origination and M&A research services to private equity groups, corporate buyers, and middle-market M&A firms. They are unique because they are the only provider of domestic turnkey research analysts who support the M&A research and private equity deal origination needs of middle-market clients. Their clients gain access to both data and support staff under one roof, for one price, and they are able to improve processes and reduce the cost of research and deal origination for consultants in the deal space, mid-sized investment banks, and private equity funds.
Alex Fair, MedStartr Ventures
According to Alex, when buying or selling a company, it is critical to carefully select your data sources. He suggests that you begin by investing in areas where you have expertise. Furthermore, if you intend to invest in the medical field, he recommends establishing an advisory board. He highlights the value of ensuring that the members of your advisory board are truthful and willing to provide you with candid feedback. This will allow you to make more informed decisions when buying or selling businesses.
MedStartr Ventures is a venture capital firm that focuses on finding and funding new healthcare companies. They aim to accelerate these companies and participate in follow-on rounds. They use crowdsourcing, validation with millions of data points, and a unique algorithmic approach to select teams on the brink of rapid growth. They began investing in 2017 and have had successful results surpassing their own projections.
Amr Abdelaziz, Equinix
One of the major challenges in the process of buying companies, according to Amr, is that it necessitates a passion for M&A. He claims that some days can be a grind and that you may be stressed with deals, but it’s also fun. To be successful in this field, Amr suggests ensuring that M&A is an area of interest by conducting research and determining what specific area of M&A you want to be a part of. To be successful as a professional, you should have a genuine interest and passion for the field.
Equinix is a company that provides digital infrastructure services. They enable digital leaders to access a trusted platform that interconnects the foundational infrastructure essential for success. Equinix allows businesses to access all the right places, partners, and possibilities they need to accelerate an advantage. The company also enables businesses to scale with agility, speed the launch of digital services, deliver world-class experiences, and increase their value.
Amber Milot, Engineering Consulting Services (ECS)
According to Amber, it is critical to consider culture, geography, services offered, and financials such as income statements, balance sheets, debt-to-equity ratios, return on assets, operating cash flow, and dividend payments when investing in a company. Furthermore, the management team’s passion, experience, skill, and decision-making abilities should be evaluated. The Big Five Numbers should be equal to or greater than 10% for the previous 10 years, and the company’s profitability, sales, and market share should be competitive with others in the same industry.
Engineering Consulting Services (ECS) is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 2,200 employees providing geotechnical, construction materials, environmental, and facilities consulting services. ECS has grown to over 80 locations and subsidiaries across the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest.
Shayan Bhattacharyya, Signal to Exit, Zoic Capital
Entrepreneurs, according to Shayan, must demonstrate how investors will make a profit. They can increase the likelihood of securing investment and build confidence in the company’s future success by outlining the path to profitability. Additionally, Shayan advises entrepreneurs to practice articulating a compelling thesis in just one slide or paragraph. It can be difficult to succinctly and quantitatively summarize something, and if you can’t do so in the selling process, it shows that you don’t understand the business well enough and could turn potential buyers away.
Signal to Exit understands how strategics think, and the team can help execute your startup’s vision. The team discerns strategies to solve zero-to-one product development, value prop refinement, early market traction and scale, and regulatory clearance and reimbursement. Zoic Capital is a venture capital firm that focuses on investing in life sciences and medical technology innovations. They have the skills and experience to help companies transform research into high-impact, market-ready products. They follow both qualitative and quantitative analysis to make successful investment decisions, considering the potential for broad IP and commercial-ready maturity.
Mike Abbaei, Naples Technology Ventures
Mike highlights the significance of evaluating market potential and growth opportunities when considering investing in a company. However, evaluating the management team, who can make or break the company’s success, is equally important. A strong team with a thorough understanding of their clients, the industry in which they operate, and the technology they employ is an indication of a company with the potential to excel.
Naples Technology Ventures is a venture capital firm specializing in early-stage technology companies. They invest in industries such as healthcare and insurance that require optimization and efficiency. They also invest in companies that provide solutions to regulated industries like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, finance, aerospace, and defense. They focus on SaaS companies using advanced technologies and strong management teams. They primarily fund Series Seed and Series A+ rounds.
Tim Streit, Grand Ventures
Tim advises focusing on the seed stage when investing in companies and suggests that taking a hands-on approach with the founders can make a significant difference in the company’s success. He emphasizes the importance of anticipating the unexpected and not being caught off guard when things don’t go as planned. He also recommends knowing when to help a company and when to let it grow on its own. Tim believes in doubling down on winners and having faith in the potential of your investments.
Grand Ventures is an early-stage venture fund that invests in seed-stage B2B SaaS companies in emerging US and Canadian markets focused on supply chain, fintech, DevOps, and digital health. Grand Ventures takes pride in assisting outstanding entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey, from inception to rapid growth to maturity. Aside from capital investment, they assist entrepreneurs with strategy refinement, talent development, and business development.
Nate Nead, InvestNet
Many variables must be carefully considered when investing in a company. Nate recommends looking for companies that have resilient and sustainable futures, such as those that are recession-proof and have diverse revenue sources. Furthermore, the sustainability of a company’s growth should be evaluated to determine whether it can withstand market fluctuations. Finally, these criteria can assist investors in identifying a company that is a worthy and responsible investment.
InvestNet provides diversification to accredited and institutional investors through proprietary, curated investment opportunities in real estate and private equity. InvestNet is not your typical general partner in thought or action. Instead, they think, act, and operate like owners, because they’ve been there. InvestNet is fully committed to each portfolio company’s long-term viability and success.
Jacob George, George + Company
Jacob says there are numerous challenges that surround business acquisition, but the most difficult has been due diligence. It takes a significant amount of effort to gain a thorough understanding of the company being purchased, which includes researching the company’s financials, management, legal structure, and other aspects — which can take days or weeks to complete. Due diligence can be a daunting process because it necessitates a significant amount of time and effort, as well as expertise in a variety of fields. It is, however, critical to the success of any acquisition because it provides a clear understanding of the company being purchased.
George + Company is a global investment bank that specializes in providing M&A and capital-raising services to middle-market companies. With a strong international presence and expertise in cross-border transactions, George + Company enables clients to access a global platform for acquiring companies, divesting assets, and raising capital. The bank also has a deep understanding of the technology, software, aerospace and defense, industrial, and healthcare technology sectors. George + Company’s strategic and efficient process provides minimal disruptions to daily operations while delivering maximum value to shareholders.
Drew Leahy, Hawke Ventures
According to Drew, it is critical to remember that businesses are bought rather than sold. As a business owner, you should strive to make your company appealing enough to be purchased. While it is possible to add significant value and generate significant revenue, it is not possible to simply sell a business. Instead, you must make your company appealing to potential buyers by developing a solid business model and cultivating a positive reputation. This increases the likelihood of your company being purchased and yielding a good return.
Hawke Ventures is an investment fund that offers track-to-lead checks of $50k to $2 million for pre-seed and seed investments in e-commerce, MarTech, and AdTech. Their team of 250 marketing experts is working with over 600 brands, and they specialize in providing technology to boost sales, increase ROI, and save time. Hawke Ventures invests in early-stage B2B technology companies that they believe in, and their clients have seen massive success.
Thomas Smale, FE International
According to Thomas, for a business to be considered sellable, it must be profitable and have some level of traction. Without any significant achievements or growth to demonstrate, it can be difficult to sell an idea or intellectual property. Additionally, it is crucial for the business to have a clear plan for the founder(s) to transition out of the company while ensuring that it continues to run effectively. Without this, it may be difficult to attract buyers and secure a successful sale.
FE International is a global M&A advisor that specializes in SaaS, e-commerce, and content businesses. It has completed thousands of acquisitions and is considered a thought leader in the industry. The company was founded in 2010 and has offices in New York, Miami, San Francisco, and London. FE has an extensive network of pre-qualified international investors and serves clients worldwide. It has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in the Americas by The Financial Times and is a two-time Inc. 5000 company.
Barry O’Reilly, Nobody Studios
Understanding the outcome a business hopes to achieve from a sale, according to Barry, is critical for making it sellable. Barry advises working with financial planners well in advance of selling a business to get a clear picture of what the business owner wants to do with their time and what financial means are required to maintain the desired lifestyle after the sale. This will ensure that the business is ready for sale and that the owner achieves their objectives from the transaction.
Nobody Studios is a startup studio that creates successful ventures by curating ideas, expediting company creation, and guiding clients from ideation to full-scale validation. They have a team of experts in various fields and aim to create 100 companies in the next five years with a “crowd first, people first” mentality. They have already raised funding from venture capitalists and angel investors and are ready to embark on their ambitious plan to create 100 compelling companies.
Keith Bank, KB Partners
Keith believes that in order to be considered sellable, a company must have something that distinguishes it from the competition. He emphasizes the importance of being a first mover and not simply following trends because others are. He also emphasizes the significance of providing a good service in areas where there are buyers. As an investor, Keith seeks out exit opportunities and invests in companies with 20 to 100 potential buyers. He advises against investing in companies with only one to two potential buyers.
KB Partners is an investment firm based in suburban Chicago that specializes in early-stage venture capital investments at the intersection of sports and technology. The firm’s principals take an active approach in working with talented entrepreneurs and experienced managers to build dominant new enterprises. The fund is currently investing in different aspects of sports technology, such as E-sports, sports betting, and the technology that supports sports teams and streamers.
Matthew Hanson, PAX Momentum
Matthew shares the crucial reminder that investing in companies necessitates extensive research and effort. He compares the process to “kissing a lot of frogs before you get to the princess,” implying that it can be time-consuming and difficult. Finding the right companies to invest in takes time and effort, and investors must be willing to put in the work to find the best opportunities. Investors will have a better chance of finding the right companies and potentially achieving a high return on investment if they do so.
PAX Momentum is an accelerator program that focuses on transforming early-stage B2B startups into thriving companies. They offer an eight-week program twice a year with a $125k investment for 10 promising companies to build a scalable go-to-market strategy. They also have a focus on climate tech companies, selecting three per cohort.
Meagan Crawford, SpaceFund
Meagan evaluates whether a company is worth investing in based on three main criteria: tech, team, and timing. To proceed through the due diligence pipeline, a company must meet these criteria. Meagan explains that while she is open to companies that claim to break one law of physics, she is not interested if they claim to break two. She places a high value on the company’s team, assessing whether they are coachable and credible. She also believes that timing is critical, and it’s key to consider whether the company is entering the market at the right time. These three criteria are essential in determining whether or not to invest in a company.
SpaceFund is a venture capital firm that focuses on investing in and supporting the growth of the space economy. The team has extensive industry experience and a strategic investment approach, and they aim to drive the development of the space industry and generate solid returns for investors. They focus on building a sustainable future for space exploration and improving people’s lives on Earth and beyond. They welcome the opportunity to speak with anyone interested in supporting the space industry’s growth and exploring potential investment opportunities.
Alberto Yépez, Forgepoint
When considering investing in or buying a company, Alberto advises looking for companies that have a strong market opportunity and can fill a gap in the industry. It’s important to have a buyer’s mindset and focus on finding competitive advantages and metrics that will make the company easily consumable and deployable. Additionally, Alberto stresses the importance of keeping the potential for exit in mind and developing relationships with potential buyers early on. By understanding the relevant players in the industry, you can position your company for a successful acquisition.
Forgepoint is a venture capital firm that was founded in 2015 and focuses on investing in companies in cybersecurity and adjacent sectors such as AI/ML, Blockchain, Cloud, DevOps, Insurtech, fintech, and privacy. The firm’s team has combined domain expertise of nearly a century and helps entrepreneurs succeed by involving its seasoned operating team and trusted advisory council of industry leaders, founders, executives, partners, and government officials for strategic guidance and connections. The firm is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has 30 active early and growth-stage startups in cybersecurity.
Elodie Dupuy, Full In Partners
Elodie seeks companies that were created to solve personal problems for the founders. She prefers to invest in companies that are motivated by a genuine understanding of the problem and a desire to solve it. Offering a high-quality product and understanding how to provide value to your customers will produce greater success than chasing the next valuation. Committing to your employees and customers, developing a thoughtful organizational design, and understanding the evolution of your business will attract buyers and investors.
Full In Partners is a premier NYC-based growth equity firm founded in 2019. The company is dedicated to investing in high-velocity, high-efficiency software and internet businesses, providing them with proactive operational and strategic support to help them achieve better outcomes. The firm’s team has the knowledge and experience to help companies in the software and internet industries reach their full potential and grow to be successful.
Allen Caviles, PayMaple
When investing in companies, Allen is on the lookout for what will be relevant in five to seven years. Although it depends on the company, appealing entities are typically disruptive, can solve problems, have an outstanding business model, and utilize innovative technology. Additionally, Allen always analyzes the management team to determine if investing is a solid option.
PayMaple delivers workflow payment optimization that is customized to each business. It employs dynamic APIs and a simple, configurable payment UI that incorporates retail, B2B, and e-commerce for a truly unique omnichannel experience.
Rob Walling, TinySeed
When Rob and his team started TinySeed, he had six companies under his belt. Now, after being involved in 125 companies, Rob looks back and realizes he’s learned a great deal since then. What are some of the major lessons? He says that it’s more difficult to build a business than invest in one, having experience in the industry where you invest makes the process easier, and making small bets early on can be valuable.
TinySeed was started by Rob Walling and Einar Vollset, two serial entrepreneurs who saw a gap in the ability of non-unicorn startups to raise early-stage funding. The company is a remote accelerator that runs for a full year and focuses on SaaS and “non-unicorn” companies. The TinySeed team provides mentorship, community, and funding to help organizations grow faster.
Chris Cunningham, C2 Ventures
Chris has advice for those looking to become venture capitalists: don’t undertake the opportunity unless you have some core differentiation on the companies you’re trying to invest in. Find your niche, region, or territory, and get a clear focus on what you’re investing in and why. For Chris and the team at C2 Ventures, their primary goal is to invest in healthy businesses that have experienced pain points and are solving complex problems in legacy industries.
C2 Ventures does more than just invest in businesses — they work in partnership with companies. The first two years of a startup are difficult, and C2 Ventures provides an extra layer of support to drive businesses forward. It is the industry’s first operator-run, early-stage investment platform that surrounds business leaders with other founders, builders, and operators to help them succeed.