A thrilling and rewarding aspect of your entrepreneurial journey can be buying, selling, and investing in businesses. It’s not an easy task, though — divergent expectations must be managed, risks must be considered, and obstacles must be overcome throughout the whole process.
To learn how to negotiate the buying, selling, and investing processes successfully, we spoke with leading authorities. They share secrets and tactics for assisting anyone looking to feel satisfied after buying or selling a company, from exercising patience to conducting due diligence. Here’s what they have to say.
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Eric Bahn, Co-Founder & General Partner of The Hustle Fund
There is one quality that indicates early success for startups, according to Eric Bahn, and he calls it “hustle.” It’s the number one criteria The Hustle Fund looks for in a company when considering an investment. Hustle is great-execution meets high-velocity and working more resourcefully with an experimental mindset. Eric looks for teams running lots of experiments rather than looking for a silver bullet when it comes to growth.
The Hustle Fund is an early-stage venture capital firm — they start by writing checks to teams and collaborating with them on a growth project. Founders before becoming venture capitalists, the team at The Hustle Fund brings real talk and real advice to their relationships.
Shrikant Latkar, Founder of Oust Labs
One big lesson Shrikant Latkar learned throughout the selling process is to keep in mind both parties are aiming at a goal. Ensuring all parties feel the exchange is a good value is essential to a smooth negotiation. It’s important to have a good relationship with your acquirers throughout the entire process.
Oust Labs is now a part of BetterPlace, the leading tech platform for blue- and gray-collar workforce management in India. BetterPlace sensed huge potential in Oust Labs’ micro-learning platforms, powered by a mobile-first gamified approach. The coalescence of BetterPlace and Oust Labs enables business enterprises to onboard, train, and upskill large distributed workforces easily while enhancing revenue, efficiency, and delivering a superb customer experience.
Sky Fernandes, Founder & General Partner of VU Venture Partners
Sky Fernandes has one big tip for those who may not be experienced in VC or PE but want to get access to the industry — connect with an asset class to start thinking like an investor and start investing on a deal-to-deal basis. Joining a program like Venture University can also go a long way. Sky advises to learn from the successes and struggles of others — but don’t try to be them!
VU Venture Partners is a multi-stage venture capital fund focusing on six deal sourcing teams: Consumer, Enterprise, FinTech, Frontier, Healthcare, and PropTech. They are a global venture capital fund that invests in the early stages through the growth stages. VU has also launched a private equity fund.
Max Dezara, Founder & Managing Partner of Akoya Capital
Max Dezara suggests the most significant challenge during the buying and selling process is maintaining patience. Acquisitions can bring about many intense emotions, but maintaining a patient attitude of perseverance will go a long way. Understanding the psychology behind a business will benefit all parties involved in the long run.
Akoya Capital is a private equity firm that creates and nurtures partnerships between management and capital. With industry-leading CEOs, proprietary platform organizations, experienced management teams, and co-investors, Akoya collaborates on compelling value creation opportunities. Together, they develop and execute industry-sector acquisition strategies that deliver significant, measurable value for management, partners, and shareholders.
David Carman, Co-Founder of FinTank
David Carman says the #1 thing you can do to make your business appeal to potential buyers and investors is convince them your business generates plenty of capital. Showing them what makes you stand out will make your business attractive. A strong marketing effort and high-profile board members are factors that can contribute to piquing potential interest in your business.
FinTank facilitates networking via a wide range of events and programs and encourages members to share ideas, best practices, contacts, and other valuable resources. FinTank hosts monthly seminars and provides hands-on support to the startups in their accelerator program. It also provides access to its network and all the resources that are critical to their growth and ultimate success.
William Hurley, Co-Founder & General Partner of Ecliptic Capital
William Hurley says one of the best things you can do when venturing into the buying/selling process is to start early. It takes a lot of time and effort, and there are countless questions surrounding acquisition. However, when the objectives of the investor and the entrepreneur coincide, it’s something wonderful.
Ecliptic Capital is an emergent, early-stage innovation fund focused on pre-seed, seed, and Series A investments. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Ecliptic’s thesis makes a case for capturing, developing, and scaling a range of emergent technologies from talented entrepreneurs from often neglected geographies and industries. Founded by serial entrepreneurs, investors, and operators, Ecliptic focuses on operational excellence, building rich relationships, and transparency to create value, trust, and insights over time. Knowing that visionary ideas need intentional nurturing, Ecliptic’s unique approach provides open-ended investment time frames to maximize value.
Malcolm Bohm, CEO & Founder of Liquid Grids
According to Malcolm Bohm, the most necessary thing to do to sell your business and its services is to build a portfolio of tangible assets. Furthermore, he stresses the importance of having stamina throughout the process. Deals can be on and off to the very end, so perseverance is critical.
Liquid Grids started in 2010 when social media began to lift off, and direct-to-consumer was a new medium for advertising, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. Now Liquid Grids is being used by companies across the healthcare spectrum, including biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, health insurance providers, and healthcare product companies. Its mission is to enable the healthcare industry to engage with consumers online, motivate them to adopt healthier lifestyles, and more effectively manage chronic illnesses, resulting in better health outcomes and significant cost savings to the system.
Jeff Saling, Executive Director and Co-Founder of StartUpNV
Jeff Saling emphasizes how crucial it is to remember that anyone who invests in businesses will inevitably make mistakes. According to Jeff, there are some things you can’t coach, and sometimes you have to learn the hard way. However, the proper organizational structure and a strong founding team can help you succeed.
StartUpNV works with both new and seasoned business owners from a wide range of industries and business sectors. After beta testing, they provide an opportunity to develop an idea into a working business with the necessary capital for growth. With locations in Reno, Las Vegas, and eight rural counties, StartUpNV offers services to entrepreneurs and startup businesses throughout Nevada.
Conner Folley, Co-Founder of Downstream
The entire buying and selling process is described by Conner Folley as a series of obstacles — it’s difficult to predict the course of the process, and you never know how long it will take. Although there are many obstacles, having a robust data room, solid foundational documents, and a skilled legal team can help the process go more smoothly.
Large brands and agencies can automate and optimize their advertising campaigns with assistance from Downstream, an enterprise-ready software solution, to scale growth while enhancing ROI. Downstream joined Jungle Scout, the top all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon, in March 2021. With best-in-class machine learning automation and insights, Downstream assists clients in increasing, measuring, and scaling Amazon advertising performance.
Oliver Libby, Managing Partner of H/L Ventures
Oliver Libby lists many difficulties associated with both buying and selling. For investing, he emphasizes the significance of having faith in people, doing your due diligence, and only taking risks when you can afford a loss. For selling, Oliver warns against buying into the hype and advises sellers to be ready and fully comprehend the sales market.
A comprehensive ecosystem for building companies, H/L Ventures and its family of funds — H/L Studio and CityRock Ventures — support mission-driven founders as they build and expand thriving businesses. H/L Ventures has pioneered a new approach for developing businesses at the intersection of growth, impact, and diversity since its founding in 2009.
Gerod Carfantan, COO of Sente Ventures
Gerod Carfantan asserts that one of the biggest obstacles to attracting investors is location. Opening investors’ eyes to markets outside of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston, according to Gerod, has been challenging. However, if you’re committed to creating a growth engine, you’ll keep expanding and proving the worth of your market.
Sente Ventures manages an international technology startup program that brings together corporations, public institutions, investors, and startups to scale innovative ideas from around the world in one of the world’s largest and most diverse B2B ecosystems: Chicago. The company has helped dozens of startups from more than 15 countries transition from the idea stage to the growth stage. Sente Ventures leverages an extensive network of corporations, technology industry executives, and domain experts in the US to assist startups in entering markets based on a well-thought-out and tested commercial development plan.
Jason Gaskill, Nyssa
Jason Gaskill suggests that the more data owners have that support the particulars of their business, the smoother the buying and selling process will go. Jason says being brave throughout the process is necessary but urges people to balance bravery with reason. Take time and make sure things are structured appropriately.
Jason connects the dots to bring businesses together. He believes that business is like art: every deal is like a stroke of a brush that brings the advisor or owner closer to a masterpiece. Ultimately, he looks for chances to collaborate with individuals who share his sentiments, wherever they may be.
Lean more: Jason Gaskill
David McCombie, Founder & CEO of McCombie Group
According to David McCombie, you should be ready for the unexpected when buying a business. You can do all the research you want, but once you own a business, you might encounter issues you weren’t expecting. Anticipating the unexpected requires being reasonable and creating a margin of safety.
McCombie Group improves, grows, and sells middle-market businesses. By putting time, money, and resources into the success of their clients, McCombie’s team of operators and advisors adds value and aligns interests. McCombie offers owners relevant, actionable advice to build and sell outstanding companies.
Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO of TEDCO
One big thing Troy LeMaile-Stovall discovered through the investment process is the joy of witnessing the journey of investees. He describes how many candidates have an idea but need to know how to bring it to fruition. Witnessing their growth and development throughout each step until they have a fully-formed plan is enriching to Troy.
TEDCO offers the connections, funding, and resources that early-stage technology and life sciences businesses require to succeed in Maryland. They provide researchers, business owners, and early-stage companies with the knowledge, resources, and networking to support and nurture the commercialization of innovative ideas. TEDCO provides the tools necessary to commercialize your idea, find start-up capital, or land follow-on investments.
Keith Crawford, Senior Vice President Global Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at State Street Corporation
Keith Crawford claims that due diligence on a business’ underlying earnings is essential to ensuring a more fluent buying and selling experience. This includes a comprehensive assessment of the fundamental drivers of the business, such as quality of earnings, ability to achieve future projections, sustainable and effective internal processes, and potential liabilities. Effectively identifying risk leads to smoother negotiations and helps prevent a deal from failing.
State Street Corporation is a leading global service provider of financial services to institutional investors. With their clients at the heart of everything they do, State Street builds partnerships and invests in innovation to help clients seize new opportunities.
Andrzej Targosz, Managing Director of Eventory
Andrzej Targosz suggests preparing for a marathon instead of a sprint when venturing into the buying and selling process. Furthermore, Andrzej advises that your attorney should be someone you are comfortable with since you’ll speak with them frequently throughout the process. Ultimately, as long as your team develops throughout the journey, things will work out well.
For professional event planners looking to simplify the organization of conferences, tradeshows, and corporate events, Eventory is an all-in-one event management, marketing, and networking software. Event managers can now manage events in real-time thanks to Eventory, which boosts attendee satisfaction and provides organizers with invaluable feedback and data for future business decisions. It’s easy to measure and improve event ROI and increase business growth through event marketing, thanks to Eventory’s all-encompassing methodology.
Steve Brotman, Managing Partner of Alpha Partners
The venture capital ecosystem can be rough and tumble, but Steve Brotman finds the best introductions come from friends, fellow entrepreneurs, and other venture firms. Maintaining a friendly environment has led Alpha Partners to high-quality referred deals, which is why they aspire to be as responsible, transparent, and easy to work with as possible.
Alpha Partners is a next-generation growth equity firm that focuses on accelerating the growth of private technology companies. For these companies and their investors, Alpha Partners offers an option to quickly fill out a growth or expansion stage financing round in a friendly and rational manner. Alpha Partners’ mission is to serve their seed and early-stage investor partners and the heroic teams they back.
Terry Anderton, Founder & CEO of Wagz
Terry Anderton suggests the right combination of perseverance and focus can help you push through a difficult situation. Throughout his career, Terry has experienced moments where it seems a deal is going to implode, but his dedication to focusing on striking a win-win deal ultimately pushes things over the finish line. Maintaining determination, honesty, and transparency are critical to closing a deal.
Wagz is on a mission to bring dog parents top-quality humane smart dog products. Using no-shock geofence containment technology, Wagz gives dogs the freedom to roam while you stay connected to their wellness and whereabouts. Wagz was born out of a love of dogs and the desire to be fully connected while keeping them safe.
Derren Burrell, President & Founder of Veteran Ventures Capital
Derren Burrell operates Veteran Ventures Capital Veteran Ventures Fund, which he describes as a “military shark tank.” Veteran Ventures Fund is linked to the Sheltowee Capital Network and Appalachian Angel Investor Alliance, which are dedicated to identifying high-growth ventures throughout the country. The Fund is engaged in the business of investing exclusively in veteran-led companies that they believe are viable but require new strategies, more capital, and enhanced management.
Veteran Ventures Capital is a growth equity investment fund and consulting firm focused on military entrepreneurs. VVC interacts exclusively with companies that have military veteran leadership, recognizing the value of military experience, training, and character in business operations. VVC leverages these military principles to optimize and take those businesses to the next level.
Marcia Dawood, Venture Partner at Mindshift Capital
Companies aren’t sold — they’re bought. Marcia Dawood advises building up enough demand and talking to potential buyers immediately. Marcia is an investor in over 200 early-stage private companies. In addition to her own investments, she is a Venture Partner with Mindshift Capital.
In the Middle East and globally, Mindshift Capital invests in women-led early-stage tech companies at the post-seed round. Through its global network, Mindshift identifies companies with scalable technology, exceptional leadership, and high growth potential. It invests with a gender lens, ensuring diversity of thought while narrowing the funding gap for female-led ventures.
Kurt Johnson, CEO of 11.2 Ventures
Kurt Johnson advises everyone to be patient when buying or selling companies. Everything will take longer than you think, and impatience and inflexibility can torpedo a deal. Going in with a firm but flexible plan is essential to pushing a deal through.
11.2 Ventures is disrupting the traditional venture capital model by building its companies internally, maintaining control and consistency throughout the growth process, and exiting opportunistically. 11.2 Ventures bills itself as a venture-building studio, differentiating itself from venture funds by looking to build companies with a plan to exit. 11.2 Ventures strives to be a factory of companies.
Nicholas Braithwaite, Founding and Managing Partner at Celesta Capital
According to Nicholas Braithwaite, there are three major risks during the buying and selling process. There is a risk of technology adoption in the early stages, and in the later stages, you must mitigate market adoption risk. Overall, the most manageable risk to handle is execution. As long as you ensure investors and partners are aligned, any risk that comes with executing a deal is alleviated.
Celesta Capital is a deep tech capital investor with many investments in core technology. The firm invests in materials and products and has identified and nurtured some of today’s most promising companies around the globe. Celesta Capital comprises a team of technologists and business executives with extensive experience in managing operations.
Jason Raznick, CEO of Benzinga
According to Jason Raznick, the most essential thing in making a business sellable is to focus on your product offering. Your business will attract buyers if you build a product that people need and want. If a potential buyer knows that people pay for your product and see value in it, they will see the same when evaluating a business purchase.
Benzinga helps millions of people improve their monthly trading and investing results by providing superior market information, data, and tools. Benzinga gives traders and investors the edge needed to profit in the markets. They are devoted to the ambitious mission of transforming the financial industry and empowering the individual investor.
Eric Ribbentrop, Founder of i-Headhunt
Eric Ribbentrop has faced many challenges in his career, learned from them, and became a wealth of advice as a result. One piece of advice he offers is not to go through a purchase with a broker. Eric suggests that if you find the right VC or PE, all you have to have to determine is the down payment.
i-Headhunt is a client-centric and relationship-based talent acquisition firm. Its consulting services are aimed at sharpening clients’ internal abilities to attract and retain talent. i-Headhunt has a strong team presence in the marketplace that includes a company network that touches over 50,000 professionals every quarter.
A.J. Rounds, CMO & Co-Founder of RevRoad
For A.J. Rounds and RevRoad, it’s crucial to support their investment companies financially and also help with strategies. RevRoad accepts equity instead of cash to ensure they fully invest in helping their client companies. If a company is not a fit for RevRoad, they provide tips for what to work on to become a better fit so that they can work together at some point.
RevRoad is an easy button for startup businesses, accepting 3-4 Roadie companies to work with every quarter and working side-by-side with them for two years. Along the way, they provide them with everything they need: a mentor who has been in their shoes, key service deliverables, and office space in downtown Provo.
Randall Rings, Principal at Rings Law, P.L.C.
Randall Rings is an experienced counselor and Chief Legal Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the insurance, technology, and communications industries. Randall stresses the importance of having good advisors and obtaining tax and legal advice as quickly as possible because it’s essential to get organized early.
Rings Law, P.L.C. works in-house and on-site for high-growth privately-held companies and startup ventures. Rings Law offers tailored legal solutions and client services with lawyers who are focused and driven to help manage legal risks.
Grant Van Cleve, Managing Partner of Tech Coast Angels
Throughout his investment career, Grant Van Cleve has learned one key thing — you will have to place more bets than you think. For Grant, the approach of taking numerous shots is critical if you want to be an investor. Sitting around waiting for the perfect diamond in the rough isn’t going to cut it.
Tech Coast Angels (TCA) is one of the nation’s largest and most active angel investor networks and a leading source of funding for seed-stage and early-stage companies. The angel network has four chapters with over 450 members in Southern California. Every TCA member is an accredited investor, and companies go through well-structured, transparent, time-efficient screening and due diligence.
Michael Gilligan, Founder & CEO of Urban Catalyst Partners
According to Michael Gilligan, many small businesses lack the breathing room that bigger companies have. Smaller businesses, he notes, tend to have a more narrow focus. To make businesses more attractive to buyers, building diversified customer products or services is essential.
Urban Catalyst Partners supports the growth of businesses providing quality jobs for underserved communities. It offers flexible capital for expansion, acquisitions, and ownership transition in mezzanine and non-control equity recapitalization formats. Urban Catalyst partners with accomplished entrepreneurs who are leading growing businesses that are committed to creating value through prudent leverage of their human, social, and environmental capital.
Steve Valentor, Managing Partner at Polynomial Ventures
Steve Valentor of Polynomial Ventures claims that the desire for growth ultimately comes from a passion for changing the world. The vision of a different world motivates small businesses to grow into large companies. Most crucial, according to Steve, is developing the messaging for your company so that your investors can grasp the same vision you have.
Polynomial Ventures is a venture capital firm investing in early-stage technology companies. They invest in these companies and prepare them for acquisition or initial public offering (IPO). Polynomial Ventures invests in technology companies to help tech entrepreneurs change the world.
Danny Cortenraede, Founder & CEO of InStudio Ventures
Danny Cortenraede of InStudio Ventures says to surround yourself with people who will fill in your shortcomings. It’s not always about being the smartest person in the room — it’s surrounding yourself with people you can learn from and who best support you.
InStudio Ventures, based in Los Angeles, combines start-up expansion expertise and private capital to conceive, cultivate, and scale next-generation media, tech, and sports companies. They provide services for product development, sales and marketing strategy, financial support and augmentation, brand and design awareness, and media talent. InStudio partners with the world’s leading organizations to drive transformative innovation.
Tessa Flippin, Founder & Managing Partner of Capitalize VC
Tessa Flippin suggests that the best way to begin investing is to start doing it at another firm before striking out on your own. She urges striving investors to take advantage of resources at other firms to find out what they are good at and enjoy. Learning the process and experiencing it firsthand before embarking on your own investment journey is an invaluable opportunity to set yourself up for success.
Capitalize VC is a Chicago-based venture capital investment firm investing in Black and Latinx founders and connecting them to a diverse community of investors and advisors. The firm’s investment approach features a unique structure that can deliver long-term VC returns via traditional venture investments, plus the potential for earlier liquidity generated from its revenue-based investments.
Aaron Burnett, Founder & CEO of Spaced Ventures
According to Aaron Burnett, it is crucial to know and internalize the numbers when it comes to investing. Too many factors can kill a deal, so knowing your figures will help you make good decisions promptly. Aaron also reminds investors to be patient because it takes time, and the process can be difficult. Investors must be willing to try various strategies and pivot when the market changes.
Incorporated in 2020, Spaced Ventures is a public investment platform for the space industry. Headquartered in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the firm accelerates innovation by providing the first mile of capital to space-based startup companies. It creates access to space-based investments and facilitates and accelerates innovation. Spaced Ventures partners with innovative leaders, tech experts, aerospace pioneers, astrophysicists, and many experts to enable space startups to raise capital.
Clara Bullrich, Co-Founder of TheVenture.City
Clara Bullrich, Co-founder of TheVenture.City, advises surrounding yourself with successful people. She emphasizes that having a lot of mentors, surrounding yourself with intelligent people, and having the right team will help you execute your visions and plans.
TheVenture.City is a female-founded venture capital firm based in Miami, Florida. Founded in 2017, the firm invests in early-stage, mission-driven, and diverse founders. In addition to providing capital, the TheVenture.City team works closely with the founders to share expertise, work together as a team, and build a community of global founders and startups helping each other.
Vasilis Georgiou, President of CrossRoads Business Brokers
Vasilis Georgiou’s tips to make a business sellable are to have consistent performance, favorable margins, customer concentration, and industry macroeconomics knowledge. These essential components must be clear, complete, and concrete before you consider exiting your business.
CrossRoads Business Brokers is a full-service mergers and acquisitions firm. It focuses on providing exceptional service to buyers and sellers of small to medium-sized businesses in various industries, including healthcare services, consumer goods, manufacturing, technology, e-commerce, and foods and nutrition sectors. The firm also provides franchise consulting services to candidates looking for the best-fit franchise to buy.
Sean Heilweil, Co-Founder & CEO of Cache Ventures
Sean Heilweil says that life is way too short to choose not to work with excellent people. If you are taking investments just for financial advancement, it’s a recipe for disaster. If you are looking for a long-term relationship, build on a personal connection. For those looking to invest, he advises going with your gut feeling, investing in things you understand, and blocking out shiny object syndrome.
Cache Ventures is a venture studio based in New York that builds, advises, and invests in companies. The firm guides SaaS companies where current solutions lack core features, automation, or an exceptional customer experience. Cache also helps startups and emerging entrepreneurs on their journey to profitability and success using its knowledge in building and scaling companies. Additionally, the firm focuses on acquiring and managing assets across multiple verticals. Cache Venture’s investment strategy is to partner with management teams to restore and build fundamental value over an indefinite time horizon.
Brandon Maier, Founder & General Partner of LvlUp VENTURES
According to Brandon Maier of LvlUp VENTURES, anyone looking to invest in a company for the first time should get some first-hand experience before investing. You can join a venture capital scouting program and dig behind the curtain before jumping in. That experience will help you know how to analyze future investment opportunities properly.
LvlUp VENTURES is a pre-seed to Series A industry agnostic consulting firm in Southern California, offering personalized, hands-on attention to each portfolio client. The firm helps founders with the process of raising capital. LvlUp also offers pitch deck design and content services, and its Fundraise Prep Program helps accelerate the process. The company’s coaching services help companies with executive coaching, business development, startup growth and strategy, marketing, and fundraising prep.
Martina Welkhoff, Founding Partner of The WXR Venture Fund
When it comes to buying and selling, Martina Welkhoff’s advice is to take the time to do proper due diligence. When there is pressure to move fast, taking a step back or even walking away if needed is beneficial. Setting your own pace avoids mistakes and wrong decisions. Martina says always get to know the people you are dealing with, regardless of the scale and stage.
The WXR Venture Fund invests in two of the most significant opportunities of our time: the next wave of computing and female entrepreneurs. The WXR Venture Fund invests in gender-diverse seed-stage companies transforming businesses and human interaction with spatial computing (VR/AR) and artificial intelligence. The firm also supports entrepreneurs through startup early stages by using its broad relationships across VR, AR, investment and media communities, as well as its expertise in serial entrepreneurship and Corporate M&A.
Craig Enenstein, CEO of Corridor Capital
From an investor perspective, Craig Enenstein says an investment is risky if the seller is not surrounding themselves with thoughtful advisors. Frequently, sellers won’t have high-quality record keeping or books, which may create surprises. Understand that the devil is in the details. If you invest through a firm, find alignment through investment objectives and strategy. For sellers, Craig emphasizes that the key is knowing that all investors are not created equal. Be prepared to encounter and deal with various questions, requirements, and requests.
Corridor Capital is a private equity fund providing more than just investment capital to US-based lower middle market companies. The firm actively engages in strategy, operations, and finance in the lower middle market. Corridor focuses on control investments in specialty manufacturing, business services, and other defensive sectors and collaborates with management to build the infrastructure and efficiencies necessary for sustainable, scalable growth for companies in business services and distribution.
Angela Lee, Founder of 37 Angels
Angela Lee says investors are only as good as their network. You must have a great network to source from because investing is a very network-driven game. Step away from the spreadsheet because much of it is about meeting the founder and talking with them about what you want the relationship to be after the transaction.
37 Angels is a community of 100-plus angel investors with a mission to activate investors through local and global investor trainings and to increase angel investing diversity. Many of 37 Angels’ members are former entrepreneurs who understand the highs and lows of business-building. The company is committed to communication transparency and providing advice grounded in empathy. 37 Angels primarily invests in early-stage startups and is sector and geography agnostic.
Manuel Gonzalez, General Partner at AgFunder
Manuel Gonzalez of AgFunder emphasizes the importance of trusting your analysis process. Let your mind guide you when you begin analyzing, and don’t overwhelm yourself with too much input from outside sources. Trust your process and work independently, but also be sure to have great partners who will challenge your thinking when necessary. Be patient, figure out the process, and learn what works best for you.
AgFunder is an online venture capital platform based in Silicon Valley. AgFunder invests in exceptional and bold entrepreneurs who aim to build the next generation of great agriculture and food technology companies. As a VC platform, AgFunder leverages technology, media, and research, assembling a global ecosystem of over 50,000 members and subscribers, including over 5,000 investors. The firm builds technology to help source, evaluate, and support its portfolio companies and invest at scale. Through special co-investment funds and special purpose vehicles (SPV), AgFunder gives investors the opportunity to co-invest with them and other leading VCs.
Carter Williams, CEO & Managing Director at iSelect Fund
Carter Williams stresses the importance of having a clear vision and adapting to changes because you will be faced with many crucial decision-making points along your journey. Real clarity of vision is crucial in determining the choices you make, and adaptability will ensure that you aren’t stuck in old and fixed ways of thinking while you work to achieve your goals.
iSelect is investing in the in the convergence of AgTech and human health. As an early stage venture firm, iSelect invests in companies that are addressing critical global issues, in large markets, and with financially attractive business models. In the health sector, iSelect is investing in data analysis and delivery technologies that enable early detection, intervention, prevention, and treatment of cardio-metabolic diseases. The firm takes a balanced portfolio approach, using diversification to narrow risk, focusing on supporting soil and crop health solutions to meet surging global protein demand, improve the taste, nutrition and affordability of food, boost farmer profitability, and increase environmental sustainability.
Anna Fedorova, CEO at Unicorn Battles
The biggest lesson Anna Fedorova learned from her buying and selling experiences is don’t always trust first impressions. Due diligence and research about the businesses and people involved are vital. Her advice to investors is to remember to listen to your instincts and never ignore them if something makes you feel uneasy. She says it’s important to think through your pros and cons, always be crystal clear on your reasons, and trust your partners.
Unicorn Battles is the largest global pitch competition for fast-growing startups that have the potential to become unicorns. Startups pitch live to top venture capitalists, corporations, and famous business investment angels that comprise a jury that evaluates the investment potential of each startup and gives their feedback and advice. Startups directly interact with all the investors during the event. Participation is free. Interested startups can apply for the relevant event depending on their geographical location.
Ryan Sanders, Growth Investor at Mercato Partners
Ryan Sanders says this industry is akin to an apprenticeship — it’s not learned in school. His mentors are entrepreneurs who have taught him to be a better investor. He emphasizes the importance of having good mentors who will teach you and guide you through the ropes. Be an entrepreneur who is teachable, humble, hungry, constantly seeking feedback, and committed to a vision.
Mercato Partners is a private equity firm investing across multiple alternative asset classes to provide both capital and guidance to founders and companies in various stages and industries, from technology to food and beverage to branded consumers. Through a combination of firm-wide scaling expertise with a dedicated focus on overlooked and underserved markets, the firm takes pride in being uniquely capable of accelerating company growth and delivering industry-leading results.
Alexei Andreev, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Autotech Ventures
According to Alexei Andreev, the most important things every entrepreneur must have are a north star and the right team. The north star guides every decision you make, ensuring that your choices align with your goals. Having the right team behind you makes the magic happen. Goals aren’t achieved by simply having a good vision and a clear plan — you need a team that executes. With the right people behind you, you’ll be able to reach your goals.
Autotech Ventures aims to generate financial returns by helping passionate entrepreneurs deploy revolutionary transportation technologies and business models. Autotech provides startups with capital, ground transportation, market intelligence, and access to its transportation sector network, including its corporate investors, which represent a global market capitalization of over $500B.
Matthew Safaii, Founder and Managing Partner of Arrowroot Capital
Misalignments can make difficult decisions even harder. According to Matthew Safaii, alignment, building, working with, and managing teams that you trust should be the top priority. People will always be involved, no matter what deal you try to make. Knowing how to align with these people to create win-win situations will help you reach your goals.
Arrowroot Capital offers bespoke growth capital solutions to emerging software companies to fuel growth-focused initiatives. Exclusively dedicated to software investing, the firm brings deep domain expertise to deliver meaningful, tangible value to its portfolio companies. Arrowroot is located in Los Angeles and Miami and invests globally wherever there is a need for flexible capital. With over eight years of investing and 25-plus platform investments under its belt, Arrowroot targets opportunities of varying sizes and a broad range of transaction types.
Jay Leek, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of SYN Ventures
Jay Leek of SYN Ventures shares that the most significant lesson he has learned throughout the process of buying and selling companies is that basic financial controls, oversight, and financial discipline are critical. Things can quickly go wrong if you don’t have controls in place or the discipline needed to maintain and implement these controls.
SYN Ventures invests in disruptive, transformational solutions that reduce technology risks. The firm is led by two former CISOs of Fortune 500 companies and has successfully invested in and exited some of the most prominent cybersecurity companies operating today. SYN Ventures’ operational background gives it a unique understanding of the market, the tech, and the challenges that founders face.
Chetan Parikh, President of RAAPID
The success and failure of a deal can be fairly subjective but should hinge on its core tech expertise and promotional aspects. Chetan Parikh believes that finding the right buyer who can strategically align an acquisition for synergistic growth is crucial. The buyer must also have a well-documented business process, solid agreements, clean financial books, and tech competence to be able to work hand-in-hand with the acquisition team to ensure the business rule is populated promptly.
RAAPID uses AI to “risk adjust” the entire HCC (Hierarchical Condition Categories) and risk adjustment process. By reimagining risk adjustment for healthcare, insurance, and technology businesses, RAAPID is built to suit your organization’s prospective and retrospective risk adjustment needs. RAAPID uses some of the world’s most sophisticated and advanced natural language processing technologies and has been tried and tested on millions of clinical data sets to ensure utmost accuracy.
Jordan Linville, Founding Partner of Zeal
According to Jordan Linville, aspiring investors should know that many people are willing to help within his industry. Get yourself into the right circle, ask the right questions, and find a mentor. One of the best ways for beginners to learn is to hear from those who have done it all before, know their mistakes, and know what they did right.
Zeal is a holding company with the mission of using small businesses as a platform for improving the lives of team members, customers, and the communities they serve. Zeal accomplishes this by buying small businesses and taking a digital-first approach to growing them over the long run.
Marquis Cabrera, Co-Founder, Partner & Chairman of Stat Zero Marketplace
Marquis Cabrera believes that the key to life is all about the journey. If you want to accomplish your goals, the crucial thing is to start from where you are and move forward. You can calibrate your risks as you go and reach out and learn from the victories and failures of the people around you.
Stat Zero Marketplace is a minority- and women-owned global public sector technology company based in Silicon Valley, California. The firm enables public sector leaders to develop digital transformation roadmaps. Stat Zero develops, hardens, and configures IT solutions to modernize legacy architectures and applications, accelerate digital service delivery, and improve workforce technology literacy skills. It’s a one-stop-shop for public sector innovators to gain global market access, global private impact capital, and global services to modernize governments worldwide.
Adam Burrows, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Range Ventures
Know yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses. That’s Adam Burrows’ advice to entrepreneurs and investors. When you know yourself, you can leverage and lean on your strengths while you find ways to address your weaknesses. Awareness is key to maximizing what you already have and finding or supplementing what you lack.
Range Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund in Denver focused on making pre-seed and seed investments in Denver, Boulder, and the entire Colorado ecosystem. The firm commits early, and as former operators, it knows the challenges entrepreneurs face and supports its founders and their teams in every way possible because they know how to help you build the next great tech company.
Marlon Evans, CEO of Nex Cubed
Marlon Evans advises founders to focus on the problem rather than the solution. Solutions can evolve over time, and most founders can get stuck on finding a solution immediately. Identify and understand the root cause of every problem you encounter, so you know how to recognize them the next time they come around. When you allow solutions to evolve, something bigger and better will emerge, and you can leverage those improvements to solve your problems more quickly. You may even prevent them from recurring in the future.
Nex Cubed is an investor and innovation partner that empowers startups, investors, corporates, and governments to bring new technologies to market and helps rising companies scale by providing paths to liquidity — the power of three. To date, the Nex Cubed portfolio companies have an aggregate value of half a billion dollars, and over 50% of the startups are led by female and minority founders.