Convince me to invest in your startup

What do angel investors like me look for in investable early-stage companies?

It’s all about:

  • You and your team
  • Your market
  • Your startup
  • Your progress
  • Your financial plan
  • Your investment terms
  • Your other investors
  • (and a few other things too).

Watch the video of a talk I gave on the subject at CreativeHQ‘s Startup Garage last week, as part of an introductory series for Lightning Lab XX.

You’ll also find my slides below.

Should you keep your startup idea secret?

I recently facilitated Startup Weekend Hawkes Bay, the first such event in one of my favourite regions of New Zealand.  Most of the people there were first-timers, and they put in a fantastic effort.

Just after the final presentations, one of our esteemed judges and local hero Sir Graeme Avery decided to give an impromptu speech, exhorting people to keep their ideas close to their chest:

Sir Graeme has built businesses around medical publishing and food and beverage.  It might make sense in these verticals to have everything planned out before you go public, but I don’t believe that this is the case for most online startups.  Your idea is important, but it’s all about execution.  I don’t think many businesses are going to be able to develop a sufficiently big first mover advantage from Hawkes Bay or New Zealand that will outweigh the benefits of getting customer feedback from a Minimum Viable Product as soon as possible.

Apologies to Sir Graeme if my interjection seemed rude.

Moxie: The next 25 years of the Internet

As a side event of NetHui this year, I was asked by Hayden Glass and Glenn Williams to participate in a Moxie Session with Jenene Crossan and Ross Young, marking the 25th anniversary of the Internet in New Zealand and discussing what the next 25 would be like.

My bottom line is that we have the opportunity to level-up ourselves as a society, because Internet.  In order to take advantage of this opportunity, we need to adopt the core values of the Internet itself:

  • Collaborative at the core
  • Celebrates diversity
  • Resilient, even antifragile
  • Has many communities
  • Borderless
  • Self-empowering

Good will triumph over evil thanks to the Internet, because it empowers people to do things never before possible, and everyone wants a better future that’s better than the past.

Do head over to The Moxie Sessions and have a look at the great work these guys are doing.

The Startup Ecosystem in New Zealand (video)

An introduction to the startup ecosystem in New Zealand and particularly Wellington.

I was invited recently to attend a workshop organised by Brian Monahan, Matthew Monahan, and Yoseph Ayele who have recently decided to come to New Zealand and help turbo-charge our local startup scene. The purpose of the workshop was to help strengthen ties between California and New Zealand, with a number of people from the tech and investment scenes present from both regions.

Linc Gasking and I ran a session introducing people to the local startup scene, mainly by way of an informal conversation. Here is the result:

Some of the topics we cover:

  • Strengths and weaknesses of the local scene
  • Why the “number 8 wire mentality” is holding us back
  • How we need to learn how to distribute and scale better
  • Kiwis care a lot, and why that’s important
  • The “brain drain” is really a brain gain
  • And lots more.  Enjoy.

My advice to budding entrepreneurs

A couple of months ago, the great people from interviewed me to collect my sage advice for budding entrepreneurs.

Here is what I told them:

What is WebFund all about?

What’s the difference between a good idea and a good business idea?

What should I think about before approaching an investor?

How important is scalability for a business idea?

Are investors looking for individuals or teams?

You really need a team around you, and there’s no shame in sales!

How do I find the right business partners?

Start small, and talk to potential investors as early as possible.

What are investors looking for?

How do I test out my business idea? What if I fail?

Creative Destruction in the Music Industry at Ignite Wellington

Ignite Wellington was part of Global Ignite Week, and I was invited to do a talk as part of this exciting and (as a presenter) nerve-wracking endeavour.  Each presenter is given exactly 5 minutes to present, and allocated 20 Powerpoint slides which are automatically advanced every 15 seconds; the presenter has no control over the pace.  My Twitter and Facebook friends helped me decide to do a talk on Creative Destruction in the Music Industry, which you can watch below.