John Livesay is known as “The Pitch Whisperer.” He coaches startup founders who are seeking funding in how to best prepare their pitches to get maximum response. He knows the realm of pitching for funds inside and out, not just for the sake of getting money but also in terms of what investors are really looking for in startups and in their founders. If you are at all interested in learning how to be more effective in pitching your idea to investors, or are an investor who is looking to gain more knowledge about how to assess startups and their founders, this episode with John is going to be of great benefit to you.
There are many product and business ideas that could probably make a significant impact on their target market and truly meet a legitimate need. But they never see the light of day because the people behind the idea are not good at packaging and presenting it to the people who could make it happen - investors. If you want your investment pitch to be the most persuasive and successful it can be, you need to know my guest on this episode, John Livesay. John generously shares a wealth of insight from his work with startup founders and investors to help you understand what goes into a great pitch and how you can become skilled at giving a pitch to investors. Be sure you listen.
Many founders or business owners try to pitch their idea to investors without the proper preparation - both of their idea and of themselves. John Livesay has developed a very specific process that walks startup founders through the stages of preparation that can make their pitch compelling and persuasive - but he also helps the person presenting the pitch craft the right stories, develop their personal mindset, and hone their speaking skills to make the presentation go off without a hitch. The number of founders he’s helped get their ideas funded is impressive. You’ll enjoy hearing his story on this episode of Capital Gains.
You may have some very compelling data or facts that show the veracity and need of your product or service. But if you can’t convey it in a way that shows that the idea will meet real needs and that YOU are the person to make the idea come to life, you will have a hard time convincing investors that it’s worth their time and money. John Livesay insists that every founder he leads through crafting their perfect pitch develop stories that draw the investors in. You can find out how he does it in this episode.
One of the things I asked John Livesay on this episode was how startup founders can best go about pitching their ideas to investors. He said the single most important thing is that the founder learns to ask for advice, not money. When you ask for money you’ll typically only receive advice. But when you ask for advice you’ll not only get a lot of questions and interest, you also open the door for the potential investor to learn more about your idea and get excited right alongside you. That often brings investment offers - which is what you want in the first place.
If you want to know how to become an angel investor you need to hear this conversation. I chat with Kathleen Murray, a businesswoman and angel investor who stepped into the world of angel investing on her own, supporting a startup company in the wine industry that she still works alongside today. Interestingly, she isn’t sure she would invest in the company again if she was starting over and you can hear her explanation in our conversation. Kathleen is a person who is very clear about the risks and rewards of angel investing and has a great way of describing the process, including how to get started as an angel. If you’re interested in the possibility of investing in startup companies, Kathleen has a helpful perspective on her own journey that can help you consider all the options, so be sure you listen.
In this conversation with Kathleen Murray, an experienced angel investor, I learned how she got started in angel investing through a relationship with a company in the wine industry. In the course of our conversation she said that if she had it to do over again, she isn’t sure she would invest in the company in the first place. Why is that? It has to do with the long-term nature of the investment, the constant infusion of cash that’s been required to keep the company profitable, and the lack of a clear exit strategy for her investment. You can hear all the details on this episode of Capital Gains.
One of the things I was curious about when talking with Kathleen Murray was whether angel investments are typically income producing or if the profitability is typically realized at the end of the investment period. Kathleen was quick to point out that seldom is a startup company able to realize the kind of profits that enables investors to be remunerated in an ongoing manner. The funds that are put into the company are used to make it become profitable, not to enable quick profits - and there is a very clear difference. You can hear Kathleen’s clear and simple way of explaining the role of an angel investor on this episode.
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not angel investing is for you, my guest Kathleen Murray has some very clear questions she suggests you ask yourself to determine if angel investing is a good fit. Do you have extra income you don’t mind losing if a deal doesn’t work out? Are you excited about business and supporting new businesses? Are you eager to help new entrepreneurs who have great ideas? Are you willing and able to provide counsel, advice, and coaching? These are just some of the questions Kathleen shares so be sure you listen to get the entire list of things she says you should consider.
Kathleen Murray says that angel investing is not for the faint of heart and not for those who want a passive investment. Angel investing requires a good deal of time - in the beginning stages it's spent going through a thorough due diligence process to ensure the investment is in your best interest, and once the investment is made, walking alongside the company founders helping them think through and navigate the challenges of starting a new business. Kathleen does a great job of outlining the commitment and time it takes to be a truly helpful angel investor on this episode.
If you’ve heard the term “angel investor” but haven’t been sure exactly what it’s about, this is the conversation for you. On this episode, I chat with Jim Sullivan, an experienced businessman who has only been working as part of an angel investing group for just over two years at the time of our conversation. He’s the perfect guy to explain what angel investing is, how investing groups come together, how they assess potential investment partners, and what they are aiming to achieve in the end. I think you’ll really enjoy hearing Jim’s perspective on what it means to be an angel investor. He’s even got some advice on how to get started in angel investing, so be sure you make the time to listen.
Of course, anyone who has the money to invest in startup or first stage companies is able to do so. But doing so on your own can be very risky. An angel investing group is a partnership of individual angel investors who agree to work together to consider, assess, and advise early-stage startup companies in search of funding. The members of the group share the load of examining the risk VS reward of investing in the various companies and together make the decision to invest or not. It’s a great way to share the burden needed to make truly smart investing decisions. Jim Sullivan of The EF Angels investing group helps us understand how it works and is my guest today, on this episode of Capital Gains.
When you consider that there are always new companies looking for investment capital and that there are always investors who are looking to invest in promising new ideas and technologies, it may seem that getting those two parties together is a simple thing. But it’s really not. On this episode of the Capital Gains podcast, Jim Sullivan shares how he and his angel investment group make the first contact with potential startups through personal connections, introductions, and more. It’s proof that relationships and connections matter in business and you can hear how Jim and his group follow up with those first-time introductions to establish investment partnerships, so be sure you listen.
Imagine someone you don’t know approaching you at the local coffee shop. The person tells you about his brand new company, the incredible ways he believes it will change a specific high-tech field, and asks if you have the funds to become an investor in what he’s doing. Would you be interested? Most investors wouldn’t simply because they don’t know enough about the person, his company and product, what stage of development and marketing he’s at, and is likely at least a bit ignorant about the market the product or service is targeting. In short, there’s been no “due diligence” performed to ensure that the risk is one that is acceptable. Jim Sullivan is my guest on this episode and he explains what his angel investing group does in terms of due diligence so you can better understand how an angel investor makes decisions to invest or not invest.
When I asked my guest, Jim Sullivan what he recommends for the person who is intrigued by the idea of becoming an angel investor, he responded by saying that the first thing a person needs to consider is that they have a certain “risk threshold” - a level of risk beyond which they are unwilling to go. He recommends you know what your personal risk tolerance is and that you get your head around the idea that angel investing has no guarantees. You have to be prepared for the possibility that in every deal you may walk away with none of the money you’ve invested. It’s for this reason that Jim believes that angel investing is not for everyone and why he shares the kind of temperament that he believes is most suited to being an angel investor, on this episode.