A friend and I recently started working on a trampoline park in Brazil. If all goes well it should be up and running in three to four months from now. Brazil is a very difficult country to do business in, especially as an American, but the barriers to entry have allowed us to be one of the first ones in a country with over 200 million people. Should be quite the ride =)
What attracted you to exploring angel investing?
I started out wanting funding for my own company but wasn't sure how to go about it. When I found out about an opportunity to Angel Invest I decided that if I sat on the side of an investor I would better learn what is needed to pitch my ideas to other investors down the road. I treated the angel investment the same as I would college tuition. Helping out another company was a side bonus.
If you’re not still angel investing, why did you decide to get out of angel investing?
I am working on a different, personal project at the moment so I have put angel investing on hold for the time being. If the current project goes as well as I hope I'll be back to investing in another couple of years.
What are the top three things you look for in companies where you invest?
- I have to really like the product/service to invest in it. If I would be excited to be their customer then I'm probably interested.
- Competency/abilities of owners.
- A reasonable valuation of the business.
Though I hoped to see a return I wasn't banking on one at all (I didn't invest in enough companies to reasonably expect a good return). I treated the money as an investment in my own personal education so any return would just be a bonus.
What have you learned since you started angel investing?
I have learned that there are a lot of interesting people and ideas out there, from both investors and those looking for funding. Also, that investors have vastly different opinions of what a good investment consists of, and just as many reasons why they have those opinions. All are great to listen to and learn from, but in the end the decisions have to be your own. Finally, I learned the value of due diligence. It has been enormously helpful in removing my personal emotion from products and services I'm looking at and allowing me to see them for what they really are and what they can become.
What do you wish you would have known before you started angel investing?
Nothing, I got into it hoping to learn what made a good angel investor so I really had no preconceived ideas from the beginning.
What space are you most interested to invest in next?
I like the entertainment space because, despite there being a high upfront fixed cost, the profit margins are generally very high once the business gets off it's feet.
What resources should entrepreneurs and angels use to learn more?
The internet is full of really good information, but it has to be filtered because of all the rubbish. Taking a class, or talking with other successful entrepreneurs/angels first hand is probably the best way to learn from them.