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Startup Investing 101 with Brad Harrison of Scout Ventures

Equity Crowdfunding Analysis

SeedInvest sat down with Brad Harrison to discuss startup investing best practices, online equity crowdfunding and the development of startup ecosystems. The managing partner and founder of Scout Ventures, Brad is an entrepreneur and seasoned business builder with a passion for technology, media, and entertainment startups.

What do you look for in startups?

  • Team history and experience.
  • Vision for the direction of the business.
  • Clear-cut execution plan.

What questions should investors ask startups?

  1. What are you going to do with the money?
  2. How long is that money going to last you?
  3. What are you trying to achieve with the money?
  4. What are the metrics that you’re going to use to measure your success?

What are the keys to successful startup investing for angels?

  • Finding good co-investors.
  • Spending time getting to know company founders.
  • Making yourself available to your startups.

How should angels cultivate their networks?

  • Include venture capitalists, other angels, and entrepreneurs.
  • Be there when companies need help.
  • Develop a reputation as a value-add investor.

“Putting your money into this asset class is not just an investment decision, it’s also an investment in the startup ecosystem and the economy at large”

What do you think of equity crowdfunding platforms?

  • Removes some of the burden of due diligence, documents, and reporting.
  • Adds a level of organization for investors.
  • Information is easily shareable online.

What are the big-picture benefits of startup investing?

  • Ability to invest in a company from the ground up.
  • Contributes to technological growth.
  • Helps perpetuate a cycle of entrepreneurship.


While attending MIT, Brad worked as a Partner in a seed stage venture fund, ITU Ventures, and helped launch a joint MIT-Harvard incubator. While serving as Director of Media Strategy and Development at AOL, Brad co-authored 3 patents in search, geo-tagging, and personalization, with Edmund Fish, Senior Vice President and General Manager at AOL. Following AOL, Brad helped raise $40M in venture funding for a contextual online advertising network. Prior to launching his business career, Brad served in the United States Army for five years, earning both Airborne and Ranger qualifications and retired as Captain.

Startup Investing 101 is a web series dedicated to educating investors about the world of startup investing.


This post was written by Alexandra Tynion on October 22, 2014

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