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Startup Investing Tips from Venture Capital Investors

SeedInvest sits down with a few professional investors and asks for their advice on startup investing…


Brad Harrison on Team:

I think the best indicator of a successful startup really comes down to the team—how long they’ve worked together, how much experience they’ve had with prior startups. Spend a lot of time getting to know your founders. Before you make an investment it makes sense spending a lot of time getting to know the team—see the team dynamic, how they interact with one another, and how they overcome some obstacles. Spend a lot of time with your investment and make yourself available to answer questions and provide experience to help young entrepreneurs be more successful.



Erica Minnihan on Target Startups:

You really need to dig into: What are the dynamics of the market? What’s the competitive landscape? What’s their market strategy? Let me look at the financial model and let me do some sensitivity analysis. Let me do some background checking on these guys and see what they have been able to produce in the past and what’s the history of their work ethic.

The people that make the most successful companies aren’t necessarily the people that come to you with the best idea in the beginning, but they’re the people who can pivot and who can adapt and change and aren’t so focused on their product or their technology being a reflection of their own egos. They’re able to transform what they’re bringing into the market into something that the market wants, and that’s really valuable.



Mark Peter Davis on Patience:

One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was rushing. When you see things that seem like they’re going to be interesting and you, and you haven’t seen enough companies to realize there’s 5,000 more behind it, it’s easy to get too excited and want to make a bet.

When you’ve seen the show enough times, you know that there’s always another one. So if something is close, but not enough to get you really excited, the right move is to pass. When you’ve got this mandate in your head that you’re going to start writing checks, there’s a predisposition to confirmation bias. Wait for the one where you can’t believe you’re getting in on the deal, and that’s when you should invest.


This post was written by James Han on September 22, 2016

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