"At the end of the day, they might have a great idea but if they just they don't put anything towards it, it’s not going to go anywhere. So they have to have that drive. They have to realize that it's about sacrifice early on. You’re gonna put in a lot of time to get things to hook and once you manage to get that perfect product market fit then things may be a little bit easier."

- Tim Mayeur

Tim outlines what he looks for in a start-up

Talk Takeaways

Jeffrey had one well rounded discussion with Tim Mayeur. Kicking off the talk on why he invests in start-up companies, how he started with angel investing, his favorite part of investing, the factors that draws him to a business, how he helps companies in his portfolio, the dynamics between the founders and investors, down to his projection on the North American investing landscape in the next 12 months to 3 years.

About

Tim Mayeur was a leader in the launch of Walmart.ca Ecommerce and the online marketplace for Newegg.ca. He has spent the last 6 years helping B2B manufacturers build-out and grow B2C brands online; these include Refurb.io, Neatfreak.com and OxygenPlus.com. Tim has made over a dozen angel investments since 2017 and manages a private equity portfolio valued over a million dollars.

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
Welcome everybody to our Supporters Fund Ask an Angel. And today we’re very excited to have Tim Mayeur, an investor in early-stage companies join us. Very exciting I’ve known Tim for what feels like years but it’s probably only been maybe just over a year year and a half but it’s been fantastic working with you Tim and learning lots from you. So we’re gonna jump right into it and yeah we won’t slow down, let’s get right to it. So okay so first question we want to ask you is why do you invest in start-up companies?

Tim:
Great question to start with. So you know, why do I invest in start-up companies… I look at it more as I’m investing in people obviously I’m in it to make money at the end of the day right but I view it as a mix of backing good folks that I want to see succeed and you know hiring someone to do an important job and you know somewhere in-between .

Jeffery:
Oh that’s great and it makes complete sense that at the end you’re investing in people, right. And people growth and the best way to get behind those people is to be able to help fund them and move them forward in any direction that they’re gonna take that business. How did you get started in investing into startups?

Tim:
Right so how I got started in investing in startups was… I don’t know, it’s a bit of a fluke I’ve done a whole bunch of other types of investments like domain name investing but how I got hooked into it was a simple Facebook post from an ex-colleague that they shared with me in like 2017 about a friend of theirs that was doing an equity crowdfunding campaign in the US. And so you know I dove into it, I put a little bit of money and then I’m like what is this all about? And I started to do more research and that led to a progression. I started reaching out to people on LinkedIn that I’d been connected with for a few years that you know I considered to be a little bit of a Rainmaker, right, so you know they’re able to pull it off growth and they’re working on a new project. I would acquire in it, you know the chat would turn into, you know, they happen to be doing a fundraise and so I’ll jump on board then then what happened is, I’d later on another tactic [sic] and looking for startups because you know one of the equity crowdfunding companies ended up going through alchemists accelerator program out of California. Then I started to, well, I watched their demo day and then I looked at the other startups that were going through and I ended up investing in another company that went through that demo day. So then I started to just make it a habit of the top accelerator programs attending their demo days and starting conversations and some of them have led to investments and others are just you know good contacts. And then on top of that layered on frequenting events like OPNs and the supporters fund Picthit events and you know that’s kind of rounded me out and I think all those avenues kind of stuck but it was originally just a Facebook share that someone did supporting a startup that they believed in.

Jeffery:
That’s amazing. So when you think about it does your background being in business development, corporate development, and being able to work with a lot of different groups you think that really helped carry you through this because you have an inquisitive mind so you were like, “hey man this seems cool I should dive into this”. But maybe if you were in a different profession you may not have had that same experience or desire to grow into that space?

Tim:
Yeah I think so. I think it’s a combination of things. My background has always been more analytical. I actually started off as a corporate investigator before I got into doing e-commerce. And so you know digging in, doing research into companies even like trying to be a good judge of character as best I can on, you know, who would be most successful. I’ll kind of play a part right, so you got, as an investor, you have to use the tools at your disposal, right, your own skillset and and bring it forward. And where you have gaps, look at ways that you can enhance that whether that’s looking for companies that have been pre-vetted by people that bring a different perspective right.

Jeffery:
No that’s a great point. And having a different perspective and investing is a great way to keep the ball moving forward especially when there’s a lot of companies out there. if you’re not getting feedback all around, you’re gonna find yourself kind of falling behind and not really understanding the direction of a company or why they’re going the direction that they should be as you can add in a lot of insight there so that’s fantastic. So what is your favorite part of investing? It’s such a broad category so…

Tim:
Yeah there’s a lot. There’s a lot there. I would say my favorite part of investing is seeing how the leaders grow their companies over the years. You know hitting a lot of amazing milestones, but also seeing how they grow themselves right by making those tough decisions that they need to make. And you know it could be we’re seeing a lot of startups make pivot because of what’s going on with with COVID 19 and the impact so you know whether making that decision to shift gears and make that pivot or you know sometimes a founder has to make a tough decision and part ways with a co-founder early on and so you know, it’s a lot of those types of moments that shape who they are in their company and then it’s exciting to watch be part of that journey.

Jeffery:
For sure. So it’s it’s kind of like a live sporting event, you get to see all the action going on and decide how long you’re gonna stay and watch and we’re gonna jump in and help out. So I think that’s that’s a great piece to what makes you an investor. How many companies do look to invest in per year?

Tim:
Right so you know since 2017 I’ve done about three to four investments per year. I usually do it around the q-1 q-2 timeframe. Also mentioned in like cheque sizes, I generally do about 10, 25, or 50 K, depending on the situation.

Jeffery:
Okay. That’s great insights and people want to know that right when they’re looking at reaching out to you they want to know that because you’re keeping yourself in this precise format that they have a good chance of getting one-on-one support and growth with you and I can tell you that from the companies that you have invested in, they’re awesome so you’re doing a great job on that side. Any verticals that you like to focus on inside of this package that you’re putting together?

Tim:
Yeah so in terms of verticals I like to focus on. You know from 2017-2018 I was primarily focused on investing in the future of work and so that was remote work tools, HR tech, even some gig economy. You know as a self-employed remote worker, it just made logical sense for me to use that as a starting point. You know, invest in what you know. And timing worked out because some of my bigger investments greatly accelerated because of COVID19. Mandating that people work remote obviously has really helped out a lot of those startups. And then in 2019, 2020, I started to diversify into other areas so I no longer consider myself just focused on in one particular vertical. It’s my job to always be learning right, to research, and to and to get comfortable with getting into other verticals.

Jeffery:
No that’s great and as a position of investing in what you know, I think that’s for any investor that comes in early stage investing that’s probably the best spot and where most will go to and gravitate to and that’s a good thing. And then as you get a little bit more comfortable with term sheets, and startups, and the CEOs, jumping in as a generalist. I find is that you start to pull at different areas, and you get more excited because you start to see that there’s a gap, because of again, the reading, the insights, the events you attend, so that’s really fascinating on how you’ve tie that all together. So do you have a due diligence requirements that you look for before you make a commitment ? Like what is and what is your timelines for those investments?

Tim:
Yeah. So in terms of due diligence requirements, you know, some investments if I’m really comfortable in that area it could be a ten-minute phone call and I’ve already made my decision. By other ones where I am learning and I do need to apply like you know some research to it, can take like two to three months and you know that’s to be fair to give you an idea and invested in the company just the other month like in in April and I had conversations with the company going back into last October you know, and it was just the point, I was lining it up and making sure that you know there was growth there because it was a new area for me to understand. I need to see that traction as opposed to me having the foresight to understand that it would take off, right. So you know it’s important to understand what what companies are working on, that is something that is needed, and it can produce the desired outcome, but also you know to validate that they’re the ones for the job. It could because it’s the co-founders, it’s the team that needs to pull it off and anyone can have a great idea right, I mean they think it might be theirs there but there could be like thousands of other people that had the same fun, they’re they’re trying to action and it’s whether or not they’re the ones that can pull it off.

Jeffery:
You made a good point where you know that if it’s that team that’s going to be the ones to be able to do it and I know in some of the investments we’ve made, we follow companies for two years before we made an investment, because one we loved what they were doing but we also had this love-hate relationship for their business, their model, but we really like the CEO and I think where things start to shift is that as that CEO grows in their position of that new company, it starts to open up more doors but it also lets see if they’re focused if they’re really driven and they’re the ones to take that job on. So I think that’s a really valid point is that you don’t always have to jump and go, you’ve got your 10 minute I’m comfortable love what you guys are doing, but then there’s also the 2-3 months where you’re taking a little bit more time doing, a lot more due diligence if it’s the paper side or the businesspeople side, you’re really investigating a lot more so that’s a very telling tale of learning as you go as an investor that’s that’s awesome. So outside of your DD requirements and we talked a little bit about this which is the CEO, the team, what are those other factors that really draw you into the business?

Tim:
Yeah so a bit the team and CEO, I I think I mentioned before I look at it as kind of I’m hiring someone to do an important job right so that when you’re going about it that way the best the best predictor for future behavior is past behavior. And so you know if the founders are critical as well as the talent that they surround themselves with, if the founders had not grown a company to exit before that’s not a deal-breaker, but you know obviously I’ll dig into their work history to look, to see, you know whether they have deep domain experience or it could be they just have a mix of determination and transferable skills. and you know they could still pull it off. That right so I think primarily that’s what I look for. I look for the team, and then look at the founders, and and make sure that they’re the right ones to do it.

Jeffery:
So when you’re looking at this team, is there different pieces to the board, to their core team, because some of these in a way kind of shape it is to when I look at a team, a lot of the people are there because they’re early-stage grinders. They really get this business off the ground but that’s what they live off, that’s the energy they take. So there’s a point where they have to leave the business, some senior people will be there for a long term so are you looking at how that core team is put together and what the longevity of that team is or is it just focused strictly on that CEO and how they can manage their team?

Tim:
So I look at a combination of things. It’s not just the founders, co-founders that you know ,as you mentioned, you know there might be a point where they need to exit. And so it’s who they surround themselves with. So you know if they if they’re bringing people on board that have more experience working for a large organization and you know they’ve maybe, they’ve they’ve come in at a different stage, in the evolution of a business and can provide a different perspective and maybe you know at some point they hand over the reins to them to take over it. So I look at the advisory board as well, right Who they’re surrounding themselves with that can help transition it over, versus them looking outside and bringing some additional talent to the mix too early on.

Jeffery:
No that’s a good point and I like that, that’s very good. On the on the raise side, when the companies do go to raise, do you look at being the lead ?

Tim:
So in terms of leading rounds I have not yet done that. You know my check sizes is 10, 25, 50 K so I haven’t got in a position where it felt like I I needed to make that kind of jump and be a lead. Maybe in the future things will change. You know one thing I try to do though is add value so even though I’m not you know leading things I encourage friends, family, acquaintances to also back and some instances that brings in an extra $25,000 into the startup and so I’ve done that one making about three to four different occasions.

Jeffery:
That’s amazing Tim! This is why you’re an investor because you help startups grow and you help them find money, that’s amazing. That is sick! Oh I think that’s perfect! A lot of people should look at doing that when they help startups and that’s great. So do you have any [sic] while you’re going through this process, you kind of found some startups, you’re kind of going through the stages, you’ve gone through due diligence, you’re gonna make an investment you’ve started to go down that path are there any preferred terms that you like?

Tim:
So in terms of you know preferred terms for investing, surely I get into companies when they’re around that the four to six million valuation range. I have made exceptions you know, I’ve done really early-stage hood at a million dollar type of pre-seed. Others I had jumped in as far as ten million dollars just because they had the growth in traction and it made sense but typically I stick to that four to six. You know, it’s a mix I tend to go with at this stage as I mean, you investor I tend to go more with the founders set forth as the investment tool that they use right, so I do have some convertible notes but you know a good portion our safes. Because a lot of startups are operating that way especially in that type of valuation range.

Jeffery:
Okay, no that’s good to know and having a mix and being able to work through those different variables is good. And sometimes when you start to go increase that value that you are putting in, you start to change a bit of the terms to fit more around what you’re looking for as well. Especially if you’re gonna spend more time helping them grow the business and sometimes that’s a favorable on your side as well but that’s that’s great to know. In your investments have you looked at or set aside any follow-on investment?

Tim:
So in terms of doing follow-up in investments in startups, yeah I have increased investments in founders. And generally that’s when I see results to justify that. And you know I got [sic], I’m sure every investor you talk to has a similar story, but you know I got burned doubling down on it on a company too early on and didn’t work out so now I’m a little bit more, you know, I do risk a little bit and I look at in terms of I put in a bit of money and then if I see that they’re going the the right trajectory then I put in more. And you know that could be an increase in monthly recurring revenue, it could be an increase in user stats, whatever the key metrics for that company and I would say about a third of my portfolio I’ve done follow on investments in and I like to stay close to founders after I after I make the initial investment. Because then, I have the opportunity to jump in and put more dollars in and you know if I’m seeing the stats increase and they want to extend out their runway before they change up their revenue model, I mean I don’t consider that a big risk so I’ll put money in at that point and and generally they’ll hold the same sort of valuation or it’ll be slightly higher than what I put in my initial investment. That’s why I think it’s important as an investor, as an angel investor to stay close and to try to add additional value because then you have the kind of opportunities to do those following investments.

Jeffery:
No that’s a great advice to stay close. And in today’s market everybody’s doing a lot of things to keep everything afloat and moving around so any extra added value you can bring to a start ups is always going to be well-received. So you mentioned a couple of of different forms of how you make investments and follow-ons, the other kind of big piece of this is, do you take board seats, and is that open interest at this point in time?

Tim:
Taking board seats if I’m offered, you know I am an on two advisory boards where we’re founders offered me some reduced value caps or discounts or other type of incentives when I was investing to commit more time and you know certainly this is something that I have a keen interest in exploring further in the future

Jeffery:
Okay no and that’s good to know, I think when you’re really domain expert as you mentioned earlier on people tend to gravitate to that and they want to make sure that they have that initial really early investor that comes in that can help them through the first two years and it’s a good thing to have that domain expert on the panel because it brings a lot of legitimacy to the actual startup so that’s great to hear and know. What other ways do you look that helps startups outside of money? And money is fine as well, but what other things? You’ve talked about a few pieces being staying close, what other things do you do that you really think help benefit them?

Tim:
Yeah there’s a lot of simple ways to help startups outside of money. And one of them is share their damn social posts. So if you know I don’t see this being done enough by investors, like certainly you want the startup that you’re backing to get more leads to get more awareness, sure it when they’re posting something that might be relevant to your network, you know the simple stuff is often overlooked, but you know really though I try to help out where I can. This could be whether I know someone that might be a good user if it’s a you know a B2B type service or even B2C partners, other investors anything I can it I mean if a founder shows that they have hustle, I’ll show the same right. So I want them to be successful. It helps me out so a little bit selfish there, but you know you want them to grow and that’s the whole point so you should do anything you can

Jeffery:
Well, it’s interesting you say that because the other day I was having a discussion and I actually brought that up about this point you just mentioned. And I think it’s another fantastic thing that you do to support your startups is that you post on a regular basis, information that they have posted or information you’ve created to support the startup. Again I think that is absolutely fantastic. I think more investors need to do this. You put your money into a company that you can help grow and shift. This isn’t putting money into Apple where they don’t know who you are. All right, the companies have to lean on that and I think that is such a huge benefit to early-stage companies and kudos to you for that. That’s fantastic. When you’ve now gone through this lifecycle, you’re now promoting, and you’re pushing these companies, how do you look at the CEOs or the people in the business, how do you want them to communicate back to you? Is there a preferred choice so that you can stay in the loop and you can help solve problems? Is there something that you choose to do quarterly weekly, monthly? Is there something that you get them used to at the beginning?

Tim:
So company communication to their investors is something that’s important and it needs to be done. And you know I’ve seen the full spectrum of things. You know I prefer monthly. That’s it. You know the spectrum that I’ve seen is, you know, I invested in companies that they ghosted me afterwards and you know I might get an update every year right or every year and a half or something like that. And you know some reach out when they’ve done a successful round. And you know that’s good news to have, but you know I’d still like to understand what’s going on in the business as they kind of grow and get to that stage right and even one in my portfolio they go as far as have weekly updates with metrics that they post for anyone to see because their culture is about full transparency but you know if it’s a monthly update that the best I’ve seen is just keep it as a round out key metrics, the battle is the wins and then the asks right.

Jeffery:
That’s good and I agree that you need to have some form of communication back because sometimes when you post questions, problems that might trigger an investor to say “hey I can help solve that”. Reach out to a manufacturer, reach out to anybody and bring that conversation in and sometimes it’s just that one ask. If you’re doing the buckshots frame which is I’m asking a million problems it doesn’t allow someone to pertain to that one problem so if they’re sharing a couple of points you’re interested because that’s your investment, and you start to pick up those little things. Those little things can get solved quicker because investors tend to want to help their investment.

Tim:
And you know if you’re looking to get follow-on type of investments out of here, out of your network, you want to keep them informed. If you reach out of them out of nowhere and you’re like, “hey you know what I need money” and you have nothing to show for it, you haven’t continued to build that rapport. You’re gonna find it very difficult and you’re gonna have to keep on even to get referrals at that point and you’re gonna have to go out to the well and try to find new networks of investors

Jeffery:
It’s interesting that you say that. One of the parts to reaching out and keeping your investors informed is that investors also talk amongst themselves. So there’s a lot of times and it’s interesting. I’ll hear of an investor who’s invested in a company but they’re not getting any feedback from that company, they’re not hearing anything, they’re not getting in communication. So they’re sitting on the side dad mouthing them saying, “these guys won’t do this, they won’t do that” and then when this company comes to the market, the interest level from other investors who have been hearing this from obviously an investor that’s dissatisfied, it carries a long way. So I think that’s something that we have to keep in mind as a startup is that you have to keep that communication trail going so that everybody collaborates and helps grow.. So now that the environments as we mentioned earlier COVID-19, there’s a lot of moving pieces that are happening, has this changed anything around your investments that you’ve been going forward of, or you kind of pulled back to just help the companies that you’re in already? Have you still continued to look at the environment and a bigger picture and saying hey I got some deals out there how have you kind of been scoping the change ?

Tim:
Yeah so the state of the markets have changed it hasn’t caused me to pull back on investments. You know if a company is doing well in these tough times it’s even more telling.And you know prime time to kind of pick and choose which ones are already showing that their habit in them to be successful, right? So it’s kind of it’s kind of testing out a lot of startups and and seeing what they’re made of. And so I think I am reading a lot that the VCS are kind of holding off and they’re not doing as much investments and you know they’ll do bigger check sizes that the things that they think are are safer. I’m looking at more in terms of still the smaller companies, smaller check sizes but you know I’m looking for ones that are showing that they can make it through obviously. You know the thing for me that’s really changed though is what I would do in case of an exit right? So obviously we’re in tough times so I would probably only where I might have put maybe 50% o the money back into private equity investing, I might only put 30% and then look at other types of asset classes to put funds into right

Jeffery:
So you’re considering to diversify but at the end you are still continuing to find that deal ?

Tim:
Yeah I’m putting the same amount if not more. It’s just if I do, you know have a great payday you know I obviously, wouldn’t be putting as much out of that return back into private equity but I’d still be increasing overall what I’m doing there.

Jeffery:
Okay that’s great. Any suggestions and recommendations you’d offer startup on how to connect or engage it’s local or country-based angel investors?

Tim:
So connecting with local country based angels, yeah referrals are generally welcome. I think JP, you’ve mentioned that investors talk and certainly I noticed that as I grow my portfolio. I connect with the investors that are also backing those companies. Reach out to them. They’re open to Chinese sorts of referrals you know, I’ve sent opportunities there way to look at that and they send on my way. You know you can look at, you know, angel.co, angel list right and and dig into it a little bit and you know see who’s active in the market. You can look at LinkedIn, do searches. But you know end of the day you know attending events like yours so you know I’ve gone to OPN Pitchit events and have used that to network with people too and startup should be looking at those types of opportunities when things open up. But also you know what you’re doing through your online and video to keep that going. I had to tone down I mentioned LinkedIn, I had to actually tone down my language on there before because I was being sent a pitch by strangers like every week. And you know, I would get an ad like they’d request I had and then they’d send me their pitch deck right and it’d be something that I like I’ve never invested in before, I don’t have any experience in, and they’re like pushing too close right away. And so you know I had to tone that down, I do read them when people do send them because I, you know, I want to better myself, I want to educate myself if it is an area that I don’t have experience with but you know I’ve never closed from an unsolicited message. There always has to be some sort of you know referral, but like a reference right so they may have an advisor that I’m familiar with right. If there has to be some sort of connection there to first really get me interested.

Jeffery:
And that really comes down to helping you de-risk the business right? Making sure that you’re finding the right variables that meet with your investment thesis if you will. But really does help de-risk it when it’s being referred by somebody you know. They’ve gone through the diligence or they’ve even just looked at it or it’s a friend of theirs because that helps break down 50% of the effort for you. Having to go in raw and figuring out what you want to do with this company so I’II completely understand and agree from. If you take this holistic view of all the companies you invested in and companies that have been successful and the conversations that you’re having with the CEOs and their teams when you’ve gone through all that, is there any underlying pieces that you find to be really exceptional from these businesses that you would share to other entrepreneurs and say you know what if if you’ve got the gusto, you’re gonna win. What is that thing that you find that really shapes a company and you found this across all your investments or potential investments?

Tim:
Yes the one underlying piece is that it’s the people, and it’s the effort that they put into it. So you know I mentioned that you know whether or not they’ve done an exit, whether or not they have domain experience, whether or not they just have a lot of a lot of passion and transferable skills, but at the end of the day you know they might have a great idea but if they just they don’t put anything towards it right, it’s not going to go anywhere. So they have to have that drive, they have to realize that you know it’s about sacrifice early on, you know you’re gonna put in a lot of time to get things to hook and you know, once you managed to get that perfect product market fit and then things may be a little bit easier and you can delegate some of that responsibility off. But you know they’re gonna have to get outside of their comfort zone. They’re gonna have to learn things that they didn’t know before like and they had no interest in knowing before right. So you know it’s a small team, you have to be familiar with many different areas of a business right.

Jeffery:
So does that mean you kind of look at companies that the owner is maybe not fully background in so that they’ve got a hustle a little harder to learn it versus them coming from something they’ve been doing their whole life and starting a business?

Tim:
I look at it much like if I was hiring an employee right so you know if it’s an if it’s an entry-level job, it’s an important project that I’m being, that I’m putting them on you know how they worked in multiple different areas and demonstrated they have transferable skills they can apply there and do they have the passion determination drive to make it happen? If they do, then it’s worth giving them a shot right and I’m sure you’ve seen it in business too. You know you’ll hire someone that you know they’ve done the exact same project before but you may also take a chance on someone because they just have the right mix and you think that they can pull it off.

Jeffery:
No that’s great. That’s great advice. Do you find that accelerators and incubators are good for your investments ? Where they start out you mentioned this earlier that you were jumping on to a bunch earlier on, is that something you still get behind and do they really drive a lot of value to the ecosystem?

Tim:
Accelerators, incubators I think are a good investment for startups. And you know they certainly help with things like solidifying revenue streams, business models, make great connections, finding awesome advisors even getting investors through their demo days. I do use it as a tool to find startups to invest in. Obviously they do a lot of vetting themselves for startups going into the program. So that reduces a lot of the time and due diligence that needs to be done by investors, right. And so you know some of the notable ones that I look for in the U.S. is you know alchemist accelerator I do attend those. Tech Stars US and Canada you know I keep close eyes for that on those ones as well. And you know I just find it’s good it’s good kind of breeding ground to find a good startup right.

Jeffery:
And we all heartily agree with that. I think that if it’s a good another de-risking factor right. You can wrap a team, board and any throw in that they’ve attended one of these Tech Stars or Alchemist one of them I think that they really bring a lot of value to helping the CEO actually focus their business and work through those different revenue streams, work through those advisers gonna get behind them, find those contacts in industry, get the right manufacturers in China or around the world. So those things help really solidify that business to get them off the ground. So I whole heartily agree with that. You mentioned earlier that you’ve got to get out and pitch in events, is this something that you highly recommend to a start-up? Is earlier on, so they get out and pitch everywhere they possibly can? And then if you are pitching everywhere, how do you protect your IP and do you have any recommendations again how you can help that startup kind of work their way through that ecosystem?

Tim:
Yeah, I believe this. Startups should pitch, You know, as often as possible for them to be comfortable doing it right. One on one right. So if they need to go to events because it helps with building that confidence level or they can have conversations with people that maybe they don’t have much time to spare and you need to kind of hook them with that elevator pitch first right. I think that’s very important. Some people are more natural at public speaking and forming relationships like that than others. And so I think they have to be a judge of themselves and know where they need to push themselves so that way they can fill the gap if that is an area that they’re a little bit weak in. In terms of IP, I mean it’s who can do it the fastest right. So you know, I think a lot of companies, a lot of founders, they need to realize they’re they’re not the only one with the idea right so they may look at and found that there’s a gap in a market and they’re trying to address it, well you know there might be a thousand other people right so they need to get rid of some of that fear and guarding themselves and get out there because you know if they don’t, if they don’t secure the funding, what’s gonna happen right? So it’s a tough one to deal with, but I feel that the more information they can share, is possible do you need to share like you know your source code with with potential investors? No. So you know but do you need to be able to talk about it in an intelligent way so that they understand it and you know if that investor happened to know other people who are doing something similar that they kind of remove that fear from then realized that they just need the the money and grow, right. They need a go and build it.

Jeffery:
Know that that’s great advice. And you’re right, there’s lots of events that are run, you got to find the ones that fit what you’re trying to achieve, the people you want to meet. And even I think ,in time you’ll start to realize that you start to see in the ecosystem a lot of the same people and the best part of that is is that those people start to become interested in your business. When they start to see you enough they start to get interested in you. They see that you’ve got the hustle, you’ve got the drive, and when you’re in early-stage company that’s what helps. Those are the things you need, its help supports who gives you the energy, to drive forward so that’s great advice. And you’re right, on the IP, so you kind of have to figure out what’s the best way to protect yourself as you go forward. You don’t have to be blasting out your your code but you got to make sure that you’re at least giving enough to hook people into your value. So that’s great, now on the government side, there’s a lot of funding opportunities is this something that you push your startups to to dive into and to look at as another foot supporting feature?

Tim:
For government funding, I consider it good to go after. You know if a company is eligible then then why not right. And so you see a lot of startups that need the funding, applying and going after it. And also you see some that they may not necessarily need it but you know they’re foregoing doing an equity round because really there the runway may be limited anyways. And so it’s a great opportunity for them to to take advantage and make sure that they’re able to grow their company and they’re able to get to the point where they can hire people right. And provide more to the economy, so I say go for it. You know a couple of companies that I’m involved in in in the US have gone that route, one of them got the paycheck protection program then complement that by going and getting a bank loan and they forego doing an equity round as a whole until until next year so I again I’d say if you’re eligible, go for it.

Jeffery:
Okay, no that’s great. Great to hear a good advice so now we’ve kind of gone through this big picture. We’ve brought from day one working with a start-up, to making the investment, to getting information how to promote yourself, how to market, what you should talk about, places you should join to build up their community and get people interested in you. Where as an owner, where do you recommend startups go to learn a little bit more about term sheets, value, investors, is there somewhere out there that you recommend where startups can get really informed of both the ecosystem at their part of?

Tim:
For learning about the the ecosystem as a first-time owner and you know doing raised, raising funds, you know this is probably not going to be too helpful but you know Google Search. Search. Search. Right? So there’s plenty of information out there, many articles ,where founders are sharing their journey and they may have gotten to the point where you know they’ve done some successful rounds and they’re giving back to the ecosystem by saying you know what this is what I did ,it took you know sending out and calling like thousands of people over several years to get to that stage. There’s info graph, infographics, out there which show like you know the average valuation for each sort of raise you know whether it’s pre-seed, seed or series a or whatnot. And then also to align yourself with people that have done fundraising before from you know if you can from pre-seed all the way through. And makes it and so a lot of companies do this they find advisors that have successfully done those fund raises that have run companies themselves or you know they work in the finance sector and you know they have access to family trusts and what-have-you and they’ve kind of seen it from the other side so once again just do a lot of research but find the right people to to complement you there

Jeffery:
Now you make a very valid point that you’ve got to do some research but look for people that understand the space who may have exited before and try and see if you can do some work with them as well. They’re gonna be a very, very helpful and bring a lot of value. There’s obviously a lot of players in the ecosystem that can help from the Marses as to the DMZ and other places that do have information. And so I think it’s something that you can explore but you’re right Google is a very powerful tool so you should be able to find a lot of good material. So I think this kind of rounds up all of our questions, so the last question that I kind of want to end this with Tim, is how do you see the North American early stage investment market looking in the next 12 months to three years? Where do you see it going through with this COVID change, and the world shifting is there anything that you think vertical wise is really gonna stand out and that people should start looking at not only from investment but maybe from starting companies and you know what does that look in twelve months but where does it specifically look in three years?

Tim:
Well North American early stage investment markets you know things are changing rapidly I think I’m a little bit hopeful on a couple friends. One of them is that you know I think that equity crowdfunding to rise in popularity, and hopefully the Canada market starts to resemble the US market because it’s been light-years behind and so that’s why I’ve gone to the US sites to kind of look for startups because there’s a much a selection or there is enough marketing for the platforms that exist. So I do think that will continue to rise where people understand that they can make investments in early-stage companies and they don’t need to be accredited. There are ways that they can get involved by writing smaller type of checks or you know credit card charges or what-have-you right. It could be just a few hundred bucks. But I think this comes down to education. And I really think that in Canada it’s gonna accelerate. And I look back at you know my conversations with major banks right so I have a wealth manager over at BMO and I had to educate him on startup investing, right. And I swear I was the first one out of his clients that wanted to log business shares into small business shares into my recipe. And to work through that process was like a four to six month process and so that tells me that not a lot of people are taking advantage of that. How do I have interesting conversations with an accountant about the lifetime capital gains exemption in Canada. Which is fantastic! It’s just no one seems to know about it. So I’m hoping that you know a lot of these great programs that we do have which reduce tax burdens on investments, people realize are at their disposal and they take advantage of it right. In terms of verticals, I’m still monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Obviously I don’t think we know what the total impact is, it’s probably going to be a month out until we we see the repercussions because it’s hitting us in waves right. MedTech is obviously an area of great interest I haven’t made the leap forward. A couple of the companies in my portfolio have made pivots in that direction where ones using their mobile attack to get involved in contact tracing and other is doing 3d printing of personal protective equipment. So you know by necessity I’ve sort of, I’m learning more about it right because the company is my portfolio making those changes but obviously it’s an area of interest on keychain to monitor. I think localization is shortening up supply chains, it’s going to be very intriguing what happens on that front. The impact on globalization right. But the overall reality is that a lot of startups will fail over the next couple years and yet there’s gonna be a surge of new ones coming forward. So I think really the the thing that’s got me most excited is looking at tools that are increasing the probability that startups succeed. And you know that’s where I’m kind of honing in on and I’m looking looking into is who’s making things available that will cut back on the the fail rate of startups.

Jeffery:
No that was putting your space helmet on and giving us some awesome forward thinking. So Tim I want to thank you very much today for joining us and sharing your insights. They were incredible. And I think I’m going to leave it with you to give us your one last thought about one recommendation that you would give to a new startup that’s joining into the economy or into the ecosystem. What’s one thing you would tell them or any startup on how to build success.

Tim:
Be a hundred percent committed. That’s it so you know go with it. Be committed.

Jeffery:
I love it. You’re right be committed. Well we’re all committed to having a great talk today. Thank you very much for that Tim. Well-rounded I think we got everything that we were looking for. I appreciate all your time, all your effort and everything you do in the ecosystem. Have a fantastic day and thank you everybody for joining us and I think the questions hopefully we’re able to appeal to the audience and we’re gonna get back to you over the next week or so with the edits when we send this out .

Tim:
Thanks JP I appreciate it.

Jeffery:
You bet, thank you very much.

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