Bruce Green
IMPACT INVESTING

Bruce Green

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Early Stage Investor Angel

The Different roles for Angels – Bruce Green, Investor

“Asking for help is a strength is not a weakness. Asking for help is a strength. And we need the entrepreneurs to ask for help more than they do today, and they have to ask for help earlier than they do today.”

ABOUT

  • Inspired Investor/Advisor focusing on high potential early stage start-ups.
  • Canadian – Silicon Valley representative for companies looking to launch and establish a market presence in the US.
  • Over 35 years of Corporate leadership including Capital Management, Strategic Planning and Operations from Concordia University.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Bruce Green

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
Bruce, welcome and thank you very much for for joining us today. i’m excited to to share and learn more about how you’ve been investing over the last few years and maybe just to start it off, why don’t we jump into — maybe you can give us a quick little brief background on yourself, and then we’ll jump into a few questions.

Bruce:
Great, thanks so much. So for the last four years I’ve been an active investor, an active angel investor, early stage investor, and i also invest in the markets. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial drive. But that said I had 37 years background in the corporate world. I was a corporate dude for 37 years but inside my corporate life I managed like three and a half billion dollars of capital inside the company and i invested in projects in the company. So I was in Bell Canada. So telecommunication, so we have to build out some infrastructure, we’re going to lay out some fiber optics, we’re going to roll out a new product, or a new service, or a new offering, we’ve got to build a call center. I looked at freaking thousands and thousands of business cases over my life right, but they were all internal, internal. Like how is this gonna — ? What kind of a return are we gonna get on this investment? What’s the NPV look like? What head count is it gonna reduce…? What kind of productivity is it gonna drive what kind of customer, customers, are we going to attract? So I always did that inside with a company, using the company’s money. Which was a little bit easier. And on the side i invested in the public markets. You know and and it was toward the end like I was getting ready to leave, i wanted to do something different, i wanted to be free, and i wanted to kind of get it because my wife works in the entrepreneurial world. Oliver’s clients are successful business owners and that attracts me a lot more than the corporate world. So I left and I had already established a little bit of a bridge with angels and had started already investing in some startups. So it was a really easy, easy transition for me. And it’s one that I feel very grateful for having had the opportunity. I like being freer and i like the startup world, and the energy, and the opportunity there, so that’s a little background.

Jeffrey:
No that’s great! When I was reading up on you and i’ve learned a lot about you over the the last few years through Spark Angels and I was reading up and there was a lot of great compliments to yourself. About exactly all those things that you just stated around how you were able to build very energetic teams to build out products and help support Bell Canada’s initiative so that’s awesome. So the first kind of question is you know what you talked a little bit about it but what got you invested in startups? What’s made you look at instead of helping maybe just purely from a help standpoint, as you moved out of Bell what got you in investing into early stage companies?

Bruce:
Yeah so I’ve always been an investor. And you know the public markets are interesting, but you’re a million miles away from it. And it’s it’s more exciting I find when you invest in a an early stage startup company, it’s a lot more personal, you’re closer to it. You can look at the eye, into the eyes, of the CEO or the founder. You can kind of get an idea of read their energy, you get a a sense of what it is they’re trying to do and where they want to go and so there’s much more direct relationship in terms of being able to help them. There’s also you know if you’re fortunate and everybody wins, there’s an opportunity for some fantastic wins and returns. I think entrepreneurs are the engine of the economy, you hear everybody say that right that’s what we need, we need small business, we need entrepreneurs to keep things going. Anything I can do to help them realize their dream for me it’s just kind of like when i manage my teams in the past, like I wanted to see them win. i didn’t care about — I just want to see them win anything and everything I can do to get a smile on their face and get that and for them to get a win it makes me feel good. And i get that same buzz really from the startups and the founders that I meet. So connect, collaborate, create. Those are the three things i like to do. And if I can do that in a way that helps people move their dream ahead then I’m all in.

Jeffery:
No that’s awesome! You and I totally commit to that same philosophy. When you have 97, 90 of of the world made up of early-stage startups, you know they’re supporting so much of the economy that we got to do a lot to kind of help support that. And it’s people that work their way through the system that start to learn and say how can I really give back and how can i get in there and support it and your household obviously accommodates that which is amazing. So when you’re kind of going through this and you’re figuring out you want to start to work and invest in startups, what was the trigger point that got you invested in this? Was it you met someone that was already investing in the startup world? Were you approached by someone? Like what was the the trigger outside, I guess your wife obviously played a big part in this in her role, but was there a trigger that said you know what i got to get into this full-on, this is really going to be impactful?

Bruce:
Yeah so it kind of happened by accident. You know sometimes I think what you’re looking for, sometimes shows up and it just happened to be a brunch. I was out, Shannon and I were out or brunch with Gary Einenham and his wife. And his wife was an old family friend, I grew up with her and we were — and then (inaudible – 5:57) and I just thought so I hadn’t met i hadn’t seen him for a long time so I was just asked Gary what do you do? So he mentioned that well you know I’m part of this angel group and he was telling me a little bit about it and I was inspired by it. And so he invited me out to a meeting. So i went out to Ajax, right… Which is like the middle of nowhere for me. But I went out there and and I went to the Spark Angel meeting and I met some cool guys and I thought this is freaking great! This is great, this is awesome, I want to be a part of this. So I’ve rarely missed a meeting since then right, I signed up right away. And I became part of the group. I love the guys that are in that group. You can see everybody is there for the right reason, they all want to help, they all want to contribute, they all want to help. They they have such a diverse set of backgrounds and skills so everybody brings something to the conversation and so I gotta thank Gary for it. And you know Gary’s helped me make a lot of money.

Jeffery:
Well Gary’s a good man. I’m a big fan of Gary too. So that’s a great way to to get brought into the field. And I found that in interviewing a lot of early stage investors, a lot of them have a very similar story that they kind of just fell into it. You know life was changing, they were going there, and all of a sudden