Lewis Burnham
IMPACT INVESTING

Lewis Burnham

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Investor at IDEA Fund Partners

Communicating to a broad group of people – Lewis Burnham

“Keep having your vision of the future and make sure that’s why you’re building. Make sure you’re building because you have a differentiated vision of of how the world should be.”

ABOUT

Lewis has a deep passion for leading and mentoring. Beginning in the earliest day of his career as an educator and coach, continuing through his career in the medical device industry, and now as a venture capitalist where he uses these passions to support entrepreneurs as they strive to realize their full potential. Lewis resides in Boca Raton with his wife and three kids and is active in the emerging Florida startup ecosystem. He serves as an advisor, mentor, and strategists to early-stage startups through Embarc Collective – a nonprofit innovation hub helping Tampa Bay’s startup talent build bold, scalable, thriving companies. He has a BA from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a member of the Tarheel football team and is an MBA candidate at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Lewis Burnham

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: Okay welcome to supporters fun ask an investor I’m your host Jeffrey Potvin let’s please welcome Lewis Burnham investor at idea fund Partners in Miami Florida as our investor today welcome Lewis it’s a real pleasure having you join us today.

Lewis: Hey thanks JP super happy to be here um I’m stoked to chat for a little bit with you.

Jeffery: I love it well I’m excited because you have a really cool background and I had the opportunity a while back to interview another person that had kind of a similar background where they were coaching and they were working with youth and and uh well I guess adolescents but really focused in on using that coaching skill and then moved into the investing realm which I think is such a huge skill and it’s something that maybe a lot of people don’t really understand or have and that you’re able to bring that to a table and then being able to kind of really exploit that across all the startups and Investment Partners and everything you guys are doing and we’re going to dive into that but let’s start off by maybe sharing a little bit more on your background and where all this came from and where it’s all started to where you are today and then one thing about you that nobody would know.

Lewis: Yeah absolutely um so it goes back to so I was a college athlete um and when I got done playing I wanted to coach I knew I knew immediately that I wanted to go back I went to coach I wanted to work with high school students um and so that led me to education down in South Florida where I spent about seven years uh in the classroom as an algebra teacher uh with 9th and 10th graders was also a head football coach uh that moved into Administration where I was athletic director for a number of years um and that was an incredible journey learned a ton in the education space however when my wife and I decided to start a family it was time to look beyond the world of public education and and wanted to make a pivot into the business World um that led me to and real randomly actually it was not like a um a strategically charted out path but it led me to medical device and medical technology where I spent been about six years in sales sales leadership a bit of corporate business development and um just learned a ton and along that journey is when I was first introduced to startups and Entrepreneurship um when I started with my company in the medical device space we were going through a giant merger when we completed that merger we started uh buying up small startups just to fill little pieces of our portfolio and that got me fascinated into the just the thought process that you know five or seven years ago this company was just an idea or it was just first being built and now it’s being purchased and folded into a massive multinational corporation and I just started really diving into the world of Entrepreneurship in the world of startups just to see what it was all about and to see you know where I fit into that space and I pretty quickly saw a lot of parallels um from the things that I loved about my previous career and with coaching and mentoring and teaching and I saw the opportunity to do very similar things with early stage Founders um with really audacious goals trying to build something great and and build their Vision in the future and so I I really dove in head first and started looking for a way how do I make this like my full-time career how do I turn this into an opportunity each and every day to wake up and just think about how can I support Founders and for me um that ended up being venture capital and that’s where I wanted to get in um I didn’t think I had a very uh you know Venture ready background uh I don’t I understand a lot of investors don’t but um for me in thinking about what’s my clearest path into venture capital I felt like going back to business school was was a good plan so I went back and got my MBA with the sole goal of uh leveraging that to get an opportunity and Venture and so I spent about 18 months uh doing internships and fellowships and doing you know whatever I could to to find a way in I eventually got an opportunity and that’s uh where I am today I said I’m a principal with idea fund Partners um I’ve been with them in total for just about two years now and um it’s been fantastic I really love my role I love supporting Founders and and um I love being able to do it in a way where we can invest them and truly have a profound impact on them being able to grow and scale.

Jeffery: That’s amazing and a great story uh to share as well so thank you for that um one thing about you the note would know.

Lewis: Yeah I mean that’s that’s a really good one I would say the thing about me that nobody would know I don’t know that I have anything good honestly I would say majority of people listening to this wouldn’t wouldn’t know about me that my wife and I have three kids and and and they are my absolute world I I love the work I do and it is so important to me but when it comes to Hobbies you know I work out at five o’clock in the morning that’s a hobby and then I spend time with my kids and my wife and that’s uh other than that life that fulfills all of life for me so that’s the one thing that most people in this call probably don’t know about me.

Jeffery: Ah that’s cool uh and and great that’s that’s brilliant putting time into your kids which is the same thing as putting time into Adventure World and helping uh peopl grow their businesses you’re helping grow the youth for today so that’s pretty exciting and it’s got to be uh full of merits all around on both sides so that’s exciting awesome awesome so to kind of go back a little bit to your background and what I find that’s really fascinating about where you’ve come from uh obviously the side where you dove in and said I want to be adventurous so you put the same passion that an entrepreneur would put into building a company you’re like I want to get an adventure I’m going to go get my MDA and then I’m going to Jive into this so you followed all the right steps you’ve you’ve done everything that you need to do to get there so you you mentioned that you don’t have the uh Venture ready background I think you’