Edge Investments | Supporters Fund | Venture Capital
Nick findler

"Reasons create results"

- Nick Findler

Nick outlines what he looks for in a start-up

Talk Takeaways

Nick Findler, the CEO and founder of GoPublic.AI, talks with Jeffery Potvin about the hustle mentality and how this fueled his endevours. He shares what it takes to be an entrepreneur, his experience, and how persistence will get you to your goals. Nick also takes us on how GoPublic.AI helps companies get the funding they need and go public.

About

Over the past decade, Nick has advised and helped raise over $58M for growth companies and has been involved in structuring 20+ IPOs/RTOs in the public markets (primarily the TSX & CSE) and multiple private exits.

Nick is the CEO and Founder of GoPublic.AI, a fin-tech, go-public investment bank that unites world-changing businesses with $1M-$50M of growth capital, shell vehicles, and know-how to go public.

Mr. Findler also sits on the board of Plantable Health Inc. Plantable is the first plant-based program that is clinically proven to transform human health easily, sustainably, and enjoyably – all in 28 days. Plantable is currently active in 4 clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins, and Weill Cornell to prove its effectiveness in reducing chronic diseases by lowering inflammation, cholesterol, blood sugar, and altering gene expression.

Nick is also the president and co-founder of Grantus.ca, a company that enables Canadian entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, and not-for-profits to access government funding.

Nick is deeply fuelled by human connection. Through his lens, there is nothing more important and impactful than the deepening of relationships and he believes this is the backbone for a successful and happy life as well as business endeavors.

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
so welcome nick your, we’re very excited to have you today at asking Angel and uh, where we work with, interview and talk with investors globally and uh, tomorrow will be our 50th interviews. So we’re very excited um, to be having you today. And the way we like to start and jump into things is if you can give us a little bit of a background on yourself, kind of where you come from, where you’ve been up to, where you’ve come through and then where you are today. And then one thing about you that nobody would know.

Nick:
Okay, yeah, I mean, to give you a little bit of background, I was, I think I was born with the entrepreneurial jean. I was selling golf balls, my dad’s friends as a kid and had a pressure washing business and you know, really anyway, that I could generate value for the small community around me. I grew up in a suburb near Vancouver called Port Moody, beautiful area and really enjoyed my time there. Heading through university, I went to the University of Victoria just off the coast of Vancouver here. I took the entrepreneurship track, I got a commerce degree there and you know, started a bunch of businesses during my time there and just kind of got the serial entrepreneur ball rolling, moved to Europe briefly, was doing some schooling over there, I met a girl over there and was there for a little bit longer than initially anticipated. And then I came back to Vancouver when I was about 21 or 22 at the time and I dove headfirst into the public venture capital markets where I was raising money for public businesses, learning how to market them, how to speak to investors, accumulating a network of my own, had some fairly early success, kind of by the time I was 24 25 and began, you know, I had this network of amazing entrepreneurs around me, I was in front of starting a lot of these businesses and so I was using the capital that I was, I was making in the public markets too. Not only further fund public deals, but also kind of act as a, as an angel investor in private companies and helping people put put companies together and putting the right people in the right seat. So I was kind of in this unique situation being this 25 year old kid that didn’t really know anything, but had made a little bit of money in the markets and just really started getting my feet wet in the angel investing space. So I guess, you know, fast forward. I’m 29 now and I’ve started a bunch of businesses in the last few years. There’s a few successful ones that are still running. I’ve got a marketing agency that I started in the public space called Edge investments that’s done really well, run by a good friend of mine, Kevin Matheson. I sit on the board of a few private companies I’m invested in and public boards and then more recently teamed up with some great people to start a company called GoPublic.ai. And essentially what we do is we identify great private businesses around the world. We connect with their founders and we learn a lot about their story and how we can help and how we typically help is we typically find them financing of a minimum of $1 million dollars upwards of 25 million, depending on the capital needs of the business. And then alongside us helping them with that capital raise, we take them public on one of the two Canadian stock exchanges here. Either the TSX Venture or the Canadian Securities Exchange. So I apologize for the long-winded answer, but that’s, that’s kind of the history and up until now.

Jeffery:
No, that’s good. That’s a great history. Um, well, some of the content and things that I’ve read and learned and listened about your background and um, what fascinated fascinated me about, obviously the things that you do about everything you do is very fascinating. But the one thing that I really wanted to touch on and learn a bit more about is, and you mentioned this when you were a kid, you were um, finding golf balls and selling them to your father and everybody. What was it like through your journey around this hustle? Because it sounds like, and there’s, I don’t say very few people, but it’s limited on people understanding what it takes to be an entrepreneur and I think you kind of found that and you’ve built it into everything you do, maybe you can kind of dive into a little bit more on what hustle really means. You know, people use it as a side hustle or I’m doing these other things are like extracurricular activities, but really they’re not that it’s, it’s a completely different game and it’s, it’s understanding where you want to be in pushing yourself to get there, but maybe you can dive in a little bit about what this hustle means to you.

Nick:
Yeah, I mean, I try to only get myself involved in businesses that I’m really passionate about and how I know I’m really passionate about it is my, you know, my level of drive and excitement and and the pure hustle that goes into it. And it’s about for me that the hustle part is very innate. I just, I have that drive to work the 15, 16, 17 hours a day on end. Actually where I struggled the most with is um you know, being really conscientious of balance and making sure that I, you know, um you know, I make enough time to keep my mental health grade to keep my physical health great to make sure I spend time with friends and that I’m filling all those buckets because I can become obsessive about whatever it is I’m working on. I mean, to give you an example this morning was a good example, I rolled over in bed this morning and clock was three a.m. And couldn’t get back to sleep, so I was like, well, I’ve got some stuff that I can do to help move the company along and help out some of our stakeholders and so, you know, it’s a you know, it’s an amazing bug to have because it allows you to create change in the world through business and your ideas and putting the right people together. So I guess, I guess that’s a little bit about my mentality towards hustle.

Jeffery:
No, that’s great because that’s really the biggest part to hustle is being able to understand that you’ve got it, but then using it, Your brain turns on and you just start working and like you said at three. a.m. your I can either try and fight sleeping for the next three hours, I can just get up and do something that’s gonna make a difference, I’m gonna get up and do something that makes a difference.

Nick:
Yeah, yeah, that was my morning this morning.

Jeffery:
Well that’s that’s not a bad morning, that’s pretty good. It’s six am here when you’re waking up at three, so it’s it’s somewhere it’s going to be normal times. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Nick:
Yeah, for sure.

Jeffery:
You find in the in this hustle that you’ve built up as a kid kind of growing forward that you found mechanisms to help your teams building this hustle.

Like is there are things that you’ve kind of, people see you like I can as an example, um I found that when I was building my first company that as I was working if I shut my Skype off, everybody would think that the day was done. So I’m like what the hell? So I always had it on, always working and I can’t turn this thing off because the team’s working off my work.

So there is a way to keep people really in thrive and driving and really excited about what you’re doing, what have you found mechanisms that can help other entrepreneurs think, you know what it’s a work ethic but it’s also about understanding where you want to be.

Nick:
Yeah I think I I really started developing that skill as a young kid. I remember extremely vividly I was I love to play sports as a kid and played some high-level athletics and I was always even from the ages of 6,7,8 years old, really fascinated by my teammates and what made us all stronger together and that you know, helping you know um you know helping you know one player teammate on my team kind of excel to the next level and really buy in the method for doing that was completely individualist by each individual human. And so you know some people needed that kind of tough love some people needed and so I think I’ve really tried to refine that, and I read a lot on it and really want to understand people and what makes them tick because like that’s much different than what makes me tick and being a leader I think is about giving people the tools and the opportunity to grow to higher heights than even yourself.

And so I really like to hire smart people that are willing to put in the work and I’ll do whatever I can is sort of the leader of the business and in some cases to unleash that out of them.

Jeffery:
That’s brilliant and you’re so true that if you can start finding ways to build value individually into people on your team, they’re gonna be delivering, they’re gonna keep wanting to be part of it, they don’t want to leave and you know, 10 years can go by and they’re still living off this whole team building, this whole team dream of where you’re going right. And I find that fascinating because a lot of times people just think this is a cookie-cutter process to be an entrepreneur, you just jump in and today I’m gonna do this, and this is how this works, realized that you’re in a blender and the blender is speeding up and slowing down and speeding up and you’ve got to be able to catch on the right way to keep moving that business forward.

Nick:
It’s so true and I think back to, I mean, and kind of speaking to, you know what motivates people, I mean, I had someone working for me a few years ago that was going through a bit of a tough time mentally and you know, he was doing a great job at work and you know, we could have given him a little bonus for doing well, but you know, I took the time out to him and I went did yoga every Thursday at nine a.m.

It’s not something I typically do, but I think it was meant a lot that I was willing to go that extra step to kind of be in that work with him. And I think, you know, you know, I think Covid has really emphasized that we’re really not wired to be alone. And I think the more that you can build kinship and family inside of your organization, the more that everyone is going to pull together. So it’s something that I really care deeply about in connection is something that I’ve studied at a neuroscience level and something that I just purely really fascinated by. So I try and take, take those things that I learned and apply them to my companies.

Jeffery:
That’s awesome. So when you started your companies and you kind of dive into the things that really interested you, you mentioned that a lot of it came from passion, was it passion on passionate side projects that you just started to dive into? We’re is it things that you were just highly interested through school and all the way in and you decide, you know what, I’m going to create a business around this, what kind of got you started all this?

Nick:
Well, what got me started was, you know, where I first kinda had my first initial success um I found that I was quite good at sales and I was great at building relationships with people because you know, I truly care about them and it was more than just a business transaction. So I started raising capital for a number of different companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange from the ages of 22 to 26. I was under some great tutelage by some amazing mentors, um you know, one of which I want to highlight a gentleman named Bill Tremble here in Vancouver actually met bill on a ski hill when I was 12 years old and he kind of took me under his wing and I’d come down to his office every three or four months and put on my suit and you know, he just gave me life advice and learn about what he’s thinking about.

So yeah, the mentorship was kind of very pivotal in kind of getting it going and you know, when you’re young and hungry and willing to work for next to nothing and purely on a success basis, you know, people, people love that hustle and love to see people like that succeed and I think if you just say, you know humble, too humble to the craft and put in your time, you know, that value will follow, you will follow you. So yeah, that was, that was kind of what got me started.

Jeffery:
And I liked when you talk about mentorship, which is really good and it’s a very integral part of growing as an early founder, but there is the word that you threw out there again, which was the hustle and then doing things for free, doing things that allowed you to learn from great people. Was that something your father taught you or that you heard one day or was it just something you were like, you know what I’m gonna do this, I need to work for that guy for free. I need to jump in there and get something. I got to exchange my labor for that person’s knowledge and what triggered that?

Nick:
I don’t know what triggered it. But I just, I realized really early on how little I knew and that I was hungry to learn and I was always a really good learner in school and so I knew that if I just applied myself that I could, I feel confident that I can learn anything and it just takes, it takes me to really care about that thing. And I find I found it really interesting last year is like I’ve got you know, relatively severe ADHD um never taken any medication and on, you know, some day to day tasks like getting the dentist booked and like I’m not the strongest. But it’s really interesting that when I find something that I really care about, my level of attention to detail goes up like 100x. And it makes me not want to work on anything else. And so I think kind of the mixture between the level of focus that’s uh it’s intoxicating for me because it’s not the way my brain is wired to work and so when I find that kind of sweet spot, I just I become almost like a dog on a bone with an idea and yeah it’s really motivating.

Jeffery:
I love it and all these things are helpful right? Because it’s a mindset and it’s the way you engage into something or the way you dive into your next initiative or you dive into your business and what that does it represents, you represent your business and all the people that are going to join in that new push forward. And I think that’s very valuable for startups to understand that, you know, it’s a team play, it’s learning how to get that hustle, it’s learning how to dive into something or how to stay focused or have passion if you’re going to start a new company, Have something that gives you a drive and makes you want to wake up at 3:30 AM to do it, because if you lack those abilities, you’re gonna have a tough time getting yourself going at seven in the morning when you need to be able to be on your game and close that next million dollar deal.

Nick:
I totally agree with you and I think, I think just to kind of add on that, I think it’s incredibly important to know why you’re doing it. I’m a huge believer that reasons create results. And I think once we understand why it becomes much easier to pull those all-nighters and put in the work because it’s something that’s bigger than yourself and, you know, for me and starting gopublic.ai and helping growth companies, you know, access more capital and help them push their companies further into the world. You know, selfishly the reason for really starting the business was I wanted to assemble some great people in my team and figure out what are the world views that we all share together that through this platform in this business, we can help push further and further into the world because, you know, with the absence of capital, ideas sometimes are powerless and with capital and, you know, we want to align with founders that share some of the same world vision’s as we do, and whether that helping with biotech, or if that’s helping with education in third world countries, or if it’s plant-based food to help climate, whatever it is we have like, I think it’s important for everyone to know what their core beliefs are and then use business as a tool for change. And I think that’s what really keeps me going at, you know, 3:30 in the morning is thinking about, you know, the things I’m doing today, although they might not be as glamorous as everyone thinks that the founder CEEO entrepreneur life is, it really allows to create, you know, immense impact.

Jeffery:
That’s awesome. And that passion impact, it gives you a vision of where you want to go. I want to keep helping, using sustainability and all of these great terms that are all coming out into the investment community now, which is changing the way people invest, changing the way companies are actually working. We had a company pitch and they were in the oil and gas space and it’s not very sexy anymore. And I think you mentioned some other things, they weren’t very sexy anymore in the mining space. So people look at this and think boooooo, these companies are terrible. So they don’t even want to envision where these companies can go anymore because they’ve been soured by the rest of the community.

But then you mentioned that you kind of look at these and say, wait a second. It’s not sour. These are just shifting their pivoting into being more of a sustainable business and doing something maybe we could jump in and work with. And, and that’s kind of how I looked at it as well. I’m like, wait a second. If you’re doing something this way, is it that we are doing it? They’re like normal. We changed the whole process and we’re actually very sustainable and how we’re using this mining equipment or how we’re doing this. So how much of these types of companies are getting you excited because hey, they’re a depreciated asset if you will in the markets. Um, and is this something you guys are looking at saying, Hey, you know what, we might be able to do something with these guys and help them move through our funnel?

Nick:
Yeah, I mean, I’ve, uh, you know, for a lot of my investing career, a lot of my capital has gone towards contrarian ideas. And there was a book I read by a guy that I know quite well. It’s called My Electrician drives a Porsche. And the book is about most investors are looking on page one of the newspaper for their investing ideas.

I’m much more interested in finding the stories that are on page 16 that are going to page one. And so I think just having an open mind, really challenging what the status quo is, what people think is hot right now. And actually, a big thing of what we’re building in our technology right now is building predictive capabilities to our ai software to try and figure out where the puck is going. And being able to tie real-time market data, um, and compare that to other private companies out there in the eco sphere and be able to draw conclusions that, you know, this company might be undervalued right now.

But with the right tweaks and the right team and the right capital and the right investors, it could be a darling, right? And it’s, you know, it’s our job to kind of act as that conductor of the symphony if you might, and putting the right musicians and the right seats to play, you know, the beautiful orchestra.

Jeffery:
No, that’s awesome. So you kind of, we’ve gone through this little journey through the hustle and the sales and being able to build up this business and get into that entrepreneurial spirit and getting teams behind you and then figuring out what is a good way to invest for, which types of companies to invest in. Where does this put you guys now in the markets? What are you looking for? What are the types of companies that you focus on? What’s the level series A is that early stage where you guys kind of shifting and driving their model into?

Nick:
Yeah. So I mean, at first and foremost, and probably most investors say this, but it’s all about the team. Before anything else. I don’t really care what the ideas if, if it’s not a strong team that’s going to run the business, I’m not really interested unless they’re interested in me placing a new team in place of the idea. Assuming that the team checks out, we look for, you know, businesses that have strong vision that have had some proof of traction. It doesn’t need to be much, but I’d love, I love businesses that, you know, Did $500 or $1 million dollars last year in sales doesn’t need to be overly profitable. But I want to know that people actually want your product or whatever service you offer. And I want to find businesses that have that hockey stick curve potential because that’s what the public markets really payout for.

That’s what all our investors in the brokerage community are looking for. They’re looking for that, you know, Little bit de-risked, but you know, maybe they’re doing $1 million 25 or 50 million in sales in the next 3-5 years? And so those are kind of the scope at which we look through our opportunities. But you know, a lot of times, you know, we’re building relationships with the biggest brokers, hedge funds, merchant banks around the world and so, you know, they have their own mandates.

You know, for example, I came across investment banker yesterday and you know, they said, look, we’re looking for, you know, $100 million evaluation, logistics business we’ll pay x percent if you can find us the right deal. So a lot of what we do is aggregating all this kind of complex qualitative data and then having an engine in the background letting us know who should meet who. So the businesses, it’s very much finding the round pegs and putting them in the round holes and finding the star-shaped pegs and putting the star-shaped holes. And then the businesses that we come across that, you know, we fall in love with their team in their mission. That’s when we pull out our checkbook and we’ll write big checks into the deal. We want to get involved. We’ll help structure, will help roll up our sleeves. So we kind of have two components and and the kind of round peg, round hole component of our business allows us to be — allows us to be powerful on the on the deals that we are doing that. You know really mean a lot to us personally.

Jeffery:
No, that’s good. And when you guys do find this company is I guess maybe it is to give people a better understanding of how you take them public because the TSV is a little bit different than the TSX like there are different measures, what are those measures that allow you? Because we’ve seen companies that have very little revenues that are on the TSV, but they also don’t trade any volume and they have other issues. So where is that sweet spot that really lines up with the best position for you guys to say? Yeah, you guys are ready for this market and then we can move you along into the TS X, NASDAQ all the way up as you continue to grow. Is there a starting point? You mentioned $1 million, but you also have to have money in order to get into those markets. So how does that kind of shape up?

Nick:
Yeah, so, um, you know, the smallest kind of companies that we work with, our minimum $2 million dollar evaluation can be, it can be pretty revenue, but it’s not our sweet spot of sweet. So it’s probably the five million value to 25 or 30 million values, sometimes up to 50 that have had had some level of traction. Have a good growth story, as I mentioned. And so what happens is, well, we meet with the founders, we have them fill out an assessment that asked them about 45 questions about everything about their business. In terms of projections, how much money the founders have put in share structure. You know what I. P. They have once that checks out. We then take them through an educational system, which basically teaches them from A to Z what going public means. Because very few founders are familiar with that process, especially here in Canada. So we take them through that educational funnel once they check out there, then we meet with them and find out what their capital needs are and how we can best support them.

Once we have all that information, then our extensive roladex of financiers, brokers, dealmakers, we put the people together that are already looking for deals just like that one. And so we put this whole group together, we get we come to an agreement in terms of valuation of the private business, how much they’re raising, and then we’ll coordinate the shell company. So the shell company is essentially what allows the private business to go public. It’s called a reverse takeover. You can also do a traditional I. P. O. There’s a few different ways to get public, but it’s typically through these Shell vehicles, which I think in some parts of the world, shell has a has a bad connotation but we have a very kind of vibrant community here in Canada that does these types of transactions. And so once those three people, so you’ve got the private cap, you’ve got the private company, you’ve got the capital, you’ve got the Shell vehicle, you put those all together in a room, they create a deal.

Um and then you’re basically public. And so the things that you need to do leading up to going public is you’ll need two years audited financials Um which typically costs $30-$40,000 Canadian to get done. And then you’re gonna need about $120-180,000 in legal fees. So all in, you’re looking at about a $200,000 investment to get public. Oftentimes we meet with companies that just don’t have 200 grand in the bank and um and that’s totally fine, that happens probably more times than not. So what typically happens is the financers that are going to invest in the business, they’ll loan the business the 200 K. To get public, and then they’re just paid back once the capital is raised.

And that whole process from the time that, you know, we have our first conversation to your shares being traded public can be as quick as 60 days, but more times than not, it’s, it’s 90 to 120. So it typically takes probably 3, 3.5 months on average to get the transaction done from point A to point Z.

Jeffery:
Awesome. And that’s a great explanation on how that works and, and very helpful. I think a lot of startups fear the whole side of financing and understanding how that all works. But then this is even much bigger of uh an endeavor. So there’s a lot of a learning curve for sure on how start-ups to work that way. And when even when you have a company we’ve had a few that have gone RTO or SPAC if they’re in the US. Um So there’s different vehicles but also like even if you’re going to the TSX. There’s a higher platform, you need five million um and it just keeps going all the way up. But what I like about what you guys do because that’s so cool is that you’re actually getting companies into the public space, which means that they have audited financials and they’re making sure they’re keeping track of their financials because a lot of the times we have a lot of companies where it’s a tough go trying to figure out, hey, can I get this? Can I get that? And you know, there’s not always a lot of giving on that side when you’re looking for the full financial than being audited. So there’s a lot of protection that comes in with what you guys are doing by bringing them into the public markets. So that’s pretty exciting.

Nick:
I think one more thing that will add is, I think what makes us quite unique is our business model were a 100% success-based firm. So, we approach private companies. We say, look, if you’re selected and we can set you up with the right financiers, um we’ll connect you with no 1 to $25 million.

We don’t ask for any upfront payment. We don’t ask for any monthly payment. We just want to align with the best businesses and if we’re able to complete what we say we can complete then we’re awarded typically paid in the form of shares so it’s not cashed off your balance sheet, but if you’d prefer to pay cash that’s fine too.

And so it’s a it’s a completely you know it’s a free option call for them for us to get to work and then they can choose to say yes or no to the deal and then from the other side of the transaction when we’re talking to financers, you know we have the same deal with them, we just want to bring them better deal flow that we’ve already vetted through our due diligence system. We’ve already educated them so they don’t need to spend the 3-4 or five hours getting their founder up to speed. So we’re saving these brokers and deal makers and finance, here’s a lot of time and headache. And so we’ve actually got a deal platform that’s launching hopefully it’ll be live in the next two weeks from now. And so that’s where you know all, we’ll have a database of our private companies looking to go public and for our financiers to be able to reach them.

Jeffery:
Awesome, it sounds very exciting. You guys are moving quite quickly and there’s lots happening in the space, so it’s great timing as well.

Nick:
Thanks.

Jeffery:
There was um there’s a few other things that I was curious on and I think you have it the other business on the marketing side. How much does the millennials play into what you’re doing here and does it at all? Is there any cross-pollination? We’re kind of like, now that runs a bit separate, These are two different ways of investing and we try to keep them separated.

Nick:
Yeah. So, Kevin Matheson who runs Edge Investments. Now we founded the company together. He has really done a fantastic job. Kind of building this millennial community I think during Covid, we all saw the headlines of the Robin Hood traders and you know, all these people, you know, retail ambassadors becoming traders for the first time. It was interesting when, when him and I started the company, 2.5 years ago when we first started pitching companies, everyone was brushing off and like, I don’t think millennials have money to invest and can actually have impact in the market.

So I don’t know if I want to pay for your services. And now, you know, Edge is really one of the darlings of, of the public scene because you know, they’re utilizing Tiktok videos, they’re utilizing discord groups, and WhatsApp groups, and Facebook, and Instagram, and Youtube ads, and getting in all the chat rooms. So, um, yeah, I think that millennials are playing a bigger and bigger role. Um, you know, I just hope that, you know, that these investors don’t think that markets are always like this because they’re not and you know, it’s greed.

Greed takes hold of most investors and I just, I hope to not see a sad ending to this story. So that’s my, my one kind of words of caution for the, you know, the new, you know, in the last year have become day traders or investors.

Jeffery:
And how much do you think that was Fed? And this is totally offside topic. But how much do you think that was Fed because of governments providing, uh, serb funds or whatever they were called and pushing dishing out all this money that everybody was like, hey, I’m a student, I just got two grand a month, I’m going to play the market.

So how much do you think was of the markets are being driven by that or how much do you think it’s being driven by the fact that people are just at home and they want to just play?

Nick:
Yeah, I think, I think it’s a mixture. I don’t know the exact percentage, but let’s say it’s 50 50 I think a really big component was, you know, there were three or four months where we’re at home and there’s, you know, there are no sports on tv, there are no new movies, there’s no new content and you know, every, every second ad on Facebook is, You know, this 16-year-old kid that just made 170 grand and two hours.

And so I think that stimulus helped, but I think people were just like bored as hell at home. And you know, some of these new platforms like Robin Hood have done such a fantastic job game defying it, that it’s almost like playing a video game, which is which is quite, quite scary when you think about um you know what is actually being done on these platforms, but it is what it is.

Jeffery:
Agreed. So just to kind of wrap that part up and maybe we’ll throw the crystal ball out of, but what do you think is going to happen in the public markets as you guys are bringing companies public? What do you think is gonna happen this year? You think everything is going to just keep coasting up to this massive skyscraper of change or do you think there’s going to be a shift and a change downwards or how do you think that’s gonna work out?

Nick:
Yeah, I wish I had a crystal ball because I would if I did then I probably wouldn’t be having this conversation, I’d be on a beach somewhere. But yeah, I mean the rate at which the markets have been running up the ladder is likely unsustainable and at what part, at what point the music turns off at the party. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Maybe the music just gets turned down a little bit and it consolidates here for a little bit.

I would love to see that. I think that would be really healthy for the markets right now. But you’re seeing, you’re seeing companies printing a lot of cheap money and that helps businesses grow and you know, from a, you know, I look at alternative investments such as Bitcoin um as you know, kind of the perfect hedge to um to governments printing unlimited stimulus and so you know, I don’t, I don’t know, I don’t know what the next 6-12 months looks like. I’m Firmly positioned in the markets um with 20-25 cash on the sidelines. And so when I think it’s undervalued, I’m closer to 10 and when I think that we’re Ready for something nasty, I’m probably closer to 50.

So I guess my allegation of cash kind of is kind of in the middle.

Jeffery:
Yeah, you never know one minute you’re doing really well and then 30 seconds later you’re like, Shit, I better pull some of this down and make my way over here. So yeah, anything’s possible that markets are pretty jumpy.

Nick:
My mentor that I mentioned earlier had a really great quote for me when I was learning about the markets from him and he said the markets move up the stairs and down in elevators. And uh and so you just always, always got to be, it always got to be on your toes.

Jeffery:
You do. That’s awesome. Uh Well, we’re going to shift, we’re going to shift ourselves a little bit here and we’re gonna jump into some rapid-fire questions and then we have a couple of personal questions that we’re going to ask at the end and but if you’re ready to go, we’ll jump into these rapid-fire once.

Nick:
Yeah. Fire away.

Jeffery:
All right. So how did you get started in investing in early-stage companies?

Nick:
Mhm. When I was 15, I am Had been hearing my mentor bill and my dad talked about investing in these growth companies.

And so I convinced my dad to open a little account for me and I was, I bought 500 bucks of some mining company that my dad was telling me about and I just wanted to be involved in actually even earlier than that. Something I have in my office upstairs is for my first birthday. My dad bought me three shares in Disney and so I still hold them to this day and I guess that was my 1st 40xinvestment.

Jeffery:
That’s awesome. I love that. What’s your favorite part of investing?

Nick:
The psychology. Being able to stomach the downturns and use them to your advantage essentially making moves that are in opposite of your emotions.

Jeffery:
Okay, How many companies do you invest in per year?

Nick:
Yeah, Probably at least 10.

Jeffery:
Okay.

Nick:
I would say probably 75 of those are our our public companies that I’m kind of moving in and out of more fluidly.

And I’m investing maybe two or three private businesses as an angel here.

Jeffery:
Okay. No, that’s perfect. Any verticals you like to focus on?

Nick:
Mhm. Great team. The rest is uh, the rest is pretty negotiable. I’m uh, you know, I truly believe that climate change is the, probably the single most, The biggest problem we face is humanity right now. And I think the companies that are able to create change in that arena will be the most valuable companies in the world 10 to 15 years from now.

Jeffery:
I love it. Any due diligence requirements that you look for before making a commitment.

Nick:
Mm I like to talk to other people that have worked with the founders. Either invested, co founders.

I like to interview the team figure out who everyone thinks is the most valuable person on that team. Yeah buttoned upfinancials. Yeah a lot of it comes to the team. I mean there’s only so much I’ve never seen a bad projection. And uh so yeah

Jeffery:
that’s true, that is true. But I like that the most valuable person on the team find out who that is. That’s a that’s a great insight for sure. I don’t think anybody’s ever referenced that because it makes a big difference because if you hear that person is gone, then that’s where you should start really diving into figuring out how this company is going to correct itself because power players are hard to recover from.

Nick:
Yeah. And I also find it extremely interesting people that nominate themselves as the most valuable people in the team and they’re often almost all times not.

Jeffery:
I like it very valuable. Love it outside the D. D. Requirements. Is there anything that you like to, you mentioned the team side of it, is there uh you put a lot of importance on the Ceo or on the product side. Anything else that really stands out that you want to make sure that the team has or the business has covered?

Nick:
Yeah the Ceo is is going to be the one typically that drives drives the company. So that’s kind of where it starts depending on what kind of company is if it’s technology-related. I want the person who is accountable for the technology to be one extremely proficient at their job and two also have enough skin in the game to care. And so that’s a big thing and yeah I mean fit culturally. We only have so many hours on this earth and I want to spend them with people that I enjoy their company and we have respect for each other. And um yeah, that’s that, that cultural fit. It’s, I’ve seen a lot of good deals where the fit wasn’t there and you know, I pass on those.

Jeffery:
Okay, I like it. I do. Do you have any preferred terms on investing? Like common shares? Equity? Safes? Anything that you prefer to have when you’re making investment?

Nick:
Mm hmm. Mhm. One of my favorite things about investing and what I do is the level of creativity that can be unleashed in a deal. And um, it’s a passion of mine to figure out what is the best win win-win for everybody. And so sometimes that straight equity, sometimes it’s some kind of convertible debt.

Sometimes equity converts based on the performance of the team. I’m happy to get creative because I want everyone’s incentives to be aligned and I want everyone to feel like they are walking away with exactly what they want or as close to that as possible.

Jeffery:
I like it. Do you lead rounds and take board seats? Yes and yes. Okay. And that’s it. That’s all we’re going to do for those questions really off the hot seat. So that was good. So the next question I have is like the way we structure this question is that, and I try to shift the way I ask it because every time it’s a little bit different what we’re kind of looking for, you know, in the time that you’ve been investing and working with early-stage founders and going through the process of helping them. There’s always that one story that just blows their mind that what this startup went through or what the founder had to do in order to survive or fail or win. So we’re always looking for that kind of that heartfelt story that really just blows your mind that she had to do. I don’t know, whatever it was, almost on the brink of failure and then she just did something, they just changed the whole business and the direction went, you know, went to the moon. Is there, do you have any of those stories that come to mind?

Nick:
Yeah, I do. Um it’s a personal story as well.

Um So when I was 20 years old, I was uh I was living with a friend and we were just coming up with new business ideas every night and we had this, we had this crazy idea that if we could figure out when 3D scanning technology was going to come into iphones, that you could 3D Scan someone’s body or your own body and you can order clothes that perfectly fit you every time. And it would solve both. You know, there are people like me, like I’m six ft five and I have a super long torso and my legs aren’t that long. So I have a tough time finding clothes. And so this could be a great solution for those people because, you know, the traditional manufacturers have kind of told us like you fit in these three buckets and like that’s all there is and like we’re all, we all come in different shapes and sizes. So, um, you know, we had this idea, Um, we needed to buy this body scanner to do all this testing. The body scanner was about $20,000 US, and we were working like bar jobs at the time. And so like we wanted to be able to commit full time to working on it. So we had this plan to pitch an investor friend of ours on this idea. So we were actually down at CES in Las Vegas, uh my business partner on the idea. His dad’s company is a three D. Printing company that was presenting at C. E. S. And the the investor, the majority shareholder was there and that’s who we wanted to pitch on an idea.

So we go up to him during the show, we like, you know, hey, so, and so we’d uh we’d love to tell you about this idea and we start going through it and he says, you know what? Come meet me in my house down in Palm Springs tomorrow night, drive down there and we’ll talk about it. So we’re sitting at the table, it’s January 15th eight years ago. And so we start getting into the pitch and telling them how we’re on the way back from Palm Springs to Vancouver, we’re going to stop at five different locations, we’re gonna go check out all these 3D Body scanners. And then we’re going to come up with a plan and we need about $75,000 to get started. And so we do this whole pitch and we’re like so won’t reveal his name. You know, would you like to like you want to be involved with us? And he just he looks at a square in the eye and he says how’s your steak?

And the conversation was over like he didn’t even acknowledge our pitch. So we’re a little bit disheartened. We have a great night that night with him but never spoke about the pitch again. We get back to Vancouver, you know the next week and we sit down my partner nines, we say, and we’ve gone actually on the way home, we stopped at all the different body scanning places to go through the machines. We found the one that we wanted. And so we got home and we said, look like if we don’t get this deal done in the next two weeks, we’re leaving all our part, we’re leaving everything in our apartment.

We’re getting on a plane to Bali and we’re just like, we’re gonna go figure it out. So we email the investor again, being like, Hey, can we meet you for a quick bite one of these nights? So five days later we go and meet him again. And you know, we’ve got the idea this much further. We found the body scanner.

We like have this plan, we’ve got an office space for, you know, 500 bucks a month. We pitched him again and again. He says he’s not ready to commit. So it’s January 28. We got three days left until we go to Bali. And we sent him another email. Crickets. So on the morning of February1st, we’re going to book our flights that night. We give it one last try and we booked a meeting with the incorporation lawyer in Vancouver. You know, in the hopes that like this white knight will come and do it. So we call the investor. We say, hey, we’ve got this incorporation meeting, do you want to come? So he comes to meet us for coffee before we walk up the incorporation lawyer.

He still has not said yes that he’s in. We’re sitting at this table, we don’t have the money to even for the $1500 to get the company incorporated. And all of a sudden the lawyer looks at us and says, you know, how will you be incorporated? The investor pipes up.

He’s like, we’ll do it this way. That way. Me and my partner kind of looking at each other at their first-ever deal you’ve done, we’re just trying to contain our excitement, go for a drink at Earl’s Next, the place he writes us the check, we go off. And uh, yeah, so that it was a lot of persistence to, to kind of get that first deal done. And it’s definitely rubbed off on, on the way that I approach things now.

Jeffery:
That’s an awesome story. And the fact that it was all the last second, you’re like, I’m gonna pray that this guy shows up until we are going to be the closest deal.

Yeah, brilliant. Yeah. You know what? It’s again, it goes back to that hustle, but it also goes to your desire to win and your desire to make it happen. And that’s great that they saw the vision and they got a line to it. Right? So that makes for a great story and a great outcome. So kudos. That’s awesome. All right. We’re gonna, we’re gonna shift into the personal side. So what’s your favorite sports team?

Nick:
I’m a big Lebron fan. So Lakers.

Jeffery:
Okay, perfect. All right. What is your favorite movie? And what character would you play?

Nick:
Mm… Inception.

Jeffery:
Okay.

Nick:
And the character I would play. There was, I don’t know her name, but the younger girl in the movie who was actually the architect of the dreams. Yeah, that’s, yeah, that’s the first thing that comes to mind awesome.

Jeffery:
There was, there was another investor that I talked to that also picked Inception as their favorite movie as well.

And they believe that their, uh, I think they went with Dicaprio. Is there, uh, as the character that would play them or they would play? So that’s very cool. Um, I asked this question because of what I learned from a past group that we work with podcast company and they asked the question, uh, different but similar to the fact that it’s, uh, more personable. So I thought, you know what? I’ve done all these interviews, but I never asked personal questions because it’s not my thing.

I’m not very good at that personal side. So I’m going to ask, but one that allows me to put a movie and a character to the movie because a lot of people envision them. Their favorite movie is their favorite movie because they see themselves as a character. So that becomes your — if you don’t like the movie and I would be like, this movie is great and I want to be the orange. Like you’re not, you know what I mean? It doesn’t really zen to you. So you find someone that’s similar.

And uh, I watched the movies and I’m like, man, that’s exactly how is that? So cool. So cool question. A lot of transfer that you can get from a character in a movie. Right? And I started to think about myself. I’m like, what character would I be in the movie? And I’m like, I could name like 100 movies because I would be eight million different characters because I can’t figure out which one would be just me. I’ll be like, no, I don’t have a favorite movie, there’s too many.

Nick:
But what a great question. Yeah.

Jeffery:
So, so nick, I want to thank you very much for your time today. Thank you for speeding through when I caught you off guard there, but brilliant. And we got, as I always do, took lots of notes and a big fan of all the things that you guys are doing, I love the whole side of working with millennials and being able to open up a different avenue and drive people into the markets. What you shared a lot of great information and hopefully the audience gets a lot out of it. And the way we like to kind of end our show is you want to leave you the last word.

So the last thing that you want to share to investors or to start ups any words of advice? Any thoughts, I leave it to you. But again, thank you for all your time today.

Nick:
Amazing. Thank you for having me. And yeah, I think what I would love to leave investors and startups and entrepreneurs is, you know, it sounds corny, but find your reason why you do things, why, why start this idea? Why do you go to the gym? Why do you keep mentally fit? And once you understand why you do it, it becomes in increasingly more easy to have the passion and the diligence that it takes to succeed.

Jeffery:
I love it. Holy, I wholeheartedly agree with that man. Have a “why”. Have a reason that gets you up in the morning.

Nick:
It does

Jeffery:
Brilliant. Again, Nick, thank you very much, awesome.

Nick:
Thanks, Jeff, we appreciate it.

Jeffery:
Well that was, that was Nick awesome. It was great to see and loved everything that he talked about, you know, things that really stood out. Obviously a big fan of Inception, I’m gonna watch the movie again because now I gotta figure out all these characters.

I think that being able to bring companies public, I think really makes a big difference utilizing that young group millennials and how they’re investing makes a big difference as well. And then digging into that most valuable player on the team. I really like that investing in calling up and figuring out who is that key player makes a big difference. So they’re doing some good stuff man. And I like that CTO having skin in the game, making sure that that person is going to keep helping you build and then utilizing the culture as well. So great chatting with Nick, have a great day guys.

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