Yesterday I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeffrey Paine of Golden Gate Ventures in front of over 100 people at Keewi’s StartMeUp event. At first, I wasn’t going to write anything on it, but Jeffrey threw out so many nice pieces of wisdom that I had to jot them all down for you. Conveniently, there are only nine things you need to remember.
1. There are three types of bad founders
These are the red flags that Jeffrey says he watches out for when he looks at startups that are pitching to Golden Gate Ventures. Please forgive the coarse language, but it’s all quite clear and exact.
- Assholes: This one’s easy, just people who are just plain mean and insensitive to others to the point of being belligerent.
- Flakey and green: These are people that are inexperienced. It’s their first startup so they tend not to have the mettle or real world experience to make their idea succeed. In other words, they need to fail one or a few more times.
- Stupid but confident or stubborn and doesn’t listen: A very dangerous and common mix of traits.
(Bonus: Fucking nuts: A rarer breed. Jeffrey says he only sees one or two of these once a year, and it’s fun to watch.)
2. There are three types of good founders
So, of course, avoid the above, and focus on building with these:
- Steel balls: Founders need to be brave and continue keep being strong in the face of failure and negative feedback.
- Cockroaches: Good founders need to stay in the game for the long haul. They need to endure. Jeffrey says one of the faults of some founders is they drop out too early.
- The ability to talk to children and talk to the elderly (aka empathy): This is my favorite. There are some people that you know in your network of friends who can talk to a three-year-old naturally, and then turn around and talk to a 70-year-old. These people truly know how to empathize with their customers and adapt to people. This is a rare trait. It shows mental adaptability and insight.
3. There are three types of investors
These are the three investors you need to get to know:
- Family and friends (aka Angels)
- Seed funders
- Series A and above (aka the bigger money)
Jeffrey says you need to get to know them and pitch to all of them. Pick three investors that you don’t want to get money from and pitch to them first so that you have been practicing your pitches. And then, you can get enough feedback to go pitch to the investors you really want to pitch to. But before all of that, you should be pitching to your friends and family and get their feedback, of course.
Bonus: What is Golden Gate Ventures doing in Vietnam?
Vietnam is hot right now; in fact, we could say that Indonesia was hot last year, Thailand is slowly rising right now, but Vietnam is currently hot. We’re looking at 6 companies in Vietnam, but probably only two or three will work out, that’s just the statistics of investment.
Golden Gate Ventures currently has $10 million earmarked for Southeast Asia and Jeffrey says that 10 to 20 percent of that is for Vietnam.
Also, with Jeffrey’s latest traveling and seeing startups in Asia, he thinks that the latest trends are education, followed closely by consumer-oriented startups.