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Published 05 July 2012 05:03, Updated 05 July 2012 08:47
How did you get into equity investment?
Having been an entrepreneur who has funded my own enterprises over the years, the move into private equity investing in individuals and groups which are, in my view, creative and impressive, has really been a natural extension of my entrepreneurship.
What was your best investment?
Our Community, a for profit, for purpose social enterprise that has been operating successfully since the early 2000s. The interesting thing about Our Community is the hybrid return: social as well as financial returns.
What was your worst investment? What did you learn?
I’ve had lots of mediocre investments and a couple of bad ones. I tell people that you learn your best lessons from your mistakes and failures – one tends to take success for granted. [I have learnt to avoid] being seduced by a great salesperson and not necessarily doing the due diligence that you should around what that person’s capabilities are.
What makes a great pitch?
Realistic growth projections and a real understanding of the business opportunities.
What are some common mistakes entrepreneurs make when pitching?
To show hockey stick growth and tell you that they only need 1 per cent of the Chinese market – how often have we heard that one!
What is your attitude to failure in business?
Failure in business is fine as long as you learn from mistakes and don’t repeat them. I also think it’s important that everyone involved in the venture has “skin in the game” so that relatively speaking, everyone’s assets are at risk if there is a failure.
Why or when shouldn’t a business raise equity capital?
Equity capital is very expensive. You are selling part of your business and ideas when in fact there could be other ways of raising capital through debt or another form of creative financing.
How do I get you to invest in my venture?
I will invest in a venture when I think the people involved are exceptional so that when the inevitable hiccups occur, there’s creative thinking instead of panic.