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Published 09 August 2012 05:03, Updated 10 August 2012 09:32
How did you get into angel investment?
I took a company public in the US as an entrepreneur and decided to support others with the funds I had secured.
What was your best investment?
I was an early investor, in 1983, in Autodesk, a Nasdaq-listed software developer known for the design product AutoCAD. I exited in 1987. And I invested in Eco-kinetics, which went from zero to $120 million in revenue in five years. It was sold to the ASX-listed company CBD Energy in December 2009.
What was your worst investment? What did you learn?
I lost $600,000 in a software company. The company is still operating but an exit now is unlikely. This was my largest investment. Since then I have not invested more than $100,000 in any one venture.
What are some common mistakes entrepreneurs make when pitching?
Too much detail, or not enough detail. Lack of confidence and lack of experience.
What is your attitude to failure in business?
A good entrepreneur does not fail. He or she simply redefines the business to produce a profitable model. I try to identify and back confident people capable of delivering success. It is good if they have a great product offering also but their ability to convince me they can succeed under adverse conditions improves the opportunity greatly.
Why or when shouldn’t a business raise equity capital?
Historically, most businesses I have invested in have run out of money at some point. Second rounds do occur, if required and if attractive, but eventually cash flow has to drive the business. My opinion is that running out of money gets the entrepreneur thinking very hard about success and their efforts in securing cash flow become keen.
How do I get you to invest in my venture?
I’m not sure I know the answer. Timing and circumstance play a large role.
What kind of companies or sectors are you keen on right now?
I’m very busy right now and therefore not seeking new opportunities at the moment. This does not mean I won’t get involved, it means I’m not actively looking.