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Published 01 August 2012 05:27, Updated 02 August 2012 05:02
How did you get into venture capital?
For many years I was running various internet companies and it has always been my dream to invest in and work with like-minded entrepreneurs.
What was your best investment?
One of my best companies was our web-hosting business Ozhosting, which was not only highly profitable but we also ended up selling it for $19 million in mainly cash and made a very sizeable capital gain on the deal.
What was your worst investment? What did you learn?
I have had a few. If I look at our successful investments and those that are less successful, there is a direct correlation between the willingness of the entrepreneur to listen to and take on feedback versus those who listen and do nothing about it. As I like to say “feedback is the breakfast of champions”.
What makes a great pitch?
I like pitches to be interactive. I don’t like people standing up front and talking non-stop for half an hour. I like a 10-minute pitch about the company, followed by Q&A.
What are some common mistakes entrepreneurs make when pitching?
Talking too much and not listening to the actual questions asked. Also dismissing other potential ways things can be done. This shows a potential investor that there is a limited scope for other ideas. Also, entrepreneurs without a track record need some “grey hair” on their advisory board.
What is your attitude to failure in business?
My view is that failure when building companies is just part of doing business. Failure should be encouraged, especially what I call fast failure. Realising that something isn’t working as well as it should and then making changes to the business model as opposed to trying to flog a dead horse, which usually leads to death by a 1000 cuts.
How do I get you to invest in my venture?
Send me an executive summary. If I like it I will request an information memorandum and if I like it then a meeting will be organised.
What kind of companies or sectors are you keen on?
Our fund solely invests in internet companies. We love transactional businesses. It’s the way of the future.