Investible: What an early-stage investor looks for in a high-potential founder

Investible: What an early-stage investor looks for in a high-potential founder

Investible co-founder and chair Trevor Folsom.

Having sold the software business he co-founded called Blueprint Management Group for a nine-figure sum in 2008, Trevor Folsom has two sports metaphors that sum up the aftermath.

"When you do something as big as that it’s a little bit like running a marathon. If someone asks you straight away if you're going to run another marathon, you'd say 'no way'," Trevor explains.

"I was determined to spend 12 months doing nothing, but about six months in I started getting edgy. I felt like I was missing something, much like they say of sportspeople when they retire; if they haven’t set themselves up it can be a very lonely journey."

A theme that kept coming back to him was helping other founders in ways that weren't available when he and Creel Price founded their business in the late 90s, struggling at a time when there was very little in the way of venture capital funds or incubators in Australia.

What followed for Trevor was an "apprenticeship" over several years to make the transition from entrepreneur to investor through the fund-and-club model of early-stage investing that evolved with Investible, co-founded once again with Creel. 

The idea was to pool smart capital from other accomplished founders who had exited ventures, not only tapping their financial resources but also their "mindset, experience and ability to attract deals". 

Investible now has 160 investment partners through this hybrid model, who invest alongside its two active early-stage funds. The VC has more than 120 companies in its group portfolio, including high-profile successes like Canva and Ipsy, as well as the exit of Car Next Door when the startup was sold to Uber.

Early-stage investing is notoriously difficult to predict with a higher probability of failure than with more established companies, but the upside can be immense. At the upcoming E2E Summit on 16-17 February at the ivy in Sydney, Trevor will join us for a fireside chat to discuss his career shift, how the landscape has changed for founders, and the traits he looks for in entrepreneurs when making investment decisions.

"Founders, certainly in the last 10 years, have had it a lot better than the founders of today who may be really having to demonstrate some key milestones before they achieve lofty valuations again, but nothing has changed; good quality businesses led by good quality founders will attract capital," he says.

But what exactly does 'good' mean in that case? And what kind of capital should founders be looking for? What approach should investors take towards founders with failed previous ventures? 

Trevor will be answering these questions and more at the intimate E2E Summit event, revealing some of the "art and science" that has gone into the data-driven 'Investibility Index' with a heavy weighting around the founder's personality traits.

"We combine the data and experience we’ve had in the last 10 years of understanding what founders we can add value to and support their chances of getting beyond Series A and Series B," he says.

In the fireside chat, Trevor will discuss the following and so much more, with ample opportunities to field questions from attendees:

  1. What traits and vision a founder needs to attract investment for pre-seed through to Series A and beyond;
  2. How drawing on a global club of experts as investors brings more than just money to the table; and
  3. Trevor’s investment philosophy and what’s next for the Investible Early Stage Fund 2 and Climate Tech Fund.

 

So what are you waiting for? Click here to join us at this two-day summit where Trevor will be one of many amazing founders giving their insights to help rocket your business forward in 2023 and beyond. 

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