For many entrepreneurs, finding an investor for their company can be crucial in their path to success. Still, for many, the question remains: how do entrepreneurs find investors and connect with them? While we've covered topics such as How To Secure Lead Investor and What is an Angel Investor?, in this article we receive personal insight from an entrepreneur turned investor.
Manny Fernandez, CEO and Co-founder of DreamFunded.com, gives guidance from both an entrepreneur and investor's point of view as he tells us about his transition from startups, investments, and finally to creating a platform built specifically for entrepreneurs and investors alike.
"Luck plays a large part in any success but it is still largely in one’s control. Things that can improve your chances of getting lucky are: hard work, staying positive, being a great student, having the right mentors, and surrounding yourself with the right people or team to help. " -
When you were little, what was your dream job?
"I wanted to be like Warren Buffet in my early days. I wanted to be an entrepreneur who was able to invest in businesses and make my investors lots of money."
Is this how you got into angel investing?
"Originally, I wanted to diversify from my real estate holdings by investing into tech companies. A couple of courses at Stanford University taught me the basics. I was lucky enough to have a mentor who taught me how to screen opportunities and become visible to attract better opportunities. I began with what I knew at the time and invested in some successful fin-tech startups in the real estate space, and later I joined TiE Angels. I formed SF Angels Group in San Francisco because I saw the need for a formalized angel network in the San Francisco area."
What is a significant lesson you've learned during the transition from entrepreneur to angel investor?
"The language and thought processes are different. I think that entrepreneurs should talk more about how investors are going to make money and work on properly articulating that. Entrepreneurs speak about their business and passion, and investors are thinking about how they are going to make money investing in the business. I can now see how investors look at an entrepreneur, whereas before I was not able to understand the mindset of investors as intuitively."
Understanding the disconnect between investors and entrepreneurs, Fernandez aimed to help solve the problem. In 2014, he cofounded DreamFunded.com, an online angel capital platform that provides angel investors pre-screened deals to promising startups. On the other hand, startups are able to apply to DreamFunded in order to easily connect and find funding through the available network. Fernandez states:
I wanted to help more promising entrepreneurs get funding quicker, while at the same time help investors access talented investment opportunities. I hope that someday, we will be able to allow everyone, accredited or not to invest in startups."
As an investor, what is one specific quality that you look for when investing in a company?
"A great team, being early into the market and entering a huge market. All in that order."
Do you recommend any good books for entrepreneurs to read?
"The book that I am currently writing 'The New & Improved Way of Investing in Startups'! All jokes aside, 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill is a great book! I would highly recommend it to others who are looking to become successful."