For startups, investors often put a lot of emphasis on cap tables. They want to see a diluted picture of equity ownership among you as a founder, any co-founders or partners, early investors, and key employees before they’ll seriously consider handing over a check to invest themselves in your company. That’s because a healthy cap table illustrates not only your business’s potential for growth in the future, but also communicates to your investors just how solid your judgment is as a CEO.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge speaks with Jason Ray about how to tell a compelling story to potential investors. Jason shares why investing in what matters to you as a business owner and to your business doesn’t always sacrifice an investment return, and how it can help attract investors who are interested in your cause. He also dives into why it’s important to know your key performance indicators from the very beginning, why some businesses are hesitant to take loans and how that can prevent them from growing, and what goes into good financial modeling and forecasting.
Why investing in ESG doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing investment returns
Why it’s important to get yourself in gear from the very beginning as a business owner and be prepared for a potential investor
How a lack of experience with taking out loans and knowing how much they need creates hesitancy, and how that hesitancy can become a hurdle for business growth
What goes into good financial modeling and forecasting
Jason founded Zenith Solutions to deliver accessible, high-quality financial education and advice to individuals and institutions. His work is inspired by racial and age wealth inequality that exists in society.
Prior to founding Zenith, Jason helped renovate a longstanding independent wealth advisory firm, Carnegie Wealth Management, by building new technology, private placement structures, and research capabilities. He delivered investment advice and financial plans to families with a net worth upwards of $10M. Earlier in his career, Jason also gained extensive experience evaluating and creating solutions for financial advisors at Lincoln Financial and FS Investments.
For those who have thought of an idea for a tech startup in a crowded space, it can be tempting to think that your idea must be completely brand new and inventive. Especially when you consider the seemingly ubiquitous announcements that so-and-so big name venture capital investor has chosen to back so-and-so startup looking to go where no one has gone before, which tend to dominate the headlines. However, if done right, there can also be room for those who have built a better mouse trap to enter into a crowded space and make a name for themselves.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge sits down with the CEO and co-founder of Battery Xchange, Desmond Wiggan, to discuss what it was like starting his own tech company, a few of the hurdles he has encountered along the way, and how one small tweak to their target market has made a big impact on their success.
What it was like building a tech company in North Carolina and the importance of starting where you are
How the idea for Battery Xchange came out of necessity while he was on a work trip overseas
What it’s like being a third-generation entrepreneur
Why Battery Xchange ultimately pivoted its focus from restaurants and bars to universities and sports venues
Desmond Wiggan is the CEO and co-founder of Battery Xchange, a sharing economy platform providing device charging on the go. Prior to founding Battery Xchange, Desmond spent time as an account manager for Pepsi corporate and spent time as a cross-border technology consultant working in Guanxi. He is a highly motivated innovator who aspires to emulate leaders, such as the Rockefellers and the Carnegies for his generation. During Desmond’s early career in cross-border technology, he learned the importance of relationships and networking, which has now made him a relationship seeker and networking junky. He wishes to leave a legacy for himself and his family. Demond’s goal is to gain as much exposure, experience, and knowledge as he can.
The Great Resignation may have tipped the scales, but the underlying sentiment of dissatisfaction among workers of all ages and demographics, representing companies and industries across the board, had been brewing underneath the surface for some time. Whether it’s the multiple attempts to unionize, rallies and protests outside of corporate headquarters, or the class action lawsuits filed on behalf of those seeking better working conditions, employees had been making their voices heard time and time again, mostly to no avail.
But once the Covid-19 pandemic came along and made it obvious just how many disparities existed among gig workers, hourly employees, salaried employees, and corporate executives, many of those same workers who had been vying for better working conditions finally decided enough was enough. They either left their company for another who was promising better flexibility and a higher salary, or they left the employee population altogether and instead decided to go and become their own boss.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge sits down with Matthieu Silberstein, Vice President of Creative Marketing for Lili, a startup dedicated to helping freelancers manage their work life and financial life all in one place. . Matthieu and Malcolm dig into the impact of the Great Resignation and discuss some of the key financial concepts that freelancers all need to know in order to run their companies effectively.
The financial products and solutions Matthieu wishes existed back when he began his own journey as a freelancer
The importance of keeping business and personal expenses separate as a freelancer and small business owner
Why using Venmo or Paypal is not the best way for a freelancer to structure payments processing once they formalize their business
The value and importance of finding a good accountant to work with early on in your journey as a freelancer or other small business owner
Originally from France and moved to the United States twelve years ago, Matthieu Silberstein is the vice president of creative marketing for Lili, a startup dedicated to helping freelancers manage their work-life and financial-life all in one place. His work includes public relations, media partnerships, social content, creative writing, and storytelling. Matthieu has been a freelancer in the creative space for half of his career. Prior to joining Lili, he was a video content director for a media tech startup that was acquired by Discovery and a video director and marketing producer for Pop Sugar.
You’ll often hear about companies and their founders who made the decision to pivot from their initial big idea that wasn’t quite working right, to something else that ended up being the best thing that ever happened to them. Take Facebook for instance, which got its start as a silly website used by college kids to rate the attractiveness of their classmates, to now being one of the most important information and communications platforms around the globe.
This example obviously serves as an extreme case where that seemingly small decision to pivot made a world of difference. But one of the best skills a person can have, both in life and in business, is knowing when it’s the right time to pivot, persist, or pull the plug. And while it may feel in the moment like calling it quits is your only option, in many cases, it may not even be your best option. It may just be time to pivot your business (or your career), rather than persist blindly in the face of opposition.
In this episode, Malcolm Ethridge sits down with Donald Boone, Founder and CEO of BoxedUp, a startup that allows creators to rent high-end cameras and production gear from trusted equipment owners across the country. Donald shares his journey from working on a previous idea and deciding to shut the company down, to working on BoxedUp as a side project while also working full-time as an engineer at Amazon, to making a big career pivot to pursue entrepreneurship full time.
The challenges of being a solo founder when looking to raise capital from investors
What factors led up to him ultimately deciding to leave the safety and security of working at Amazon and give entrepreneurship another go
How his previous experiences as a founder helped give him the confidence and optimism to persevere through the pandemic
His process for determining when to persevere, give up, or pivot
Donald Boone is the CEO and Founder of BoxedUp Inc., a startup that allows creators to rent high-end cameras and production equipment from trusted owners across the country. He is a father of three and a husband, and has been an entrepreneur for most of his adult life. From 2015 to 2017, before founding BoxedUp, he founded the startup Oleo LLC. Oleo was a mobile app for restaurants and their patrons featuring 40 restaurant locations in Houston, Texas and Washington, DC. Donald graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.