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Getting to Know One of Australia's Most Active Angel Investors and Why He Thinks Regional Startups Have so Much to Offer - Robert Lederer
By Lauren Fowkes
Continuing with our "Perfect Pitch Show" where Brandon Burns, Head of Community – Runway Virtual, has interviews small business founders / entrepreneurs about secret sauce to their successful start-up journey.
In this article, we introduce you to Robert Lederer, Angel Investor and CEO of RTL Group Investments, his private investment company. Robert and his company are set up in Sydney, NSW, Australia but he has an international presence with investments in over 25 start-ups around Australia, USA and Israel. He is an experienced investor and advisor and loves to connect with founders and their team to help their business grow, all whilst entertaining his four children.
Typical Day for an Investor
Robert gave us some insight on what a day in his life is like. He likes to begin with a run at around 6 in the morning if he can, before diving into the day’s work. He says that it’s not about the time of day you begin, but how much effort you put in. Robert’s day consists of meetings with various start-ups via voice calls, zoom calls and face-to-face meetings. His aim is to connect with founders and their teams, consult ideas and provide advice. Sometimes, he may decide a start-up isn’t right for him to invest in, however he still likes to provide guidance and assistance where he can.
He explains he will sometimes invest in start-up despite knowing little of the field if he believes in the idea and its value. Robert says for every start-up he invests in he gets more experience in the area and is then able to use that knowledge to help foster even more opportunities.
What Stands Out to Potential Investors?
Robert Founded RTL Group Investments, a private business that invests in a variety of start-ups as well as private debt deals, private equity and hedge funds. When prompted to give some insight on what he looks for when deciding to invest, Robert was able to give our audience an understanding on how to stand out. He says it is about how big he thinks the business can be, and Robert admits sometimes an idea may not look appealing at first glance but continuing to read the facts and learning the situation may allow him to uncover great ideas that turn into great businesses.
A good start-up, Robert says, is built on a good team and good founders, ones that he can connect with and put value into. But most importantly, he advises, that a successful business will be born of a need and not a want. If you can find a problem and then solve it, this will be the strong foundation needed to build a great business.
The Benefits of Being a Regional Start-Up
During our interview with Robert, we asked him what the advantages of being a remote founder were and how to best capitalise on this. Robert had no shortage of advice to give and provided us with some helpful insight. He says, the biggest advantage is that being based in regional areas means that you will see the problems firsthand and have a better understanding on how to fix it. This ties in with his earlier point on establishing a business to satisfy a need, he says, to solve a problem that founders in major cities won’t even know existed.
Following on from that, Robert states that being in a regional area also means you have less competition going after the problem you are trying to solve. With less competition comes less distractions, and he says remote business tend to be more grounded and more passionate thus lending more strength to the founders. This, he says, allows regional teams to be more driven by achieving their outcome than they are about just being successful, and this sets them apart from most city-based founders.
To the Aspiring Founders
Robert imparted on us further advice for our founders, be openminded. He shared with us an anecdote about the importance of listening to your audience and being open and accepting of new ideas. If you are too focussed on one goal you may be blind to the other opportunities just out of reach. Paying attention to the desires of your customer will help you find avenues of success you may have been unaware of. He says, delight your customer no matter how many or how few there are of them.
But most importantly, Robert tells us to believe in an idea. Don’t be afraid to pursue an idea if you have faith in it. Share it with your family, your friends, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. He tells us to listen to advice, but you don’t have to take it. There is always more to learn, and people to learn from so take advantage of your resources.
Last Pieces of Advice
Robert was kind enough to give us in time, and so we asked him for any last nuggets of wisdom he wanted to provide. He says, the best piece of advice was given to him by an older trader of his, he told him “Well Bought is Half Sold” and Robert believes this is be true. Producing a product or service has costs, and if you overpay for the elements you need then you cannot charge a competitive cost. Be smart about the costs you pay, and that will take care of a lot of the work for you.
Finally, Robert highlights how approachable he is and asks for our regional start-ups to reach out, he is open to having these conversations with you and helping you. He is contactable via LinkedIn or on our platform here on Runway Virtual.
Contact Robert Lederer:
RTL Group Investments