By Patrick Kipngetich Cheboi
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Angel Investor Adrian Stone - Investing in Today's Circumstances and Surviving Coronavirus!
Welcome back to another episode of the "Perfect Pitch Show", where Brandon Burns, Head of Community – Runway Virtual, interviews founders/entrepreneurs/Angel Investors about the secret sauce to their successful startup journies.
Today, on the “Perfect Pitch Show,” we speak to serial entrepreneur, Angel Investor and CEO at the Stanford Pacific Group, Adrian Stone.
The Global Economic Crisis
Flashing back to the 2008 crash, which was almost a similar situation to the current one; Adrian narrates how he was lucky to foresee the forthcoming event and cashed out on his company before the crash.
In the 2000 crash, Adrian had an option of floating his tech company but opted not to. This was because he believed in his ideas. He further elaborates that a startup can only fail when the founders give up, or they run out of money. He, therefore, urges founders to believe in their ideas despite the prevailing global conditions.
Three Options for fledgling companies
For companies struggling with raising funds during this period, Adrian advises them to explore these three options:
Firstly, they should continue sourcing funds and look for investors despite quarantine and global lockdown. Some investors are still looking for such startups.
Secondly, Adrain advises startups to pull their disaster management strategies to sustain them through this period. This could be slowing development or even laying off some employees.
Lastly, entrepreneurs should focus on their customers who are struggling during this time of crisis by making themselves readily available at their customers' convenience and be open to pausing with them and offering subsidised conditions, as they will likely leave anyway.
Angel Cube was Melbourne's first startup accelerator and has a portfolio of 31 startups. According to Adrian, the main goal of Angel Cube was to accelerate startups' growth in Victoria and regional Australia.
Angel Cube invested in early-stage startups through financial support, mentorship, and expansion techniques. It is through such ventures that it has seen rapid growth.
How do you extract 10X traction from your day?
To get the most out of his time, Adrian arranges his activities into three main streams; that is family, startups, and finances. Therefore, his priorities revolve around these streams, depending on the season.
His core advice to entrepreneurs is 'never stop learning,' regardless of your specialty. For this reason, he spends a considerable chunk of his time reading from legit sources.
A Day in Adrian’s Life
To have a fruitful time, Adrian plans weekly life rather than daily life. In a week, he slates three days where he attends physical training, has some personal time at his favorite café, and then sets up meetings with founders through his calendar.
On the remaining days, he spends time meeting investors and other people, and if not, spends it with his family, reading.
Number one piece of advice
Understand your finances- this was a lesson learned by Adrian in his early startup years. He insists that understanding your finances makes everything flow smoothly.
According to Adrian, the best advice he has ever gotten is; ‘listen to everything people tell you but only apply what works for you.'
In terms of future markets, Adrian believes that people should focus on problems they are experiencing and seek to solve them rather than anticipating things that may happen in the future.
When it comes to market selection, Adrian believes that entrepreneurs should pick one market at a time. They should start with a regional market, then proceed to multi-regional markets before expanding internationally. He adds that technology has made marketing easier, and efficient as cross border operations are smoother where the law agrees.
Adrian believes that entrepreneurs should be creative. He narrates his encounter with a startup founder during an Angel Cube Demo Day. Here, he was approached by two startup founders who had disguised themselves as investors to get a ticket into the Demo Day, and pitched their startup to him.
For founders, there are no inborn traits that distinguish great founders from the rest of the pack. All it takes is learning the rules of the game at the early stages of their venture. However, he believes that a beginner's mind determines a great deal of a founders' success. Any founder should always accept that they have limited knowledge and be willing to learn from a mentor.
Additionally, Adrian believes that new founders should not be biased toward action. He urges new founders to engage their consumers and investors to improve their products rather than spending long unproductive hours in their offices.
Should new founders be huge risk-takers? As an entrepreneur, Adrian believes that their motivations should guide founders. If the motivation is high, then the risk will be high as well.
Adrian urges people to remain positive during this pandemic. He also adds that we should engage ourselves in productive interaction over social media platforms as we stay at home and practice social distancing.
In case you want to learn more about Adrian or get in touch with him, please check the links to his social media platforms and Runway Virtual!
Adrian on Runway Virtual
Adrian on LinkedIn
Adrian on Twitter