Today I started getting the generic, “Congrat’s on your work anniversary!” notifications on LinkedIn so it must be around a year since I updated LinkedIn properly and put DMG on there. It’s been an interesting year - lots of learnings and achievements, some frustrations, periods of intense activity and a couple of lulls, steps forwards, steps back - all in amongst investing in five terrific startups.
Here’s a review of some things we’ve done and a bit about how we think about founders and startups. If you’d like to get in touch please do here.
Things we’ve done
- Invested in D&D, NoblyPOS, FanBytes, Century and Coconut.
- Helped the above with strategy, negotiations, hiring, further fundraising and finding office space, customers and more. Three of the above have already raised more funding.
- Run a number of ‘briefings’ for example this one for British Land.
- Met for coffees like this with the founders of 87 startups to talk about investment specifically, and many more about the general challenges and opportunities for their startup.
- Visited San Francisco to meet investors and startups over there.
- Spoken on panels and given talks at events by Escape the City, Fast Forward, Courier and Imperial College.
Relevant for entrepreneurs - from the best founders I’ve seen that:
- There is no such thing as being on time - you’re either early or you’re late. An hour early is better than a minute late.
- There is still a lot of investment money available but it still takes longer to raise it than you think/hope.
- Regular updates (ideally monthly) are essential for investors and entrepreneurs alike. Founders should also have a 'potential investors to update' list - investors invest in ‘lines not dots’.
- Pace of execution is key. The default deadline for replying to emails should be 24 hours.
Things we look for in founders
- Something we can all be proud of building.
- A startup that can return lots of money to its shareholders.
- Good execution - please scare us with your genuine resourcefulness, discipline and determination.
- Things we can help with - we want to be very active in helping startups.
- Aligned vision & values (with the product, and us).
- Frugality - great things take a long time so save money. "A penny saved is a penny earned".