I hold office-hours meetups, akin to the Clinics that A_Space holds, wherein they bring in subject matter experts, and they co-work side-by-side with budding entrepreneurs. Sometimes we sign NDAs before we get into it, often not though: but almost always a no holds barred discussion about what I need as a venture office and what the founder needs. I either work in the foyers at the office—or cafeterias—, or I actually work at co-working spaces (just as long as the internet runs per workstation at > 30mbps.
One founder in particular, came in, and wanted to chat about her food and beverages business. Particularly, she wanted to get into the catering business. Five minutes in, I found myself reiterating points on thresholds and criteria that my own personal venture office, Katalyst.ph, which I’ve committed another block of $1M USD to investing in the startup ecosystem here in the Philippines—in the way of grants mostly, and startup seed capital.
We meet with a lot of founders that have pass through the office that are in the food deliver or food on-demand space. Before we even get to a white-boarding session about how this business might possibly be a $100M USD/year business, we assess the “comps”—in real estate, comps are comparable addresses; “comps” might also be construed as startups that might be in similar spaces that post a threat or are in a competitive position to your startup.
During a recent white-boarding sesh we asked the BPO staff to crawl Crunchbase, Angel.co and the like. Here was the shortlist (click on the startup’s name/link to view its Crunchbase profile).
Why’s it important to be aware of what the PSE’s doing on a day-to-day? Now, I’m not talking about keeping up with its day-to-day, but just being aware of what its primarily function is, and what its outputs are for the markets, its users, traders, partners, etc.
It’s important because at the outset of your startup in this country, from your by-laws and corporate structure, to the establishing of your fiscal year and the maintenance of your books, you’re setting forth and establishing the foundation for what could be a significant financing event (I’d hate to use the word “exit”—life hardly halts when your business lists publicly; in fact, work only piles on at this point).
Incubatees and investees are often surprised by how many terminals I run at each of my desks. At my desk, even at the BPO, I keep terminals up—not to feel like Gordon Gekko, but because when you see story-stacks and news-wire stacks as a collection, sometimes patterns distill. And this is important.
I hold invite-only office hours among startups that are applying for funding, so that we can meet, whiteboard, flesh out ideas, and generally work together on their business—business planning, even setting up their web presences (Angel.co, Linkedin, etc.).
I do this before I even I put any chips down because it’s a way of test driving. And honestly, it’s more of me helping them than me checking them out. It’s a way for me to see if we’ll work well together.
Don't just datadump stuff into our offices secure folders for us to make sense of. At very least package the stuff a little bit. We're on the horn constantly with capitalists. Joe's generously volunteered yet even more resources, allocating contact center agents to do the client relations, social engineering— establishing new neural branches into the ever evolving greater organism that is the collective fundraising brain of the Bay Area.
So we have hold private conference calls with select capitalists in the Bay that are friendly with each other that we feel would want to participate in an investment together on a daily basis. This is where we need our incubatees and investees to help us out: We need you to provide the investor marketing collaterals that would help draw these folks in and get them interested at the outset—like a bombshell beauty walking into a room.
In case you're invited to pitch to Katalyst.ph or the Manila Angel Investors Network (MAIN), and you recieve an eamil from Gust requesting you to update your startup's profile and don't know where to start, you should focus on the areas encircled above.
Last month, Joe title-sponsored the quarterly general assembly meeting for HIMAP—the Healthcare Information Management Association of the Philippines, a subsidiary of IBPAP (the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines).
His mission for sponsoring the event wasn't to advertise any of the capabilities of his own BPO and contact center companies. Instead, he was there to let these "older folks"—more traditional, enterprise type of professionals—know that at any moment a startup could boot up and eat their lunch.