Kickstart Principal
Brigham Young University Bachelor of Science (BS), Business Management, Strategy Emphasis
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah. So I, uh I've started, you know, my career. I think it started generally without my undergrad. You know, I studied business strategy at BYU, and, you know, at that time, I was really interested in, you know, working with companies to help them improve on the strategy side and sort of figure out their go to market plans and address any problems they had. So I was part of the business. Tragic, bub. We worked a lot of different groups, and that sort of, you know, really got me interested in helping companies. Um, that led Meteo go into a consulting firm and do that for a few years. And then I decided to go to the investing side and eventually got involved in early stage venture capital, which is what I do now. Um, you know, when I think about what incidents and experiences shaped my career, I think the biggest thing that shaped my career was I, uh I put a lot of time into building a network throughout college and right after, like, I spent a lot of time going out of my way to meet you. People finding ways to connect with them and that's the reason I think I was able to get the jobs I was able to get. It was through just casting a wide net and learning about a lot of different opportunities.

What is your investment philosophy? What type of founding team, industry domains, business models, and stages do you invest in?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yes. So the investment philosophy at the fund I'm at currently is Teoh. Find the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the Mountain West region. We're building companies at the earliest stages, so we invest in pre seed seed companies in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, on DWI. We basically look for people who have some deep insight and whatever industry they're in and are willing to start a company in that space. So we're industry agnostic. But geography focused and stage focused, Um, we look for you know, anything from business to business software companies. Thio, healthtech, marketplace, businesses and, you know, it's really a wide range.

What information, statistics, or slide deck do you like to see in a founders' first email?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah, I think the best. The first email. I think the best thing someone can do is find someone who knows me or someone else on my team and have them introduce you. That allows you Thio sort of coming with warm introduction. If you don't have that, then I think you know, a cold email is fine. Typically, when we get an email about a business we like to get a sense for, you know what they're looking for from us. So are you looking to raise money? You know what stages the business at just a few quick for a piece of information, if we're interested, will request to see the slide deck or additional information. But the first kind of check we do is to see if it's just like within our range. You know, if the round is too big or if it's too early, then we will, you know, to be respectful of the time of the entrepreneur, not engage until it's full. The farther going

Can you walk us through the due-diligence process, and metrics you look for? What are the steps and a timeline from a founder's first email to cutting out a check?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah. So you know, our doses process varies a lot just because we're looking at different companies in different industries. So and we're looking a lot of companies that different. I would say the stage we're at, you have teams that have a solo founder or you have someone has a fully built team. You have people that have no product of some groups that have a, you know, built functioning product with a lot of revenue already. So because there's such a very, you know, uh, types, there's like, something very types of businesses we're looking at. I would say the first thing we do when we're doing due diligence is just make a list of kind of the top 5. 10 questions we need answered Thio believe in sort of that being a good investment for us. So, you know, we'll prioritize the questions, Um, you know, based on our quick evaluation, So sometimes we're gonna spend almost all of our diligence process getting to know the team better, doing reference calls on them. Other times we're very comfortable with the team and we want to do research into the market of the business. Um, so, in terms of metrics and all that. It really does shift a lot based on the industry. Um, and what we're mainly looking for is evidence that the product or service that's being built is desired by some customers. Those customers they're going to pay for it or the people that are clamoring for it. That's kind of the main check is to see if there's any sort of product market fit. Um, in terms of steps and timeline from Founders, First team only getting a check, Um, you know, timeline, we like to keep it within the first, you know, two months of us talking to them to like getting sort of a deal done. We like to keep it within. You know, a few months process within. You know, meeting to getting a term sheet depends on the stage of the company is. But well, typically, you know, have, um I would say it's probably, you know, three or four weeks we hope to get an answer on if it's gonna be something we're moving forward with,

In a term sheet, what are typical terms for funding, cap table, governance, and liquidation? What should founders look out for in a term sheet?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yes, I think, um, that really depends on stage. I think there's luckily all the economic and control provisions in, uh, you know, a term sheet. Um, you can really get a sense for if it's market based on a couple of tools. And I think whatever I say right now, you know it's a moving target a little bit. The market always sort of adjusted. Certain times it's more founder friendly. It certainly it's more investor friendly to coming on the market. Um, but I think a really good check is y Combinator website. Why Combinator has a lot of, you know, safe or, you know, other documents in terms sheets that they give you an example of terms that are market. The National Venture Capital Association also has a term sheet with benchmarking statistics that show you how much delusion you should be giving up. What terms or normal, which ones aren't Andi think that's probably the best resource? And it points you thio

How can founders reduce the risk of product-market fit? What are the common mistakes that founders make and how can they avoid those?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah, I think the biggest thing you can do to reduce reduce the risk of not finding pot market. That, I guess, would be to be able thio like conversations with your customers and not building anything until you doing whatever you can to basically do the lean startup methodology of, you know, test ideas and test things with customers before building it. So, for example, we have people that want to build services that have some video component. You know, there's maybe a way that you can behind the scenes you zoom and another tool and just kind of piece it together to get a sense for the customer, even values that experience before building your own tech platform with video capability. So I think a lot of it is just being close to your customers, doing a lot of research into what they want and testing things with them before building. Um, I think, uh, other common mistakes is just like spending money before you need to spend it. So that's sort of similar to what I said, just barely. But, you know, don't make the hires or don't build the products until you have a really, really great sense of, like, the pain point I'm solving people want. And another interesting way you can do that is you can throw up a website, right? And you can, um, get a cent, push people to it and see if people are, like, interested in, you know, suspended a couple 100 bucks on Facebook ads and Google ads and see if people click through and go to it before you actually spend any money building it.

How do you set goals and track a startup's progress? How much do you get involved in the day-to-day operations? When do you intervene?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah. So the goal setting is very much so Based on what the entrepreneur tells, you know, we we basically defer to their goal setting, but we'll help guide them on what they need to accomplish between when we, uh, you know, investing them and when their next round will be raised. So, ah, lot of our involvement is bridging, you know, helping them understand. Okay, if you want to raise from a top tier VC from Silicon Valley like these air the benchmarks you need to be hitting and this is sort of the cadence, see what you need to doing it. And so that's sort of how we set goals and track are. Tracking is typically through board meetings will go to board meetings and check in. Um, we don't. In the early stage, we don't get super involved in day to day operations. It's more sort of high level conversations, and we rarely have ever intervene. Um, the only time to intervene is if it's you know, there's there's some really serious issues occurring, and we need to sort of revamp the team

What are the typical profiles of Limited Partners (LPs)? How do VCs raise funds from LPs? What are the typical investment terms?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah. So typical profiles of women of partners depends a lot on the B C fund. Um, you know, the large institutional funds typically raise money from high networks, family offices, banks, pension funds, you know, university endowments, etcetera. And I think that's sort of, you know, a path that could be. You know, once you've established yourself, that's probably the best path to go down just because you have to, like, deal with so many people. If you get bigger institutions writing bigger checks, you can kind of tomb or, you know, easy process to manage. Um, how VCs raise a lot of it is building a brand and showing a track record that you're good decision making around cos you pick, Um, and typical investment terms. You know, um, a lot of it varies. A lot of you know, a lot of funds dio to on 20. You know, they basically have a certain threshold. They have the ability thio, um, you know, making an outsized share of the carried interest. And then they had 2% management fee on all the assets under management there, uh, managing

What qualities and accomplishments does your team look for while hiring associates or interns? What is the interview process and what type of questions are asked?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah, The main thing we look forward, I think, at the early state, you know, we're often hiring for analysts or associates. We typically look for people who have shown that they're successful in academic or professional environment, that they can deliver high quality, you know, uh, work kind of on time, which I think, you know, oftentimes the education process or internships who worked on will show that, um in terms of other qualities, that's a intellectual curiosity, you know, really Being able to ask good questions, those air, sort of. Some of the key things we look for, um, interview process is really you know, it's sort of ad hoc because we have a very small teams. So we just bring candidate and, you know, all the partners and team members will interview them occasionally. Give them, you know, case studies of companies that we might invest in and see how they would evaluate them.

How would new industry developments affect the job market? What skills, majors, and upcoming job roles would you encourage students to consider?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah, I think, um, you know, there's been a explosion in the last five years of new VC funds. I think now, more than ever, you can get involved and find a job. I think in Utah there's, you know, more funds now that we've ever had their hiring. And so, you know, I think, uh, yeah, there's a lot of a lot more people that are interested in kind of doing it. So that's probably one of based developments that effects the availability of jobs. Um, in terms of skills majors, um, roles. I think the cool thing about early stage venture capital is that we pull from every background. So we have people who are in engineering and finance, and you know, a lot of different majors. And e think if you're someone who is naturally interested in startups and naturally interested in investing, um, you don't have to have a major that's necessarily finance or something else. But just make sure that outside of school, you're making sure Thio get involved and you know either interning with a startup or, you know, interning with another bc fund Etcetera

What college programs did you attend and what were their best parts? How did each of your college programs prepare you for your career?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah. So I went to BYU and just did an undergrad degree in business strategy. And, um, I think the best parts were by far the network that I got from those. You know, my experience there.

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? If any, please also discuss your experiences facing adversity, or trying something unusual.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah. Um, I would say, uh, you know, everyone says, Do what you love. Um, I would say the number one thing kind of for me on that vein is, um do what you're good at, and I For the first several years of my career, I felt like I tried thio short my weaknesses rather than play to my strengths. And once I shifted to a job that was, you know, playing to my strengths, I did much better. And so that's number one is play to your strengths. Don't don't focus necessarily on doing something that just, you know, shores of your weaknesses. Um, number two, I would say Just be super opportunistic, you know, always be talking to people what they do for work and be open minded to other opportunities, because that's when the most interesting ones come. And that's a three like having abundance mentality. Like a lot of people are very cut throughout. Competitive. I think those who play the long game and have an abundance mentality, you know, end up having more happiness and success over time.

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Nov 19 2020
Yeah, I would say, you know, jobs once again. Like I said before, it could be really varied to get into the place I'm at, I would say consulting is a really good path investing, you know, private equity or venture capital. Sort of as an analyst, right out of undergrad eyes. A good one. I'm working for a startup and any sort of capacity. That's, uh yeah. Helping with growth or helping of product does a really good roles as well. Um e you know, parting advice to his notes. E think I sort of gave some with my three things I've learned. But I would just say, you know, uh, basically, at this point in your career, you can you know the world is your oyster, and I wouldn't close any doors by whatever you know, jobs you choose. Take things that are gonna be widely applicable and will allow you to sort of pivot based on what you learned early in your career.Yeah. So I would say the biggest thing that I did was I tried thio, make sure that I got involved in many different parts of campus. So, um, I was involved in student government. I was involved, which was sort of like, uh, you know, um, actions from all over campus. I got involved in volunteer opportunities, which allowed me to get involved, you know, note getting people off campus. I did internships which allowed me to meet a lot of people. You know, I was involved with clubs in my specific college, which allowed me to go kind of deeper into areas I was interested in. Um, I, you know, was on international sports teams, and I hosted a lot of gatherings at my house when I was in college, so I My goal was sort of be involved with be involved in enough things that if I ever met someone, I could have an excuse to get their contact information. So, you know, that sounds kind of weird to say. Basically, if I met you on campus, I knew that I could either invite you Teoh a gathering my house, or I could invite you to be a member of this club because I knew that, you know, we needed someone for a certain role. So just be involved in a lot of different things that allow you toe have an excuse to stay in touch with people that say