E085: with Guest Host Jason Nazar of DocStock & Angel Investor Paige Craig



about this episode

This week, guest host Jason Nazar of DocStock chats with Angel Investor Paige Craig. Plus, Jason’s taking your questions live with ‘Ask Jason’, and of course, Lon Harris brings up the latest startup news.

On this episode of This Week in Startups we have Angel Investor Paige Craig, ask Jason and Lon with the news.

Ask Jason (Nazar) caller Sue Marrone
Sue has questions about whether to outsource her development to India to satisfy a potential investor, or to engage a facilitator who promises to help raise money to do the development in the United States, but will take 10% finders fee for his service.

Jason expresses concern about hiring someone to ‘introduce’ you to investors. His logic includes that a necessary skill of starting a company is to learn how to raise money and develop a network of people. This can be lost as that effort is delegated to a third party. He describes his concern with any investor who dictates that his investment is contingent on using a particular labor pool. His question is less about India and more about any investor who dictates company direction may be a problem later.

Paige discusses his thoughts on introductions for a cut of the action. He advises to stay away from the guy who wants to outsource to India as well. The work ‘lame’ was used a few times.

Interview with Paige Craig (Adrenaline fueled Angel)

Jason and Paige discuss how he got into Angel investing and how many investments he’s made in the last 2 years. He has invested in 30+ companies over the last two years. He invests between 50K-500K on average. Paige has to feel passionate about any company he invests in.

Paige discusses some of his portfolio companies and why he feels so passionate about the companies he works with.

Paige recounts his background and how he started angel investing. He also talks about how his life philosophies he learned from his father growing up, are incorporated in his business philosophies. He believes negotiations should be win/win. Paige went to West Point for 3 years originally thinking he wanted to be a general, but didn’t like the politics of the military. He left and joined the Marine Corp when he was 21 in the intelligence field.

Paige talks about some of his early fundraising efforts in Iran to fund a business, and discusses some of the lessons learned. He discusses how some of his early business experiences shaped his investing strategy.

Paige began programming on an Atari 1600XL at age 8. Originally a Geek. Still loves technology. Joust, Donkey Kong, Jr. and Paperboy would suck all his allowance money.

Late 2007-2008 Paige came to LA and started to socialize and invite entrepreneurs to get to know them. His first tech deal was Your Job Stop. Paige goes on to discuss some other companies and how his investing strategy has changed over the course of time and experience.

Qualities of Entrepreneurs Paige Admires
Paige discusses his top things he looks for in an entrepreneur. They are:
1) Passion vs coin operated (just want to make money)
2) Intelligence – Need to be creative and solve problems
3) Commitment (Go all in as he did in Iran)

LH: Have you ever invested in a solo founder, or would you?
PC: Yes.

Jason and Paige talk about some of his expectations as he invests. After angel investing, he likes micro-finance. Angel investing is his way of enabling people to change the world. Paige is less motivated by terms/return.

Paige talks about some of the lessons he learned from other investors. Brad Feld, Mark Suster, Ron Conway, Tom McInerney.

Paige discusses Jody Sherman of Ecomom and how his persistence over time finally won him over. Paige discusses how he likes to give answers fast and not waste people’s time. Paige discusses the Ecomom story and why he eventually invested. He’s a guy he’s ‘bring to battle.’

Paige discusses how sports and conflict pushes people to get outside your comfort zone and push yourself to become better.

Jason tells a story about one of his friends that Paige shoved a check for 10K in his hand without terms.

Paige discusses how he ALMOST invested in ThisWeekIn.com. A Jerry Springer moment. Paige discusses Mark Jeffrey and some stories he has (Beachfront party?)

The Selfish Gene, The Naked Ape and The Human Zoo are some books that Paige recommends to enforce how we are all better working together and why deal terms have to make sense for both parties.

Jason asks about people Paige admires. Paige discusses that he hasn’t really focused on other people as examples (other than dad and grandpa). He believes that you should blaze your own trail.

Jason and Paige discuss the differences between LA and SV/Bay. Paige believes LA represents a ‘real’ market. SF is a bit of an ‘echo chamber’. Exceptional entrepreneurs in SV and there is a lot of density of talent. BUT, it’s always a battle to keep your folks from all the other great companies that rip your folks away. Expense, valuation, visibility are all discussed.

Jason and Paige talks about the nuts and bolts of raising money for your startup. Paige discusses all the different ways to contact investors. Make sure not to chase the easy money. Chase the smart money. Stalk the investors.

Jason and Paige discuss mistakes entrepreneurs make after raising money.

Paige discusses his philosophy of communication and how he’s direct. He discusses the manly nature of Jason’s coat. Communication is about not wasting time. Jason and Paige discuss the balance between communication and being too open. They also discuss how to use the investors to help the company.

Paige discusses his new venture BetterWorks with George Iishi (former Paypal, Yammer, Geni), that makes work more rewarding. Making better companies through a platform approach. He uses his experiences over the last 15 years.

Jason discusses the idea of having VCs ‘battle’ for the business (Prince of Persia style).

LH: Biggest miss? Flexless (Lookout). I’m happy to admit failure, but I can’t think of any company. The bigger question is do you make mistakes? I say, Hell yes.

LH: Biggest miss? Flexless (Lookout). I’m happy to admit failure, but I can’t think of any company. The bigger question is do you make mistakes? I say, Hell yes.

LH: Do you think athlete’s make better entrepreneurs? Depends on how many head injuries they’ve had. It really means, who has competitive experience.

LH: Are there trends that you pick up on positive or negative? I usually bite into things that people say ‘why the hell are you doing this?’ I think anything that’s realtime will win. People are investing in clones, and I think that’s the refuge of lazy investors. I want someone who has a unique idea.


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