I recently started investing in Technology Startups in the Houston area. I have developed a list of criteria important to me:
- Expertise to Guide – I would like to spend at least a few hours every week on the startups before I invest in the entrepreneur. This would primarily be in guiding the founder & their team. My expertise is in delivering Enterprise SaaS to Enterprise customers. This encompasses technologies related to Big Data, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics. Areas I can guide the entrepreneur include Technology selection, Technology Strategy, Vendor Selection , Offshore Development Management, Software Delivery, Project execution and connections to other people who can assist the entrepreneur. I am not interested in investing in startups led by entrepreneurs that don’t need or want my guidance. I invest my money only after assisting the entrepreneur for several months to confirm that the entrepreneur has a need for my expertise.
- Action Orientation – The Entrepreneur should work fast, focused on securing customers developing the product in an iterative fashion. I prefer speed of execution over a great idea. Excuses from the entrepreneur for not moving fast is a red flag.
- Demonstrated Priority – Entrepreneur should be willing to sacrifice career to a good extent to accomplish Business goals. Priority is demonstrated by entrepreneur who puts money into his/her Business. I need the entrepreneur to have put in at least $25,000 of his/her money in product development costs. Prior to investing $25,000, the entrepreneur should not be seeking investment money from anybody.