Venture capitalists and investors get a bad rap sometimes… as sharks, dragons, and Gordon Gekko (yeeps!) archetypes throughout popular culture.
But the truth is, it’s a lot less like a shark tank and much more about crunching numbers, serving on boards and helping founders and companies to grow and flourish; as well as reporting to limited partners and keeping track of due diligence.
Different backgrounds and skill sets are important aspects to bring to the (cap)table.
Learn more about how Metiquity Ventures’ co-founding directors amalgamate their talent and experience.
Jacques has more than 25 years of experience under his belt, including expertise as the president and co-founder of Calgary-based Attabotics, during which Jacques led Attabotics through its very first equity and grant funding and the significant investment and growth that followed during his three-year tenure.
Specifically within the Alberta technology ecosystem, Jacques boasts 13 years in operational roles in the industry and 12 years as an investment portfolio manager, angel investor, director and advisor.
“He’s had some great success that the founders like to hear about, but he’s humble,” Bryan says. ”There shouldn’t be any investor or venture capital fund sitting on a pedestal somewhere…”
According to Bryan, the pair make a conscious effort to let people see the authentic Bryan Slauko and Jacques LaPointe, and for this reason, they encourage other founders to do the same when meeting with and pitching Metiquity Ventures about their businesses as “no one’s hiding behind walls.”
On this topic, Jacques tends to think of himself and Bryan as an ‘iceberg’ – meaning “there’s this little piece on the top that people see,” he says, but simply interacting with investors or entrepreneurs via email will not allow any party to share “what’s below the waterline.”
Jacques notes that Bryan Slauko, a CFA Charterholder, – boasts more than two decades of experience as an investment professional, advisor, entrepreneur and Board member, including current board roles with Metiquity Ventures portfolio companies including Arolytics, cash flow app Helm and TakeMeTuit Inc – puts “meticulous effort” into legal documents, due diligence and the overall structure of Metiquity Ventures; an aspect which Jacques believes Bryan is all too often not given credit for.
“Many investors go for the story, the sizzle, but they don’t do their homework on what’s underneath and that’s unfortunate because that’s what really gets results in the end,” Jacques adds.
Metiquity Ventures’ Bryan Slauko says investors aren’t only reviewing the books when considering which companies to invest in, they’re also keen to understand a founder’s motivations.
A few tips for new founders and entrepreneurs from Metiquity Ventures co-founding Partner Bryan Slauko
Authenticity is key
Bryan encourages prospective founders to have a clear purpose behind what they are doing because their motivations (or lack thereof) will be under scrutiny from potential investors who are looking for founders who show clear authentic intention to solve problems through digital innovation.
“Some of the best ideas come from founders who were deeply embedded in an industry and can see exactly where the holes are in that industry. They have great insight into those market gaps. If they can communicate that gap, and the solution process to potential investors; that allows us to understand what’s driving [your business],” Bryan says.
“If it was only about money and revenue numbers, then when the going gets tough a founder is going to leave and find something else to do that will make them more money. But founders who see a problem and market gap that they are passionate about solving and filling… they aren’t going to leave or abandon ship before they reach their goal. Those are the kind of companies and founders investors love working with.”
Foster your relationship with your lead investors
Bryan adds that once that understanding is established then fostering a strong founder-investor relationship becomes key to helping companies succeed.
“I always say to people: we’re investing in relationships, not in transactions,” Bryan explains. “We’re not transactional in nature. We want to get to know people and what makes them tick. They [have to be] the kind of person that’s going to stick with it when the going gets tough because they’re going to have a roller coaster ride. It’s going to go up and down.”
Be ready to weather adversity
It’s often the way founders respond to challenges and successes within their respective industries which showcases their long-game ability to scale and grow. Investors want to be assured they aren’t working with someone who will “just throw in the towel and go find a job” at the first sign of difficulty and has potential for growth.
“We want to invest in the people that have to make it work. Not just because they’ve put their own resources into their startup and want to see it scale, but because they simply can’t imagine not making it work. They are determined to succeed,” Bryan adds.
Likewise, Bryan encourages entrepreneurs (and especially first-time founders) to be coachable and open to feedback.
“First-time founders who haven’t done this before – they have a lot of blind spots, and we want to fill in those blind spots for them. And help them connect the dots. Part of being an entrepreneur is having the strength to challenge your own ego,” Bryan says.