As an angel investor for the past six years, I've had the privilege of encountering various stories, opportunities, and investments. Today, I want to share one journey—a retrospective that showcases the remarkable success of a company and its founders. This particular tale began around five years ago when a friend informed me about a friend of his who was developing a groundbreaking trading product. Despite my lack of understanding in trading, our paths intersected, and that's when the magic began.
Picture this—a garage office on the second floor, sharing space with a car service from the first floor. It wasn't much—just a single desk and yellow walls—but upon meeting the founder, his unwavering passion quickly became evident. Building a trading platform, he exuded an unmistakable aura of uniqueness. In his eyes and fervent descriptions, you could sense that he cared deeply. Within a mere 10 minutes, it was evident that he had made a wholehearted commitment to this product, beyond monetary gains. His dedication emanated from that modest office space, and it was this very passion that sparked my interest in investing, regardless of my limited knowledge in the trading world.
Beyond the Money:
During those initial moments, it became clear that financial gain wasn't the sole motivator for the founder. He sought something more profound—an infusion of "smart money." Though he didn't explicitly express it, I understood that a mere injection of funds wouldn't suffice. To seize this opportunity, I needed to offer something beyond capital.
The Convincing Journey:
Persuading him to accept our investment wasn't a simple task. After all, he didn't necessarily require the funds. However, we recognized his need for advertising. Leveraging the business we had during that time in marketing field, we presented it as an added benefit. Simultaneously, we observed his technical prowess but identified his struggles in assembling a proficient management and financial team. With this insight, we set out to create a support system around him, including financial hygiene and all necessary reports, organized processes and even brought a new CEO who started to lead the company.
Building Success Against the Odds:
For the following three years, we faced numerous challenges. The initial investment didn't yield the expected results, leading us to pivot multiple times. Amidst uncertainty, the company teetered on the brink of failure. Yet, the passion of the founder and the unwavering determination of the team fueled their resilience. Finally, after countless iterations, the market fit was discovered. The company shifted its focus to building trading bots and algorithmic trading. They repositioned themselves, updated marketing materials, and began acquiring paying customers. Over next two years company grew to over hundred of employees, more than 600,000 accounts and billions of dollars in monthly volume of trades.
The Lessons Learned:
Reflecting on this journey, I realized two vital lessons. Firstly, while the idea holds significance, it is the execution that truly matters. Secondly, the ability to adapt and make strategic pivots is crucial. Founders must possess unwavering energy, generating fresh ideas, learning from past mistakes, and fearlessly launching new endeavors. Patience is key, as success rarely materializes overnight. And finally and most importantly, best opportunities are not those who will pitch me. I, as an investor, needs to find and pitch them.
The Role of Smart Money:
As an investor, I discovered that my role extended beyond financial contributions. I needed to offer "smart money"—expertise, networks, and support. Understanding how I could add value to the founder's vision became paramount. Moreover, patience was essential, as fostering growth and witnessing returns often required significant time investments. 5 years is a short period in the end, while it might even take 10+ years.
This success story serves as a testament to the extraordinary power of perseverance, passion, and strategic decision-making. Despite the odds, this company thrived, delivering a 40x return on investment. The journey was filled with triumphs, challenges, and indescribable emotions. As an angel investor, I cherish this experience and eagerly anticipate the opportunity to replicate it once again. After all, great investments take time, and the rewards are immeasurable.
P.S. This post was created automatically from a 10-minutes video recorded on Wois.io