David Smooke

@DavidSmooke

How the Problem of Your Current Business Can Lead To Your Next Business

Founder Interview

Disclosure: AngelLoop, the startup to investor communications platform, has previously sponsored Hacker Noon.
Read the first part of this interview: The Entrepreneurial Journey of AngelLoop CEO Igor Feerer

David: You left a company you founded, TranscribeMe, in August 2015 just as it was passing 100k in MRR. Did you leave the business in a good place? Why was then the time to move on?

Igor Feerer: Yeah, absolutely. My job was as a CFO. I was a co-founder initially, in which case I got to wear many hats, but then eventually I became the CFO of the company and it’s just …

I’m an entrepreneur man. I got a spring in me that makes me want to do more entrepreneurial stuff, and dealing with minutia on a day to day basis, it’s not really what I wanted to do.

And the business was about four and a half years old when I left, it was in pretty good hands. My co-founder CEO took over, they hired a CFO, and I got to move on to AngelLoop. Because ultimately, one of the funner parts about being CFO of TranscribeMe was managing our investors.

Yeah. Is that where the beginning of the idea came whenever you were getting all this business value out of managing this large investor base for your last company?

Yeah, absolutely. God, man, I hate to even really remember the kind of stuff I had to go through in order to get these investor updates out, but they’re definitely well worth it. I guess, to go back to that place…

I had to chase after my team, get any kind of relevant performance metrics together, consolidate that, then put that into nicely formatted documents. Find an email or find all their emails, put that into a mass email, send out the email to them, and then just watch as the replies come in. It kind of became daunting to manage.

So, I started looking for a platform to help me manage our investors. Ironically, nothing existed. It was just, we were so prone to using antiquated methods in our space that nobody really cared to even come up with a solution. So, I saw a lot of interest in platformizing what I was doing with my investors and giving founders an ability to really nurture their own investor relationships and help them drive more sales, more hirings, more money in the door. There’s a lot of value investors bring to the table. So, I found that if there’s not a solution out there other than antiquated and disjointed methods, you have to have a multi-sided platform. Our ecosystem is growing, and people in it want to help each other scale.

Could you share some of the numbers and perspective about how you see the angel investing community ecosystem today?

Yeah, certainly. So, on average, I guess on an average basis, investors in the Angel community invest about 30 billion dollars into roughly 70,000 companies, 60% of which are new deals. And then on the VC side — and this is purely US numbers — but on the VC side, you have about 4,500 deals. It’s a much smaller ecosystem, but obviously they write bigger checks.

Angels definitely take their cue from VCs, which is kind of why you saw a slow down over the last couple of years. But nonetheless, I have a really good suspicion that the market’s coming back, especially if you look at the economy today, it’s booming, I have a feeling a lot of these IPOs are going to prompt more businesses to start up, not to mention create more millionaire angel investors to invest in our ecosystem. But the other thing I see as a really interesting point is; money is being repatriated. That’s, a big freaking deal. And that money is definitely going to be used to invest in the startup ecosystem, if anything. It’s mostly going to be devoted to R&D and big companies can either, what is it? Build or buy. And so that’s definitely going to spur innovation, that’s going to spur a lot more entrepreneurs coming into the ecosystem.

So, I’m really looking forward to how that all plays out. But AngelLoop, as a source, it helps companies nurture their investor relationships and really get their investors, well, being on the same side of the table with them, helping them scale and build out their business.

Could you share a bit about what your internal AngelLoop account is like? As an entrepreneur and as an investor, how are you gaining value from your own product?

Yeah, certainly. We closed $750,000 over the last year and a half. We picked up 12 investors. Interesting enough, six of the investors from my prior venture, TranscribeMe, came on board to AngelLoop because they too saw the value AngelLoop was creating.

But aside from that, it just helps me track our performance, so you could see where our cash is, I know what our burn rate looks like, I know how much time we have left, we’re tracking performance figures from different departments. So, our marketing department has their own metrics that they’re tracking, our sales department has their own, so it’s just easy when everybody kind of has a central place to go and drop off their numbers and now then render all that information to nice charts that are pretty insightful.

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