Evan Baehr
Evan Loomis

Evan Baehr & Evan Loomis

Authors of Get Backed

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON November 24, 2015

Discussion

Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
Hi Product Hunt! Evan Loomis and Evan Baehr here, co-authors of Get Backed. We wrote Get Backed because we wanted to give founders what we wished we had when we we’re first raising money. Evan Baehr is the cofounder of Able, a tech company committed to growing the "fortune five million” with collaborative, low-interest loans. He's worked at the White House, a hedge fund, and Facebook and is a graduate of Princeton, Yale, and Harvard Business School. Evan Loomis is an entrepreneur and investor, and currently serves as the President of Clarion. Loomis also cofounded the home improvement store TreeHouse and the national angel investment group Wedgwood Circle, and is a mentor through the startup accelerators Techstars and Praxis. Excited to be answering your questions!
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What industries would you place your bets on in the next 10-20 years?
Evan Loomis
Evan Loomis@evanloomis · Co-Author, Get Backed
@jacqvon Okay, i'm going to be "guessing" here since nobody knows. My hunch is that these eight industries / sectors will be big in 20 years: 1. Artificial intelligence (Google is probably all over this stuff) 2. Robotics (check out the DARPA robotics awards) 3. Nanotech 4. Space travel (check out SpaceX) 5. Financial services (check out a company called Able Lending) 6. Life extension (anything that lengthens the average life span:-) 7. Quantum Computing (check out Rigetti Quantum Computing) 8. 3D printing anything (food, houses, cars, biological tissue, etc.) 9. Sustainable buildings and homes (check out TreeHouse in Austin, TX; we need to figure this one out for future generations....watch the movie Wall E from Pixar (haha)) That said, there's a ton of opportunity in most established industries. Don't get down if your idea is not on this list:-)
Evan Loomis
Evan Loomis@evanloomis · Co-Author, Get Backed
@jacqvon One more thought. Reid Hoffman suggested in this article that the best businesses embrace the Seven Deadly Sins - http://www.businessinsider.com/l... pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. That may work today, but the long arch of history will show that the biggest and best ideas will be the complete opposite of these. Look for redemptive ideas that embody the following characteristics: faith, hope, love (theological virtues) and natural virtues of justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude, as defined by Plato and Aristotle and adopted by the Church Fathers.
Arpit Gupta
Arpit Gupta@arpitgupta · Product Manager
Any insights on fundraising differences between software and hardware startups?
Evan Loomis
Evan Loomis@evanloomis · Co-Author, Get Backed
@arpitgupta the biggest differences we noticed during our interviews had to do with timing of "demos". The hardware startups showed the investors the device first and allowed them to experience it before pitching them on the merits of the idea. The software startups demoed their technology in the middle and/or at the end of an investor pitch. So, no major differences. There's a really cool company called Karma and Freight Farms that we wrote about in the book...they had cool approaches to raising money for a hardware company.
Ariella
Ariella@v_ariella · Founder/ Mychefit.com
@evanbaehr How to tell a story on a pitch deck and what are your favourite pitch decks that I can use as an inspiration? Thanks :)
Evan Loomis
Evan Loomis@evanloomis · Co-Author, Get Backed
@v_ariella Great question, Ariella! re stories: Great fundraisers are master storytellers. They develop their own versions of 4 basic story archetypes that answer 4 critical questions about their ventures: the origin story (why are you doing this?), the customer story (what problem are you solving?), the industry story (why now?), and the venture growth story (what have you done?). re pitchdecks: We included 15 pitch decks that you can use for inspiration in our book Get Backed. Those are some of our favorites.
Ariella
Ariella@v_ariella · Founder/ Mychefit.com
@evanloomis @v_ariella Thank you Evan. But I found it still very difficult to craft something that tells the story and yet in one slice with couple of words. This is the real challenge. Apart from slideshare, is there any other resource you recommend for inspiration? Thank you so very much
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@evanbaehr & @evanloomis Thanks for both being here today! This question is directed at both of you: During your career to date, what has been your a) most challenging moment and how did you overcome it? b) proudest moment and why? c) most surprising moment?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@ems_hodge Hardest moment: deciding to shut down my last company Outbox - right after raising a $5m investor round... we had a VERY tough call to make after a set of very discouraging data and getting shut down by the federal government... proudest moment was right after that when our investors said: keep all the money - and go build something awesome. Was the biggest vote of confidence I have ever received... other than my wife accepting my proposal!
Corley
Corley@corleyh · COO @ Product Hunt
@evanbaehr & @evanloomis thanks for joining! Can you both share a defining moment in your life and how it shaped your perspective and who you are today?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@corleyh I was once in a meeting convened by a billionaire - I had pitched him on an idea and asked him for his feedback... he said: come to lunch with a few friends of mine. So we had a small lunch, brainstormed for an hour, and then he asked: "did you acheive everything you wanted to at this lunch?" I said, "well, yes - thank you for the great feedback..." He said: "how about $250,000?" Stumbling around, I said: well, YES that would help! This taught me: (1) ask for what you need - or you'll not likely get it; (2) if you want money, ask for advice; if you want advice, ask for money... and (3) increase your luck surface area ! (a concept from the book) which is really about getting to know more people, connecting with them in authentic ways, and staying front of mind for them.
Arpit Gupta
Arpit Gupta@arpitgupta · Product Manager
@evanbaehr @corleyh great story. Did you negotiate the terms of that $250k or you were confident that it was going to come with the standard terms?
Yamillet Rivas
Yamillet Rivas@yamilletrivas · Associate Director, Labs Relationship
In reading all of the comments on the main page, it seems that a lot of people are focusing on products etc, but what if what you feel at your core is more around helping other human beings connect to their raw nature. More about living an authentic life and not so much about a product. Would this book be good for people who are looking to sell the idea that intention and value base living is important in order for people to realize their true potential?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@yamilletrivas Great idea here, Yamillet. I like where you are going. As a side project I've helped a few dozen people build 'personal narratives' - these consist of the basic building blocks of any narrative: where have you been, where you are going, how you are going to get there, and why it matters. To me these are the components of any narrative - whether personal or corporate. I think the key missing component for most people is the WHY; this can serve as an elegant invitation to another person to buy into your own personal vision. You should tell and share your own story such that it motivates, inspires, and invites others to join in with you. Believe it or not, I have actually created a 'personal pitch deck' for myself - applying these principles to my own life. Some things aren't a great fit (e.g. do I personally have product market fit? uhhhhhh... ), but it's still helpful. I love the direction you are going - and hope you''ll keep keep asking these questions.
Kate
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
Who are some of the people that have had the most impact on your life? (Stories, please!)
Evan Loomis
Evan Loomis@evanloomis · Co-Author, Get Backed
@katesegrin Hi Kate - this may be "long" but there have been a lot of people that shaped me at different points in my life...for the better. I'm a firm believer that we are the "average" of our closest friends and that we all need mentorship from older / people. That said, here's my short list: Mom and Dad for always saying “go for it” and funding every crazy startup idea I’ve had – from lawn mowing and pressure washing – and even wedding videography (what the heck was I thinking? I was terrible). Former President H.W. Bush invited me to serve as his assistant during college. Watching him genuinely care for people and write countless handwritten notes humbled me, and helped me understand why he was one of the most powerful people in the world. Former Secretary Robert Gates and Jim Olsen, two former cold war spies and professors at Texas A&M University, casually suggested that I look into investment banking post graduation. Their counsel changed the course of my life. Ian Sugarman, now Vice Chairman of Retail Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley, gave me my first job on Wall Street, meticulously taught me how to create pitch decks, and helped me realize that I love people more than cubicles and Microsoft Excel. Scott Erwin an American hero and friend, who got shot in Iraq, almost died, and lived to do an Ironman and swim the English Channel. He constantly inspires me to dream bigger and keep going when you get knocked down. Dr. Steven Garber and Mark Rodgers, my former colleagues at Wedgwood Circle, have committed their lives to the advancement of the “common good”.
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@katesegrin I had a pretty epic first meeting at Facebook: I was in a meeting with Sheryl Sandberg literally on a tour... at the end of the meeting I asked a few questions. She came across the room after her talk and said: you should work at facebook. And I was like: really? A few weeks later she introduced me to Mark Zuckerberg saying, "Mark - meet Evan - he's the only person I have ever hired because he asked good questions." Moral of the story? raise your hand!
Kate
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
What was one pivotal moment in your career and in your personal life?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@katesegrin when I was a second year in b-school... a dear friend @willydavisjr said to me: we need to start a company together... and you are the right guy b/c no one else I know could I trust to take care of my family if something ever happened... that was an invitation of a lifetime, which has yielded the craziest journey I could ever imagine.
TheIndy Wholesaler
TheIndy Wholesaler@indywholesaler · Entrepreneur, Real Estate/Business Dev
@evanbaehr Where is the best place to find investors for an already proven franchise? I'd be opening some as a franchisee. The majority of the financing will be through SBA but we need investors for the initial capital. I'm in Indianapolis and venture capital is in short supply here in Indiana.
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@indywholesaler Well done! Congrats on getting things running. So an easy offer here is to chat with an underwriter on my team at Able Lending - check out our site here: www.ablelending.com - you can book a call with our team here: https://www.ablelending.com/ask-... We might not be a fit... but they can give you some direction. Early stage equity in general can be tough - but there are some great investor groups that do financing. Also, I'm assuming that the franchise does not have financing options? Probably the easiest money to close would be from investors who have backed this franchise before. The person most likely to do your deal is someone who has done a very similar deal very recently.
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@evanbaehr Evan: if you were to tell me - your real life alter ego - 3 pieces of advice ... what would they be?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@evanbaehr Great question! And thanks for asking.... so.... : 1. do the hard things first - always. It is amazing how much mental tax is exerted when a silly task - like say writing a note to your grandmother - is delayed and delayed. Your brain gives it so much power, which creates so much distraction in your mind. Do the hard things first - and then let the 'easy' things be your reward. 2. develop routines and stick to them - new tools are great, except when you pick them up every few weeks. Pick a routine and some tools for things like email, scheduling, reading, etc., and stay disciplined in executing them. Just go reread Pressfield again: http://www.amazon.com/The-War-Ar... 3. get coaching: the best athletes in the world need coaches - to be the best husband, founder, leader, etc., you too need a coach.
Jeff Umbro
Jeff Umbro@jeffumbro · CEO of The podglomerate
Can you tell us the logic behind using a book as a vehicle to tell your story? I'm a big proponent of the book as a business card and case study, but I'm wondering why you chose this when you have so many other mediums to choose from?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@jeffumbro Books can serve so many purposes: monitor stand, scrap paper for my 3 year old, prop leg up of wobbly table--I mean the uses are endless!!!! Show me a blog that can do that! :) But fo real - great question: we had considered two other media: (1) blog posts and (2) web video (of thinks like pitches and feedback). We are still creating that kind of content - but for us the book was important for a few reasons: 1. for some reasons books still 'mean something' to some people - this can matter for conferences, teaching, speaking, etc - it establishes a level of credibility that blogs cannot 2. reach: working with Harvard gave us great reach through their and other networks; we simply didn't have our own organic traffic - so this 'publishing event' created lots of that for us 3. a physical artifact is symbolic of the paper prototyping we actually do in real life; indeed our first few hours of creating a pitch deck is done with white paper and sharpies; a book helps provide that physical connection. 4. book as visual media: the book is white, landscape, and (we hope) beautiful - we really wanted something that might sit out on a coffee table or on an elegant shelf - and spark a conversation. 5. physical versus digital: some great research is out there about how the brain processes words on paper versus the screen - and in particular the location of words and ideas in a physical book. I'm pretty confident that a reader will get way less out of our kindle edition than our print edition. I can still tell you this: my son (6) flips as fast as he can to page 70 - which he remembers - as it has a huge picture of a tiger on it. No such luck on the kindle version. Just a few ideas for you.
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@evanbaehr @jeffumbro BUT WAIT: you are a book marketing guru - you tell me!!! Why did I do this? :)
Evan Loomis
Evan Loomis@evanloomis · Co-Author, Get Backed
I started mowing my neighbors lawn at the age of 10 (child labor???) and that taught me some early life lessons about hard work, doing a great job (not just good), and customer service. Early work gave me an itch for entrepreneurship.
Pablo Villegas
Pablo Villegas @pablitocasasa · Triadu
@evanbarhr & @evanloomis I want to listen your opinion about start your business in undeveloped markets such as Latam? And how willing are investors to invest in these markets?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@pablitocasasa My very limited understanding is that the Mexican and Brazilian markets are fairly developed but everywhere else is pretty nascent. I'd probably start by looking up investors on angellist by your geography. I'd start by just messaging all of them directly and asking to get coffee. After that, there are some national level investment groups (at least in Mexico that I know of) - which would be eager to hear what you are working on. Finally, you could look up local Kauffman fellows who work directly in building up capital markets. Final thought: check out GEN: http://wearegen.co/gew
TheIndy Wholesaler
TheIndy Wholesaler@indywholesaler · Entrepreneur, Real Estate/Business Dev
Thank you for the feedback Evan! Franchise does not have financing options. We already have $1.5 million committed of the $2.5 million needed. I just sent a message to your team at Able.
Ariella
Ariella@v_ariella · Founder/ Mychefit.com
Well, I have just purchased the book and I am super excited
Evan Loomis
Evan Loomis@evanloomis · Co-Author, Get Backed
@v_ariella Wow! Awesome, thank you. Please send us your feedback after you've read through it. My bias: people that start companies are heroes, so here's to you, Ariella!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What is your favourite takeaway from writing the book?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@ems_hodge I have always loved the line: it doesn't exist until it is written down. So for me the process of writing the book was a lot about crystallizing my own thinking on the subject. I use OmmWriter - see this: http://www.ommwriter.com/ - and it helps me get in the zone of writing, which I find very fulfilling. Also: I love people - and this project was a great opportunity to interview, learn from, and then celebrate so many extraordinary people. I'd do that all day if I could! Thanks for asking! I'll end with this piece of advice from a writer friend of mine: he sets two alarms every morning--one next to his bed and another next to his coffee maker, for 5 minutes later. He also sets his automatic coffee maker. So the first alarm goes off - he gets out of bed... and then he has to get down to the coffee maker before the second, very loud alarm goes off (which would wake his kids up). Good news is that fresh coffee awaits him! He wrote a very successful book in just one year by waking up an hour early - on top of a demanding job and children!
Evan Loomis
Evan Loomis@evanloomis · Co-Author, Get Backed
@ems_hodge Hi Emily - Working with Evan Baehr was a ton of fun -- he's an exceptional human being (smarts, character, instincts) in every way! My takeaway from the book: Do things that matter with people you love.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey both! Great success launching the book on Product Hunt - it had a great reception! So I'm going to re-surface the question @tuckermax asked in the book post: "What mistake do you see founders make the most, and whats the easiest fix?"
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@bentossell thanks, ben! we've written a bit on this but here are a few off the top of my head: 1. using a pitch deck as arsenal to win a debate.... instead use to invite the investor into a conversation 2. being too focused on the raise and the deal - and ignoring the relationship 3. going dark when things aren't going well. too often founders are embarrassed that fundraising is taking so long. the reality is that it takes on average 6 months to raise. And for the companies we profile, many closed under 5% of total pitches - meaning: pitch 100 to close 5. 4. failing to generate urgency: you pitch, you say thanks, you wait... and nothing. key to find a way to generate urgency so that the investors have a reason to act. 5. pitching the wrong people: Mike Maples gave me 2 pieces of advice: A. only pitch people that have written a similar check (meaning size and valuation) in the last 12 months; if they haven't, it's very unlikely you can get the deal done. So pick the right funds. B. Only meet with people who can write you a check. Said another way: do everything you can to meet with founders; there is basically no way an associate can get a deal done.
Arpit Gupta
Arpit Gupta@arpitgupta · Product Manager
@evanbaehr any stories of founders who managed to raise funds while still doing their full time jobs?
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@arpitgupta It can be VERY hard to raise money while still in a job. It is a bit of a chicken/egg deal, but investors will reasonably think: "if this founder hasn't even quit his/her own job, then they must not be very committed - so I won't be either." If you cannot financially make it work, then you should at least commit to quitting immediately upon funding. Investors need to see that you are committed; it's hard to show that when still on someone else's payroll.
DevelAppMe
DevelAppMe@develappme · Co-Founder DevelAppMe
We are a self-funded SaaS, Mobile-App Development company. We are SaaS so we can "fund" our own products, and eventually move out of that realm when one of our apps take off.. Would you recommend going down this path (building apps for other businesses) or go seek funding for one of our own products... Does this make sense? -Clayton Nedza
Evan Baehr
Evan Baehr@evanbaehr · cofounder, able
@develappme CLAYTON! Will ping you separately.