Rob Vickery Cult/Tech Podcast Transcript

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Lee Schneider: It’s the Cult Tech Podcast, I’m Lee Schneider. Joining us today is Rob Vickery, co-founder of Stage Venture Partners. Stage is a seed fund based in Los Angeles that invests in software startups with creative technology. Hey, Rob, welcome to the podcast.

Rob Vickery: Hi, how are you?

Lee: I’m doing very well, excited to do this. You guys are risk takers among risk takers, you invest in new platforms. Define that a little bit [00:00:30] for me, what would you call a new platform?

Rob: Yeah, so being in the seed stage, that means we’re investing in companies that have typically got like a minimum, some sort of a minimum viable product and maybe just the very early stages of traction. Now what that typically means are that some of these companies, they fall into two buckets. The first bucket is that they might be in what we call the frontier technology space, which are things that probably will live in [00:01:00] two or three years in …

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How Do Angels Learn to Be Angels?

This is an excerpt from my newest book The Angel Playbook: An Essential Guide for Entrepreneurs and Angel Investors

SoGal Ventures is the first female-led millennial venture capital firm. It was founded by Pocket Sun and Elizabeth Galbut, Look at the stats, and you will see why Sun and Galbut are pioneers.

According to a working paper published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, in 2014 almost 60 percent of companies in the world had no female board members. About 50 percent of companies worldwide had no female C-suite executives, and fewer than 5 percent had a female CEO. But this is not just about gender parity, which is important from a social perspective, it’s also about profitability, which is important to the health of any company. When the Peterson Institute team examined the profitable firms in their sample, they discovered that women in corporate leadership added to the profitability of the company. Even having just a 30 percent female share of leadership translated into a 15 percent increase in profitability.

Interestingly, it’s not just about getting women in …

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Will Crowdfunding Replace Angel Investing?

From dating to gambling to getting a degree, it seems there’s little that can’t be done online these days. But would you guess another thing you can now do online is fund early-stage businesses with your own money, and receive equity in return?

Startups must get their capital from somewhere, and two significant sources of it are angel investing and online crowdfunding. Angel investing – when affluent individuals invest their own money into startup companies in exchange for equity – has been in practice since the late 1970s, but saw a resurgence post-2007 when the recession ate up traditional capital. Online crowdfunding, on the other hand – when startups raise funding from a large number of people via an online platform – is a form of “alternative finance” that’s rapidly growing and evolving. So much so, in fact, that there’s talk it will surpass or even replace angel investing.

Is such a shift possible? Crowdfunding was valued at $34 billion in 2015, and is projected to surpass both angel investing and venture capital this year. In …

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Get the Guns Out of Your Portfolio

500 Words on Thursday | Written by Lee Schneider 

People have the right to bear arms, but I don’t want guns in my stock portfolio, particularly in the 529 college savings plan that I am starting for my youngest son.

Why should we fund his college education with profits from gun makers like Smith & Wesson?

From a financial perspective, it makes a lot of sense to invest in Smith & Wesson (returning 16% over the last decade), Kraft Foods (highly-profitable maker of addictive crap that is killing us), Philip Morris (selling cigarettes to kids overseas; highly profitable) and Chevon (nice-talking oil company that is still killing the planet while providing solid returns to investors.) Strum, Ruger & Company, a gun maker located just a short car ride away from the Newton school shootings, returned 48.5% to investors over the past year.

In the world of investments big returns are good. It shouldn’t matter how you make a killing in the market, right?  Well, I think it no longer makes sense to fund a child’s …

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