It’s my profound pleasure to welcome you into the world of M51 – a non VC that invests in people we believe in. In a sentence – our purpose is to leave everyone we meet better off than when we met them. In a blog post – here goes.
The general rule of thumb is that every investor is different, and looks for different elements to invest in. That sounds as a good place to start as any, so I’ll offer a brief background that explains what we do and why we’re doing what we are doing.
At M51, what we quickly found out was that we are successful in things that we LOVE to do, which is selling and investing in certain people that lead certain companies. It almost comes naturally to us so we asked ourselves: what are we doing that works?
For starters, we don’t invest randomly. We invest in people who are fearless, passionate and creative. What do we do with those people? Perhaps our slogan will explain it best: we automate entrepreneurial success. Why does that matter and has everything to do with our way? Because it effectively highlights the four underlying approaches/strategies as the primary reasons for why we do what we do:
- Do we believe in the entrepreneurs?
- Does our business work in synergy with their business?
- Can we automate on a technology basis and make their ideas scalable worldwide?
- Can our network of support take their ideas to the next level?
That would be the template we use for deciding who’s worthy of our time and resources.
Do we believe in the entrepreneurs?
The first filter, as I like to call it, to the M51 way is a bit of a cliche but it’s 100% true – human resources or better yet – M51 people.
The reason I am successful in my life is that people believed in me. I won’t go and throw around senseless predictions where I would be without their support but let’s just say I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now. You see, almost everybody has an amazing idea at some point in their lives. Ideas are a cheap commodity today. It’s about the delivery and the type of people that deliver: passion, competitiveness, enthusiasm (especially about your own pain point you want to solve), creativeness, problem-solving, and the key to it all – trust.
Now that I look back, I had people investing in me when I didn’t have a really good business plan or a tight presentation. They believed in me as an entrepreneur, even if my idea wasn’t groundbreaking. They knew I would take care of their money, they knew I would fight for myself and do what it takes to come out on top. I placed less importance on percentages and more on success. I wasn’t trying to maximize, I was just trying to make my dream happen. And THAT’S what we look for in entrepreneurs.
Does our business work in synergy with their business?
In order to evaluate that we have some specific tests. Being interested in investing in a particular business comes with the danger of falling in love with that business because you really like their product. As an investor, we’re looking for businesses that are the right fit in terms of people. For example, some people don’t like competitiveness – we love it. Some don’t like people who are labeled as ‘bad boys’ or unstable – we love those as we have some creative ways to check the balance.
Problem-solving is extremely important because you can have a mediocre pitch but if your problem-solving skills and creativity are through the roof, you’re going places. The reality is that almost every startup on the planet has pivoted at some point of its existence, and probably more than once. Apart from knowing how to deliver your business, one of the most important things is to know how to pivot and change because of the market, business model, scale, timing, and so on. The landscape is really intense and oftentimes, being adaptive is more important than knowing how to execute your exact plan.
When evaluating opportunities, it’s important to be in the right frame of mind and closely align the two sides. What many entrepreneurs seem to forget is that it’s not just the idea we get excited about but also people. In fact, I’d like to think credible entrepreneurs can turn a decent idea into a winning one, but a great idea can’t make a lousy entrepreneur a winner. Investing is fairly easy, but doing it successfully isn’t the same walk in the park.
Can we automate on a technology basis and make their ideas scalable worldwide?
We know how to make manual processes automated and how to make a business super scalable on a global level. I refer to it as our tech advantage and often use the example of marketing to paint the full picture of it. Imagine doing a campaign and A/B testing that campaign. You take a look at campaign management and see what happens with data. You open up more campaigns, building up the budget in the process, fine-tune lead conversion, build a new funnel… Now imagine automating the entire process. All the people you hired for this stuff no longer need to be there. More importantly, you can also scale the way you want to so that one campaign manager can now manage 40000 campaigns if need be.
The point is, if someone has a really good idea – heck, even just a good idea – and we see it makes money, we can turn it into a global business and build on it.
Can our network of support take their ideas to the next level?
That would be the first part of the automation approach. However, there are cases where our tech advantage doesn’t provide an edge the way we hope for, meaning automation won’t help the growth. That’s when our ever-important assets like the financial structure, lawyers, board of directors, and other companies in our network that can help with intros and advice kick in and take the leading role – we can automate their success as entrepreneurs by providing full access to all the assets that we have.
At this point, we don’t need to meet anyone unless we’re really curious about the idea. Generally speaking, if the people we’re aiming to invest in don’t have one of those two attributes, they’re not an appealing proposition to M51. There’d be some interest at best, but the percentage that we would invest in would be very low.
Adding a layer of automation to any process is critical to our success. Our ability to take an idea or business and see it scale on a global level by automating it with all of our tech, knowledge, and connections simplifies everything on route to a successful and effective operation. In a nutshell, we can take something good and turn it into something amazing.
Hopefully, I managed to illustrate what M51 is all about and the values we hold in the highest regard. No fancy secrets of leadership and success – just a bunch of like minded entrepreneurs looking for someone or something to believe in next.