By: Eddie Frausto
When Julia MacGregor-Peralta, the serial entrepreneur, and founder of Global Safety Management (a company passionate about helping companies safely handle chemicals) speaks about venture capital – you know you are swimming with a shark and about to hear one amazing entrepreneur’s journey.
Part One: To VC or Not to VC: Venture Capital Investment vs. Boot-strapping
In the first installment of the two-part series of Shark Tank, Julia starts off the event by engaging the audience with a poll to determine their stage along the entrepreneurial journey. On this livestream event, only a quarter have a plan in place, and around 15% have started to fund their ideas. She acknowledged that starting a business is hard, and that raising money is the hardest aspect of them all. Julia said, “only 2.2% of success in raising venture capital went to women or minority founders, people of color and women have the hardest time thriving in business.” She shocks everyone by sharing this lesson because, no one is expecting this very high failure rate. “Buckle your seatbelt: you are in for a long, wild ride!”
Throughout the series Julia reveals many other lessons she learned over the years as a serial entrepreneur. She constantly kept saying to get comfortable with “networking, networking, networking”. Attending numerous events such as pitching competitions, fundraising workshops, and think tank sessions is how she recommends up-and-coming entrepreneurs get their name out into the world. However, she cautions, “you will kiss a lot of frogs. No, not literal frogs, but you will get a lot of rejections when pitching your business idea.” Julia also recommends that you get to a “no” quickly from your potential investors when possible. As a result, you can invest more time into your business instead of chasing prospects who are on the fence about your idea, or who are unsure if they should even invest at all.
Part Two: Playing Nice in the Sandbox; Relationship Management in a Venture Capital Backed Company
In the second installment of the series, Julia explored the idea of establishing secure relationships, culture, and ways to sustain your business.
The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a very important strategy to deploy to get an investor to connect with you. By making yourself not too available, the investor will feel that you’re an important up-and-coming business that they need to invest in. Before an investment was made into your company, you were the boss making decisions alone. After an investment, they (the investors) are the boss, depending on the percentage of their investment. They are your partner, however, you should be the navigator when it comes to making decisions on the company’s future and where you want to go with your business.
Julia leaves no stone unturned when she shared her final lesson of the series. She went as far as to tell us a story of how she prepared for every board meeting and always spoke with confidence. She advised that everyone has leverage in such situations. Know that you cannot control everyone, but by managing expectations in your relationships you will minimize doubts among your board, and confirm that you are the right fit for your company. “Good leaders never say “I”, they always say “we.” Julia said as she concluded the panel.
This event was made possible by coordinated efforts of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (ENI), LaunchGSU and the Georgia State Honors College.