On April 7th, 2017 Manny Fernandez was on an investment panel at TiE New York 2017 Conference celebrating and promoting entrepreneurship success stories and latest developments bringing in keynote speakers from the venture, finance and start-up sectors and complement that with notable figures from local government, media and philanthropy. TiE is a global network that has mentored 8,000+ startups and over $200 billion of wealth generated. The theme for 2017 conference was Moonshot: Entrepreneurs Solving Our Greatest Problems and DreamFunded.com was mentioned as the new way of investing. The panel was opened with the question about the difference between crowdfunding and equity crowdfunding, and the speakers addressed the potential of equity crowdfunding. I think that the vision of Manny, and others that I have interacted with in that space, is quite grand and ambitions are high, and I expect equity crowdfunding to be more substantive part of our capital markets as we move forward,” says Michael Zuppone, Chair of Paul Hastings Securities and Capital Markets Practice Group.
DreamFunded features a new type of venture model,” says Manny Fernandez when asked about the business model and potential of DreamFunded. The panel was turned to the audience when attendees asked insightful questions about equity crowdfunding, deal flow and term structure differences across investment opportunities. Other topics discussed on the panel included an overview of capital markets, issues with entrepreneurship and capital raising process.
About TiE - TiE is a non-profit, global community welcoming entrepreneurs from all over the world. We believe in the power of ideas to change the face of entrepreneurship and growing business through our five pillars; mentoring, networking, education, incubating and funding. TiE was founded in 1992 by a group of successful entrepreneurs and is currently the world’s largest entrepreneurial organization. With a variety of programs and a strong member base of investors, entrepreneurs and corporate executives, we are reaching out and fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs.
On March 18th, 2017, Manny Fernandez, a best-selling author and the first Latino investor to be featured as an investor "Shark" on nationwide TV show, was the keynote speaker on March 18th The Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Awards and Recognition Gala. Fernandez received a State of California Senate’s Certificate of Recognition, honoring Fernandez’s commitment to Solano community and its members, sign by Senator Bill Dodd and presented by Doriss Panduro, President of SHCC. Other attendees included Assemblyman Tim Grayson, Mayor of Fairfield Harry T. Price and Superior Court Judge. Fernandez is no stranger to being honored; he was awarded Shark of the Year by California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce earlier in the month and has been named SF Angel Investor of the year in 2014. The central topic of the keynote speech was the access to capital and how can the Foot in the Silicon Valley Program get more Hispanic businesses funded. Fernandez talked about increasing Hispanic population, fastest growing Hispanic business segment and the fact that only 2% of the companies that get funded in Silicon Valley are Hispanic. Manny touched upon what DreamFunded does, the companies that got funded and how can The Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and its members can come together to back the person within the community. The event recognized businesses and business leaders, as well as outstanding students in both high school and college, viewed by most as the next generation of local business leaders.
On March 3rd, 2017, DreamFunded CEO, Manny Fernandez, has received “Hispanic Shark of the Year” award from California State Treasurer John Chiang and California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (CHCC). The award honors Mr. Fernandez’s entrepreneurial spirit, deep understanding of the angel investment landscape, and innate leadership abilities. San Francisco, CA — During the 5th Annual Economic Summit organized by CHCC, DreamFunded Co-Founder and CEO, Manny Fernandez was recognized as “Hispanic Shark of the Year” by John Chiang, State of California Treasurer.
Manny Fernandez is a Silicon Valley angel investor, serial entrepreneur and investor "Shark" on CNBC's TV Show, Make Me A Millionaire Inventor. Manny has been featured on several mainstream media outlets such as CNBC’s Squawk Box, Inc. Magazine, Forbes and more. As a successful entrepreneur and angel investor, he sets the bar high for other aspiring entrepreneurs that lack the insider access to the financial network.
Fernandez founded DreamFunded - an equity crowdfunding platform that allows everyone to back startups and small businesses that they love. "Recent economic and political shifts are impacting our communities and creating barriers for Latino owned businesses. Latino entrepreneurs are California's backbone, and the engine driving economic growth and job creation. Through advocacy, education and economic development, the CHCC provides our business community with the resources to thrive in an uncertain climate", shares Frank Montes, Chairman, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Manny Fernandez is the first Latino angel investor in the history to be featured as an investor shark on a major TV network, he was on the premier episode of CNBC’s ‘Make me a Millionaire Inventor’,” says Juan P. Garcia, CHCC Deputy Director. During his acceptance speech, Fernandez said regarding equity crowdfunding, “This is what I am bringing to you, it is for us to win, it is us coming together, organizing for private capital. I have seen it, I know how it works, I have the knowledge, but I need others who want to use it to raise money from their community.”
Summary: More than 30 investors pledged to increase access to capital for science and tech entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, including by sharing tips for raising funds.
Today we shared highlights of the President’s work to stimulate and support entrepreneurship in America over the last eight years. Entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth and job creation and supporting our science and technology entrepreneurs, particularly ensuring entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and geographies have a shot to build and grow science and tech companies, is critical to ensuring we as a Nation continue to lead on innovation.
One of the critical pieces of many science and tech entrepreneurs’ journey is raising the capital needed to get an invention or innovation to market or a business off the ground. Yet for many science and tech entrepreneurs, especially first-time entrepreneurs, the process can be daunting and filled with new language, networks, and procedures. This week, a group of more than 30 organizations who fund and support early stage science and tech entrepreneurs came together to pledge to create more transparency and inclusiveness in their funding practices. These organizations represent more than 11,000 investors deploying more than $800 million in early stage science and technology investment dollars across the country. We talked to several investors who signed the pledge to get their best advice for science and tech entrepreneurs going through the fundraising journey as they launch and grow their companies. Read on for their tips and advice.
And if you’re an investor, we encourage you to share your tips and advice publicly as well so that more science and tech entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can take their best shot at growing and launching their companies.
Build Your Network
Many of the science and tech investors we heard from shared that funding opportunities generally come together based on a personal connection rather than a cold email, which means that building and growing your network is a key step in seeking investment capital. For entrepreneurs who aren’t already plugged into the investment ecosystem when they have their idea or launch their venture, networking can become a significant part of your job as a founder. Liz Roberts of MassMutual Foundation-supported Valley Venture Mentors suggested that science and tech entrepreneurs consider finding “a great, inclusive incubator or accelerator program that will help you build your network” and “will get you exposure to mentors and investors who can help your venture grow.” Kerri Beers of TechStars urged tech entrepreneurs to participate in meetups and events “in their local community” that are targeted at entrepreneurs in order to grow their exposure and connections. Diane Henry of Rogue Capital Advisors described this as “spending time in the natural habitat of investors.”
Henry urged science and tech entrepreneurs to “do their homework” since many investors publicly share what they invest in, and won’t even consider pitches that don’t conform to their focus areas. Nick Moran at New Stack Ventures advised that, as they go about networking with potential investors, science and tech entrepreneurs also “cut through the noise” by figuring out what they have in common with potential investors and connecting on those personal interests to make themselves more memorable. Aaron Walker from Camelback Ventures shared that he sees what entrepreneurs are talking about on social media and pays special attention when his organization is mentioned, often leading to companies and entrepreneurs ending up “on our prospect list.”
There are some very well-known science and tech investors out there, but they represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to access to capital. Rather than focusing on the small subset of investors you’ve heard of already, Tamra Johnson of 79 Studios pointed out that “there are a lot of people who care about bringing capital to diverse founders, and your time will be better spent getting to know them than trying to change organizations and institutions that have been in place for decades.”
Leverage Your Network
Once you’ve built your network and identified who you might want to meet with, it’s time to leverage your network to help make connections. Angela Lee of 37 Angels advised finding “connections you have in common” with that person on social media and then “make it really easy for your network to help you” by pre-writing introduction emails and being very clear about why you are asking for help to make the connection. Several investors mentioned that large percentages of their portfolio companies came through network connections and recommendations. Investors also pointed out that they look to accelerators and incubators to discover talent and companies that might be outside of their personal network.
Do Your Homework
It’s not just the ‘who’ but the ‘what’ of the deal that matters, too. Understanding term sheets can be challenging and you don’t want to be at a disadvantage when you’re at the negotiating table. Before raising money, Jonathan Towers from Arctaris Royalty Partners suggested science and tech entrepreneurs who are less familiar with finance consider “taking a course at their local community college, joining an entrepreneurial networking group, or asking private equity or venture capitalists in their region for coffee” so that they are best equipped to negotiate good terms.
Once you’re in conversations with investors that are a good fit for your science or technology company, it’s time to think through the mechanics of the deal. Early financing is rarely the last round of financing that a science or tech entrepreneur needs when growing a company. While raising a round at a startup it can be hard to think ahead to how things will look a year or two down the line when your company might only be a year or two old. But Lee cautioned: “Ask for enough money to get to the next round of financing.” Not doing so means “less of a marketing budget to go after customers, and less of a buffer if you get it wrong (and guess what: 93 percent of successful companies pivot). Ask for enough to get you through 18-24 months.”
These tips are only the tip of the iceberg! Building and growing a science or technology company is extremely hard work. As the President said when he proclaimed November National Entrepreneurship Month, we’re so excited to “celebrate the entrepreneurs who serve their communities and bolster our economy, and we pledge our support for them in their pursuit of the ideas and innovations of tomorrow.” If you’re an entrepreneur or considering starting a science or technology company, we’re rooting for you!
Laura Weidman Powers is a Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy
CNBC’S ‘Make Me A Millionaire Investors’ Returns For Season Two On Thursday, October 6th At 10PM ET/PT
Hosts Deanne Bell and George Zaidan Help Inventors Take Their Products to the Next Level and Give Them a Chance to Secure a Potential Investment
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. – September 19, 2016 — CNBC’s original primetime series “Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” is back for season two on Thursday, October 6 at 10PM ET/PT with eight new one-hour episodes. Hosted by engineering experts Deanne Bell and George Zaidan, “Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” is on a mission to find the best inventions never made, and bring them to market.
In each episode, Bell and Zaidan scour the country looking for amazing ideas they’re convinced can make big money. They’ll track down the inventors and give them a second chance to bring their ideas and dreams to life. The inventors will be given the resources and help they need to take their products from concept to reality; they’ll prototype, test and perfect their inventions while preparing for the biggest pitch of their lives.
“Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” – Episode 201 – Life Savers Premiere Episode: Airing Thursday, October 6 at 10pm ET/PT
In the season premiere, two inventions with one lofty goal: save lives. Deanne meets an emergency nurse who has invented the “Goldilocks Valves,” a device that could revolutionize the way nurses and paramedics perform CPR. While George teams up with a retired firefighter who has spent the past sixteen years developing the “Aqua Blaster,” a harness designed to make fighting fires safer and easier for those on the front line.