Jared Faltys is a founding member of Northeast Venture Capital, LLC located in Norfolk, Nebraska, as well as a Partner/Accountant with Christensen Brozek Faltys PC in Norfolk, Nebraska. Apart from being an ambitious entrepreneur, Jared is a successful and experienced angel investor. We asked him some questions to learn more of his thoughts on angel investing:
1) What interested you in angel investing?
There were many things that initially interested me in angel investing, including the prospect of forming a group comprised of angel investors with different backgrounds and expertise to collaborate and ultimately invest in companies in our area of the state. It was also exciting to have the ability to help entrepreneurs get the necessary funding to take projects from merely an idea to reality. Empowering and supporting entrepreneurs in this way is very important to Northeast Nebraska and Nebraska as a whole.
2) What makes a start up company stand out to you?
It is often the little things that make a startup company stand out to us. Perhaps the most important factor that makes a company stand out to us is the company’s management and/or team. Many people have really great ideas, but the success of a startup company is often dependent on the management and their ability to adapt and execute. In analyzing management, we often look at the leadership team’s experience, commitment and drive. For us, it is a red flag if the leadership is developing the company in their spare time. We feel that if they aren’t 110% committed with their time, then we cannot confidently commit our funds.
3) In your opinion, what advantages do companies have starting up in Nebraska?
Startup costs and barriers to entry are extremely minimal in Nebraska compared to other states. Additionally, Nebraska is an extremely business-friendly state and we often seem to take that for granted. Lastly, our workforce has a good work ethic which is a big advantage.
4) What do you hope to see in the future for the startup community in Nebraska?
I would hope to see successful communities take the time to cultivate startup businesses and existing businesses. As a result, I expect startups will be loyal to those communities as they remember what it took to be successful. That is one of the keys to successful economic development.
5) What is one thing you've learned from your experience as an angel investor?
I have learned many things but one of the most important things is to spend the time asking questions of and about leadership. Just because it is a good idea doesn’t mean it will take off. In connection with that, I remember not to be sold on a concept alone. I always try to take the time, ask the right questions and then ask myself whether I would buy this service and whether I understand the industry. If you don’t understand what you're getting into, it’s usually a good rule of thumb to walk away. Walking away doesn’t mean that something is a bad idea, but it simply means that you have to understand what you are a part of and you believe in what they are doing. Lastly, it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself. If you are investing to get rich fast then you might as well go to the casino instead. Successful angel investing should include helping develop companies to be successful, which doesn’t happen overnight.