Seed funding in a specific niche.

My guest today is Razi Karim, CEO of Bayside Venture Partners. Razi and his team focus specifically on investing in early stage companies that they see as potential successes in T.I.M.E. - Technology, Intelligence, Media, and Entertainment. Razi sees their company as a “Micro VC” company, an early stage accelerator. On this episode, you’re going to hear Razi describe the many ways his company comes alongside early stage companies to both advise and fund them toward the path to success.

Invest early at low cost.

That’s the strategy that Razi and his team follow as they consider startups that are in need of early stage investing. They want to make wise decisions about whether to invest in the company of course, but once they do make the decision to fund a company they want to do so in a way that allows them to ride the wave of success as the company raises funds, builds out its infrastructure, onboards users or clients, and begins to make a splash. You can hear how Razi guides his company through everything from initial conversations to negotiations, to full on seed funding in an early stage company, on this episode of the Capital Gains podcast.

Red flags in startup companies that will prevent seed funding.

Naturally, every seed funding source is going to have its own criteria for what would remove an early stage company from funding consideration. Razi Karim and his team have discovered that there are a handful of things that indicate that the company or its team are not quite ready for the kind of support that Bayside Venture Partners (Razi’s company) are able to give. If you’re an early stage company that will eventually seek funding, you’d do well to know Razi’s list so you can do everything possible to be an attractive opportunity for your investors when that time comes. You can hear his suggestions on this episode.

How should you approach a possible investor to seek seed funding?

The world of venture capital and seed funding is new to most startup founders so it’s good to have an experienced voice that can speak to the issues involved. Today’s guest, Razi Karim gives a handful of suggestions to teams that are seeking or will soon be seeking investments in their early stage company. His suggestions range all the way from team dynamics and business model to already existing customers or users, as well as the attitudes he looks for in the leaders of new companies that tell him they will be a great partner to work with.

If you have funds to invest in early stage companies, what should you do?

Many people who are actively investing are tired of the stock market, don’t believe in the return on bonds, and are open to other options. If that is you, it’s entirely possible that you could invest your funds in early stage companies. Razi Karim suggests that you find a group that invests in companies like you are interested in that has a track record of experience and good returns. The company's team should also have an eye toward identifying and evaluating the talent and opportunities that early stage companies bring to the table. You can learn more about how you can go about seed investing, on this episode of the Capital Gains podcast.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:07] My introduction of Razi Karim and his company Bayside Venture Partners.
  • [2:04] What is a Micro VC?
  • [2:33] Understanding the terms used in venture capital investing.
  • [5:14] The types of companies Razi looks at to invest in.
  • [7:58] The growth and status of Razi’s investment company: Invest early at low cost.
  • [10:59] Razi’s process of looking for and investing in an appropriate company.
  • [14:46] Signals Razi looks for in potential investment opportunities.
  • [18:10] The percentage of deals Razi takes on compared to those he considers - and the things that make a company stand out as a winner.
  • [19:33] The product VS the team. Which is more important?
  • [23:41] The advisory services Razi’s company provides and where it fits as a service.
  • [27:50] How Razi got into angel investing in the first place.
  • [31:35] What is an accelerator and how does it work?
  • [34:26] How Razi advises startup founders to approach possible investors.
  • [36:44] What should a person do if they have money to invest and are curious about venture capital investing?
  • [40:50] Lessons learned on the journey.
  • [43:20] The vision and future of Razi’s company - as he sees it.

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