Ashley Flucas | Breaking into startup investing, the demographics of tomorrow and network development
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In this session, we spoke with Ashley Flucas about her journey into the world of startup investing and shared her approach to generating a meaningful network, why diversity makes good business sense and how to generate deal flow.
Ashley is an angel investor and syndicate lead with Flucas Ventures. In addition to her role as General Counsel/Partner at a real estate fund, she is an active angel investor who has participated in more than 100 deals through AngelList and direct investments.
“Startup investing is like learning a language.”
Top 4 takeaways from our conversation with Ashley:
1. Breaking into venture is a step-by-step process
- You can start small through passive investing and getting involved in deals through networks of investors and syndicates + special purpose vehicles
- When you’re starting out, develop relationships through structured angel groups (i.e. Gaingels) and accelerators (i.e. Techstars & Y Combinator)
- As you develop confidence in going after deals, you can start investing directly and generating your own inbound deal flow
- If you love the process/experience and have the ability to capture good investing opportunities, you can start building out a process to make investing more scalable and efficient as an angel and/or syndicate lead
- It’s common to start in the industries/sectors that you know. Starting with the familiar gives you the advantage of understanding the landscape even if you don’t understand the cultures and processes of venture funding
- Find a starting point and stick to it
- It’s easy to talk yourself out of getting started; especially for women and minorities
2. You don’t have to be in the valley to get started
- Geography is no longer an advantage in the space.
- In the age of technology, there’s no reason that you can’t develop a network in the investing space from anywhere.
- If you like seeing the world through the lens of founders, step one is to get involved
- You can do that by getting on your computer and clicking a couple of buttons through angel/syndicate networks and demonstrating that you have intent to get involved/start looking at deals
“The next generation of consumers will be a majority minority, you have to make some that resonates with them if you want to own or create a category.”
3. Diversity of thought = exponential growth
- When you have people from different geographies, races, genders, sexual orientations you get a much richer experience
- The potentiality of a company expands exponentially when you have a diversity of thought
- The kind of product you can build and categories you can expand is so much richer when you’re building it with everyone in mind or when you have a wide variety of people
- If you’re building products and service and you don’t have every demographic in mind you’re missing out on a massive customer base
- Those that don’t do that are missing out
4. Building portfolios
- Always be networking and always be reaching out
- Some people may not respond, but you’ll be surprised by the number of people who will
- Use platforms and online communities/networks to surround yourself with likeminded people who will eventually bring you in on opportunities
- Get exposure in any way you can — investing is like learning a language, so the more conversations you sit in on, decks you read, invest meetings you take the clear your perspective on investing will become.