Savior Joseph | On board participation, de-risking investments and deal flow creation.

Meet Savior Joseph — President and Member of the Board of Directors for Breathing Green Solutions (BGS) Inc., one of Canada’s top premium cannabis licensed producers. Savior is a marketing and corporate leader and an early-stage startup investor. He is a born and raised Newfoundlander (🇨🇦) and currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In our latest virtual ‘Ask-Me-Anything’ session, Savior shares his insights into increasing diversity at board-level, breaking into startup investing and his advice for new BIPOC startup investors.

Here are some of out top takeaways from our conversation with Savior:

Get underrepresented groups on boards

  • At a board-level you impact diversity in a much bigger way than a peer to peer discussion.
  • If a policy is agreed to at board-level, there’s no saying no to that. Accountability is ensured — a policy gets evaluated quarterly/monthly and decisions get made based on that performance.
  • That is why it’s so critical to bring leaders from underrepresented communities onto the board.
  • It’s morally the right thing to do, and it’s proven that companies make more money when they have diversity at the decision making table.

Advice for BIPOC leaders

  • If you’re not ready to write a cheque but have significant experience in your industry, advising and board participation is another way to participate in and influence the process of innovation.
  • Sometimes as hard as it may be to put yourself out there when no one looks like you, you have to persevere.

How to create deal flow

  • Growing your network is key.
  • Expertise in your field can connect you to all kinds of startups around the world.
  • You can invest anywhere in the world based on your expertise and what you bring to the table. Your unique perspective included.

How to grow your network:

  • Participate in your local startup ecosystem. Ask for intros.
  • Get active on Linkedin: a powerful tool for growing your network that transcends borders.
  • Create a LinkedIn elevator pitch for invites. You’ll get more people accepting your invites, and you can start to build your network that way.
  • Seek advice from your network when you need to.

Footnotes:

  • If it’s important to you, you can communicate to your network that you are looking to invest in a founder(s) from specific communities or backgrounds. Harlem Capital is a great example of a fund with a focus on diverse founders — info here.

Focus your preliminary research into companies

  • Where the company is along their journey — pre-seed, seed, series A, B C?
  • If you can get in early with a company that you really believe in, you’re going to have an advantage because you are investing at a lower valuation.
  • Where are they trying to go? What is the goal of the founder?
  • Industry research and evaluation is important here. This can be time consuming if you are looking at new or complex industries.
  • Usually, to get a quicker return you need to look at high growth companies which are more volatile and higher risk.

De-risk your investment by investing with others

  • For most early stage companies there is no profitability, just the promise of what the future will bring. This makes it inherently risky.
  • You can de-risk your investment by investing with others you trust.
  • This is important because you may lose money, or at the very least your money is not coming out for a while. It could be up to 10 years+ until IPO or acquisition.
  • Investing with others also gives you leverage and gets you access to great deals.

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We are developing a new, more diverse cohort of startup investors at the angel, syndicate and LP levels.