Marcelo Paladini Advice to Startup Founders: Don’t Let Your Ego Cloud Your Judgement

October 9, 2014

3:00 pm

Marcelo Paladini is a Miami-based investor and co-founder of GameMiles. Paladini established himself as a management executive and entrepreneur, first in Argentina, where he served as Director of Media for an Argentinean advertising company, and then in New York, where he developed a reputation in Finance and Operations. He serves as a financial advisor at the New York-based company Corporate Finance Partners.

Tech Cocktail reached out to Paladini for advice for startup founders looking for investment.

1. What do you look for when making the decision to invest? What is your process like?

I certainly try to follow the same basic rules as many other, paying special attention to the business proposition, the people behind the company, the product, the size of the opportunity, the timing. Over time though I have developed a special care for the executive team, specially its CEO, and whether he/she is the right person in that position.

A common mistake made by entrepreneurs is that although they have brilliantly developed an idea but they don’t have the skills set to make that business strive. As an entrepreneur, our enthusiasm, egos and need for self-validation sometimes prevent us from making one of the most critical decisions at all, which is to check whether we are, the right person to execute and build upon our great product or idea.

2. What is typically your bite size? Does this change depending on where the company is based?

My typical bite size is small, as I believe in walking before running. I prefer to get involved in early-stage companies, because that’s where I found I can contribute the most. Typically, after a careful process of screening, I identify companies that I can provide the right amount of capital to help them move from a minimum viable product (MVP) stage, to a revenue-generating business model.

My preference is to invest in local companies, primarily because I tend to get involved to add my expertise and support in areas such as business model validation, business planning, long term strategy, resources, fundraising, etc.

3. When was the last time you made an investment?

Last week, but it took me more than a year to watch them define their model and decide.

4. How does your experience as a startup co-founder influence you as an investor?

Been there, done that! I have learned very much from my own successes and failures. Experience is our biggest asset and can not be replaced by any book or advice. If [experience is] applied with logic and common sense, it becomes an invaluable tool for an angel investor. Having been a start up CEO myself means I had to wear multiple hats, build clear action plan(s) and make critical decisions that set the course of the enterprise. My own experience gave me the most valuable lessons and understanding of what an entrepreneur or business today is going through. Therefore, it puts me in a better position to understand their challenges, where can I help, and increase their chances of succeeding.

5. Do you think there is an advantage for start ups in cities like San Francisco and New York for attracting investors in comparison to say start ups in Miami? Does location matter?

To some extent, location does matter, but less and less overtime. Technology and global connectivity makes it easier now days to stay in touch and closer to the resources a company needs. SFO and NYC are definitely where the majority of investors and VCs are, but also extremely saturated with startups and competitors. This drives the cost of resources up and decreases the accessibility to the right talent.

If your business plan and team is solid enough, location should not matter that much.

6. If you had one super power, what would it be and why?

To predict the future, so I would only invest in those startups that will succeed!

As much as we want to learn and gather information about the company, the market conditions, competition, etc. etc. there are so many variables at play when we bet in a company, that being able to predict what can possibly go wrong and correct it before it becomes a problem, must certainly be the mother of all super-powers for angel investing!

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Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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