October 25, 2008

Meet the FundingUniverse Posse: Brian Nielsen

Name: Brian Nielsen

Title: Funding Consultant

Brian points our clients in the right direction for funding. Out of the numerous options available, he consults and recommends the best financing/consulting/credit building/equity capital source based on the individual needs of the client.

If you ever see his face on a celebrity’s body, don’t be alarmed, you’ve just become privy to his amazing Photoshop talents.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration. (Thomas Edison)

Where did you work before FundingUniverse? I worked with a company called XanGo as the sole representative of their Korean language department. XanGo was featured right along-side FundingUniverse in Utah Valley BusinessQ Magazine’s ‘Top 40 Under 40′ and was also named a ‘Best Company to Work For’ by Business Q. (Spoiler-alert: I like working for FundingUniverse more)

What drew you to FundingUniverse? I have always had a passion to learn everything there is to know about entrepreneurship. One day, as I was searching through my BYU’s business school’s alumni job postings, I came across the FundingUniverse sales consultant position. I had to do a little background research but soon came to find that this was precisely what I was looking for.

How will you help FundingUniverse grow? I like to think that my personality is such that those clients who speak with me will want to tell their friends and business acquaintances how professional and helpful Funding Universe is. I want them to have such a good experience that they will want to see us grow too, and therefore help in the process.

What’s your favorite things about FundingUniverse? The team, of course. Everyone that works here is very energetic and fun. Another thing I’ve come to love is our recently organized business learning library. We have several people in the office who have temporarily donated their books to start a library from which we can borrow books to continually add to our knowledge of entrepreneurship and investing. It’s being put to good use.

What has been the funniest moment at FundingUniverse? One day, Trent came out to ask everyone to step into his office; he even threatened to fire about three people if they didn’t come in. After entering the office, he then proceeded to show us a video clip of the comedian Jim Gaffigan talking about bacon. My condolences to anyone that got fired for not watching that video. After showing the clip, he described how our consulting packages should include, not only one-on-one professional consulting, but also a five pound bag of Costco bacon. Here’s a link to the video he showed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxwCy69_YcQ. [Brian later noted that this video prepared for a company meeting should be included as "funniest moment": http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/XQ7LYJO17cmSVLEu featured are CEO Brock Blake, CTO Trent Miskin and Utah Regional Director Rob Sanders]

What has been the weirdest moment at FundingUniverse? A couple weeks ago, I emailed a particular client to confirm an appointment time; I received a response a few hours later. Well… I think this gentleman mistakenly sent his “funny” business spam-mail to the wrong person because what I received was, well…I won’t go into detail. Note that this is my “wierdest” moment and not my “funniest” moment at FundingUniverse.

What do you do when you’re not in the office? I have several hobbies. Right now, I am taking a web development class so I can make web pages–just for fun. I also took several aviation classes in the past and would like to get back into that to finally get my private pilot’s license. Also, I am taking bagpipe lessons every Wednesday night (pretty unique, eh?). Other hobbies of mine include snowboarding in the winters and longboarding in the summers.

October 24, 2008

Avoid: waiting for nothing

FundingUniverse wants to help you improve your business proposition to an investor. The best way for us to do this is to actually play the role of the fund analyst.  The only real difference is we will actually provide you with constructive feedback, advice and consulting on how to make your proposition effective and attractive, rather than throwing it in the trash and never even replying to your email or phone call.

So here are a few things to understand about an investor and therefore what to expect as a client.

1.  Investors won’t read your 25+ page business plan and neither will we.  Rather we will help you carve it down to a direct and compelling document that is simple to understand and easy to digest quickly.

2.  Investors want to see your executive summary first, if you cannot convince them you are worthwhile from the Exec. Summ. then your business plan will probably just bore them. We will help you condense your plan down to the most critical material then it will be a simple process to add to it and make a good business plan.  This is much easier than reading your doctoral thesis and trying to find a few nuggets.

3.  It is best to get refered to an investor instead of spaming the transum with your B-plan.  We will help you understand the strategic and proper way to contact an investor.  Believe it or not you are probably only 2 and maybe even 1 relationship away from a funding source if you just took the time and worked strategically to tap your network.

4.  Investors are not evil but, they are in business to make money.  if you do not understand the details of deal structure, the terms of the deal and equity finance generally, you stand the risk of getting the raw end of the deal or loosing the opportunity to negotiate a better deal for you.

So, before you go looking for Venture or Angel funding, let us play the part of the fund analyst so you don’t have to face a barrage of rejection with little (or more likely) no feedback or response.

October 16, 2008

Meet the FundingUniverse Posse: Zach Mangum

Zach MangumName: Zach Mangum

Title: Senior Funding Consultant

Zach is one of two senior consultants in charge of fitting clients with fundraising solutions that meet their needs. He leads a team of consultants who contact and qualify entrepreneurs who apply for funding.

Zach’s usually the first guy in the office even if he’s been up all night taking care of his infant first-born.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in business? I don’t know what the biggest one was, but a week or two ago I sent a confidential email to a few colleagues here at FundingUniverse and accidentally sent a copy to a client as well. The content in the email was enough to embarrass me more than I’d like to admit!

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? “do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda; “do more than is required”

Where did you work before FundingUniverse? Sage Communities – Finance Intern

What drew you to FundingUniverse? (1) I wanted experience with a startup, (2) I wanted to learn about entrepreneurship and how to effectively start a successful business, (3) I wanted experience in the world of angel investing/VC/entrepreneurship, (4) FundingUniverse had everything I was looking for as well as a great name both locally and nationally.

How will you help FundingUniverse grow? By constantly evaluating and improving our screening process to help us bring on as many entrepreneurs as possible and assist them in getting prepared to raise investment capital.

What’s your favorite things about FundingUniverse? (1) my co-workers, (2) the industry, (3) seeing businesses get funded, (4) Michael Jones

What has been the funniest moment at FundingUniverse? Watching Michael and Kendall play ping pong.

What has been the weirdest moment at FundingUniverse? Seeing broken ping pong paddles every week.