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There are as many answers to this as there are investors.

In looking at the two deals Valor passed on in the last week, it came down to a relatively simple matrix. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the big buckets we focused on. How the Valor partnership invests will evolve, but here’s an overview of the five key things we’re looking for in early stage companies.

  1. Core Culture. Why do I believe this is the team for this particular dream? Are they working well together? Do they have the grit it’ll take to stay together when things aren’t going well? Do they react directly, or tend to skirt issues? Do they have the discipline to create systems and what systems can I see today?
  2. Customers. What kind of value is this team attracting today? How fast are they able to attract it?  If you get the idea that we like paying customers, you’re absolutely right.
  1. Company. At the check size Valor writes, how much equity or equity opportunity can we create for the partnership? Are there dozens of this kind of opportunity, or just a handful? Relative to the other companies like this one in the market, are we able to get less or more in this opportunity?
  1. Influence. For some companies,Valor and our visionary investors and advisors can exert meaningful positive influence on customer traction, market position and talent. For others, our particular community may not be as helpful. While it’s hard to quantify, being able to influence the outcome of our investments is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
  1. Reach. We have a preference for investing in our region and in Atlanta.

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