It’s not every day that I get to be in the newspaper. This is the third article mentioning InspirePay in local papers (this time the Denver Post), and the first one to be syndicated, showing up as well in the Daily Camera. I think Andy Vuong did a great job with the article, accept for one thing… Mike’s primary quote about having nothing to lose was taken drastically out of context. I thought I’d write a few words to share my experience of working with Mike, and hopefully put the article’s focus into context.
First, Mike sold his first company at a VERY early age. With that, he built his own nest egg, and believing in himself, has created a solid foundation with Tiforp. This is not Daddy’s money (I’ve met his Dad, and know Mike is the farthest thing from a “Trust Fund” kid). Mike is taken seriously by a very large book of connections, because he runs circles around most CEO’s / Investors. The kid is smart, and diligent.
Next, Mike, via Tiforp, is investing in very early stage companies, often pre-launch. This is a market private equity angels play in, but few VC’s consider due to risk. To be sure, this is where the quote came from… I was on the phone during the interview. Investing pre-launch has one huge bonus for investors… higher returns. So is it a higher risk category? Yes, but not if you are smart.
Take Rock City Club. Jack Wishna is a lifetime entrepreneur / deal maker with hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of success in his history, few failures if any, and a black book like none other. His idea was visioned with some of music’s greatest icons, and backed by a team of industry producer gods. Their CTO started NetZero. Is this high risk? Well, they are pre-launch. VC’s wouldn’t touch them, but I’d put my money on Jack any day.
Looking at the InspirePay deal, I’ve got a dozen years doing nothing but internet strategy and e-commerce / financial transaction technology. I built one of my clients, ERGObaby, from nothing to something online… if it was online, it was my office. They sold last summer for 92 million. I’ve worked with dozens of companies (many successful sales) and process hundreds more at Inspire Commerce as a Visa/MC registered Merchant Service Provider (Inspire Commerce is a profitable company). Oh, and we have channel partners / strategic partners packing some serious heat. Is an investment in my company a good one? Hell yes. Especially with Ara Howard from Dojo4 as our CTO (Search ‘ara.t.howard’ and be in awe of his 120K results) and Metzger Associates as our PR company (think Tech Stars). We’re going to kick ass.
Do you see a pattern here? Two investments, two very successful leaders, two very large ideas, in two very large markets. Expanding to Tiforp’s iPhone application investments, he is killing it with one already sold in just a few months with a large ROI, and another now backed by Mark Cuban post launch.
I think it’s important here to see one thing… deep intelligence, and an actual conservative investing style. He’ll take some risk, but only when backed by serious due diligence.
Mike, I’m stoked to have you on my team. Thanks for all of the hard work!