Rhea Hamilton is Managing Director Ventures at OGCI Climate Investments and mainly active in sustainable technology-based businesses. Listen to her take on what's really important when it comes to investing in a startup.
What do you look for in an interesting business case?
There are 3 main things that I look for: 1. Is the solution solving a critical problem? There are a lot of great ideas out there, but they’re not realistic or scalable unless they solve a real need in the market.
2. Has the team really looked into their financial model? Many times, a startup is highly focused on technology and product design - which is important; however, by taking the time to build a financial model, the entrepreneurs also need to consider other factors such as pricing, manufacturing, sourcing, working capital etc. This is key to understanding whether there is a path to viability.
3. Do they have the right people for the right stage of the startup? Even with the most brilliant idea, best business plan or a lot of funding, a start-up may fail if they do not have a strong team to execute.
What is a question you'd like to answer, but no one asks?
What types of skill sets should I be bringing on board at this point? This question is so important given that the team is critical. Oftentimes a team will hire for a position from a pool of like-minded individuals, but what they may really need is a different skill set with a different point-of-view to give an out-of-the-box perspective all the while keeping the right dynamic within the team.
What do you trust more when investing - Graph or Gut?
It’s a great question! I love numbers and I love looking at numbers to calculate risks. In the end, however, it’s going to have to be the gut, BUT not without some guidance from the graph.