Talent is Everywhere

We sat down recently for a conversation with Jamal Hirani, Chief Investment Office of Velocity Capital Advisors. We discussed Jamal’s participation as a judge in our inaugural Tribal Pitches event on April 26, 2021, and the talent he discovered in the process. Velocity is the lead investor in FounderTribes. Below is a condensed version of our interview.

You are a busy VC with plenty of deal flow. Why did you decide to serve as a judge for Tribal Pitches?

It was a good opportunity to see a host of companies in one place. I heard nine pitches and didn’t have to read through nine decks. It gave me a feel for the founders and their ideas. I wanted to see if I could find one or two businesses I could focus on and track.

Nine founders presented to investors that day. What struck you about these ventures?

I saw nine pitches that day. Most VCs have their criteria, their sweet spot. I was more focused around the B2C element. Some of the companies were really interesting. I love listening to founders who are passionate about their ideas, and I love giving feedback.

Talent is everywhere.

Sarah Werner of Husmus won the competition. What impressed you about Sarah? Would you have discovered Sarah without Tribal Pitches?

I probably would not have met Sarah without Tribal Pitches. She was super passionate and credible. She had a developed idea and business and a good problem she was trying to solve. She had the best pitch and was a worthy winner.

Since that competition, we have met again. She is still very early in her development cycle and I have given her some advice on the next 6 months of her company’s development. She now has access to my diary and we have set up 6 weekly catch ups where we can see how she has progressed, and to make her investor ready for us.

I like supporting founders. It’s a risk you have to take to support them. If Sarah delivers and executes, someone will want to invest in her and write that big check. At the end of the day, it’s a small world. She may see an entrepreneur in the future and introduce us. The key to working with a VC is to keep them involved and updated.

How can FounderTribes create new opportunities for founders?

Sometimes founders don’t have the experience or know-how to pitch. FounderTribes enables a safe environment to get feedback and fine tune your pitch.

Most VCs look at two things: they look at the idea, and they look at the management team. Most go by the information they have, and they go by the management team first. With FounderTribes, you can present your idea, get feedback, get feedback on pitch, polish it, then present to funders to get funding. With VCs, you get one shot. FounderTribes gives you the best chance at that one shot.

How can FounderTribes benefit VCs?

I’m interested in being connected to other investors and VCs who might be interested in investing in our fund. We serve a large Series A fund.

It works both ways. We have to give back. We meet great companies, and we also want to meet potential partners and co-investors.

What would you like to tell us about Velocity Capital Advisors?

We invest in women and minority-led companies. In our portfolio, 37% of our founders are women, and 38% are minorities. Combined, over 50% of our investments are in women and minority-led companies. We have 100% returns on investment and have consistently beat the market.

We don’t do it for show. We do it because it works.