Yes, I have made a few investments in startups. Some have worked out amazingly well, others have been complete bombs. Most of the investing I do that I direct is because it is focused on my areas of interest. Otherwise, I leave the investing up to the professionals.
If you want me to invest, read this first and see if it fits in at least one of these areas. The more the better.
I am interested in making Baltimore a more vibrant economic environment. The thing I am most proud about Bill Me Later is that there are over 600 people who have jobs in Baltimore County because we started Bill Me Later. Imagine if there were 20 Bill Me Later’s in Baltimore, what that could do for the metro economy. If you have a business that is going to sustainably create jobs in the Baltimore metro area, I want to talk to you!!!!
Improve Public Education
I believe education is the highest return investment society makes. However, I don’t think we are getting our money’s worth now. It could be so much better. The world has changed. We are no longer a manufacturing or agricultural economy. We are a knowledge economy. We don’t need to conform, we need to innovate. We need to cultivate the natural curiosity and desire to learn that each of us had when we came out of the womb, not stifle it to ensure predictable repeatable outcomes. If you have a vision for how we should re-invent public education to support the needs of the 21st century, I want to talk to you!!!
Leverage My Skills and Experience
I have over 20 years experience in consumer credit, payments, direct marketing, partnership marketing, internet marketing, entrepreneurship, new product development, e-commerce, B2B marketing. I am a creative problem solver. I like to architect new business models that uniquely solve customer problems and create a win-win for all involved in the exchange. If you have a company that can benefit from my experience, I might be interested. However, it needs to fall into one of the above areas to get my attention or it has to be truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Leverage My Tribe
On June 7, 1989, I started my internship at Citibank. I didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of the rest of my career. The people I met at Citibank, I would work with the remainder of my career. Many people helped me along the way. Now, I would like to give back by helping others in my tribe. So, if you are in my tribe, you know it. I am here to help. If you need my tribe to make your business successful, come talk to me.
If you don’t fall into at least two of these buckets, its very unlikely I am going to invest my time or money. However, if it truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the world or make a lot of money, then I am open to breaking that rule.