As an early-stage startup investor, advisor and mentor to entrepreneurs, I have seen numerous pitch decks, heard so many “we are the best thing since sliced bread,” declarations and many requests for feedback. When I initially decided to support the startup community, I found myself spending countless hours in meetings with founders. Although I could clearly see the value and impact of our discussions, it was clear that there were only so many hours available and needing to meet with each individual founder to prequalify their startup was simply not feasible. Hence, many founders simply did not get a time slot for an initial meeting and at times I wondered “what if a great one was missed!” This is a fundamental industry wide challenge, as many startups are simply left out and not able to get the access they need for engagements with investors, partners and corporations.
As an angel investor or a small investment firm, we typically do not have resources that large venture capital firms have. In a typical large venture capital firm, the resources are available to vet and pre-qualify startups – namely Venture Associates. Usually, each Venture Associate is assigned a monthly quota, where they analyze their startup funnel to pre-qualify them against the firm’s investment thesis. The higher the number of Venture Associates available yield a larger volume of startups that are analyzed. I, like most early-stage investors and angels, don’t have the luxury of a Venture Associate team. I need to look at each company directly, thereby dramatically reducing the startup pipeline I can look at. This directly results in missing out on engaging with potentially great startups!
While I was facing the challenge of how best to pre-qualify a larger pool of startup companies without needing to spend most of my time or without hiring venture associates, it quickly became clear that automation of the process is vitally needed. If the automation of this process is done right, then there will be intrinsic high value for both the investors and the startup founders. This is why I am one of the initial investors in the FinTech startup, Peachscore out of Los Angeles, CA.
So yes, while I’m not impartial when it comes to Peachscore, there are strategic and practical reasons as to why I’m an investor and now involved directly in the company. Peachscore is simply a Swiss Army Knife for the early-stage/angel investor and, in addition, it also democratizes access for startup founders. There is also high value for larger firms as well, but for the sake of this article, I’ll focus on the angel investors like myself.
The Peachscore platform takes care of the initial work (and then some) of what a Venture Associate would do at the larger firms. Unlike other platforms where its data is based on web scraping of publicly available (and usually out of date) data, on Peachscore startup founders create their profile with their own most up-to-date company information. The Peachscore engine analyzes the information provided from an investor’s analytical view, creates a detailed automated assessment report and provides an overall score to the founder as well. Now the founder not only has a detailed assessment of their company but now they can also utilize their Peachscore profile to connect with investors and corporations directly on the platform. They can also share their profile to any firm outside of the platform. This also works in both directions where investors and corporations on the platform can search for startups based on their unique requirements and connect with the founders directly on the platform. Once connected, they will have access to the startup’s assessment report and company details for pre-qualifications against their engagement thesis.
Peachscore has completely changed how I operate as an early-stage startup investor and advisor. Today, any founder that reaches out to me is simply directed to Peachscore to create their company profile where I can then utilize the assessment report for pre-qualification. If the company passes my pre-qualification criteria, then I will have the initial meeting with the founder. Here lies another massive advantage of utilizing Peachscore – now when I meet with the founder, the initial meeting acts more like the 5th meeting or so the old way. I no longer have a need for an introductory call about the company, what they do and why. I already have all of the information, and more, based on their Peachscore profile. Now the initial meeting becomes more about getting answers to very specific in-depth questions, as well as determining if the founders and I have the right synergy to work with each other. This is a massive streamlining of the process with high efficiency.
This is why I see Peachscore as an angel investor’s Swiss Army Knife. It is a high-value platform for both angel investors and smaller investment firms. But you might wonder what the value is for the larger firms? Well, let’s assume a firm has a capacity of analyzing 100 startup companies a month today. With Peachscore that can easily be increased to 1,000 or more a month without needing to add any additional manpower. What if a firm already has a large startup funnel but can’t analyze them all in a timely manner? Peachscore can help with automating the analysis and we have multiple ways to engage in that regard. There are many other examples of how Peachscore can aid larger firms, corporations, banks, government agencies and more.
In short, Peachscore has become a valuable tool to streamline and highly expedite the engagement pre-qualification for me.