LFP169 – A Serial Entrepreneur’s Guide To Fund-Raising w/Peter Keenan CEO Apexx Global

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By Mike Baliman. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Capital-raising is an absolutely core-skill for entrepreneurs and their growing businesses – and every tech business de facto needs to grow (margins low and intense competition).

Peter Keenan, CEO and co-founder of merchants-payments provider Apexx Global, has raised capital in a total of five companies and thus talks to us from a position of considerable personal experience.

Most capital raisings most of the time for most companies are challenging processes. Thus all can benefit from hearing experiences and case studies – whether one has never done it, or whether one has done it many times.

Topics discussed include:

  • Arsenal football club
  • Irish school ball games
  • Peter’s career journey and breadth of business experience
  • Peter’s experience of many differently-funded businesses
  • there is not one route of raising funds – it varies between different types of business
  • how it works from day 1 – sweat equity and dividing the company ownership between founders
  • the perversity of employee equity schemes in fast-growing companies
  • Case Study re founding Apexx and how it worked out in the early days including initial raise
  • early market feedback before raising from initial investors
  • initial investors are backing the people as well as a initially market-validated plan
  • the importance of key milestones in getting to the next raise and creating confidence
  • super-important – how on earth to approach the question of what price to sell x% of the company in such early days??
  • Case Study thereof
  • “naughty Angels” – caveat founder
  • the importance to experienced Angels and VCs of the founders having enough skin in the game – even in later rounds
  • this is vital especially in times of pain and difficulty – need founders lashed to the mast
  • how to avoid being fleeced in early days – how Peter solves that challenge
  • how to value your company when it’s super-young
  • the importance in NewCos and also the biggest Cos in the world of “valuation” meets “marketplace” – this process key
  • the importance of “leading” the market to a valuation
  • how many potential funders does Peter approach in an early raise?
  • having got the initial marker you look for at least 100% growth in the valuation p.a. every year after that
  • “going in cold to Angels is very hard”
  • the importance of using one’s network and warm introductions
  • the importance of finding Angels/funders who understand your sector – “get an Angel who really understands your sector and [if they are on-side] then you are off to the races”
  • lead Angels kicking tyres and their networks
  • the value of someone on your Board with capital-raising experience
  • the importance of employee share-schemes in retaining and incentivising key staff
  • how this relates to easing internal management/team decisions – “does it make the boat go faster?”
  • where to go as a noob if you have no idea about employee share schemes
  • non-tech businesses and their very different funding profiles/approaches
  • VC’s are only relevant to certain types of business
  • VC’s modus operendi and how that affects their investing strategy
  • strategic partners and the many complexities they bring – pros and cons
  • the law of unintended consequences
  • keeping the partner interested
  • getting traction can be fart harder within your mega partner – internal dynamics in MegaCo and how they generally operate
  • expectations/outcomes
  • governments as a source of funds – increasingly due to the huge increase in the State seen in 2020
  • pros and cons of State grants
  • EU grants
  • timescales can be very long
  • “Apexx Global – a payment gateway that connects large global e-commerce businesses [in 5 markets or more] into multiple payment acquirers”
  • independent of any acquirer, connected to over 100 acquirers around the world, route payments to the best acquirer thus reducing fees and increasing acceptance rates
  • “we can improve conversion rates by about 5% and lower your costs by about 20%”
  • how their service works in practice
  • founded in 2016 and have 75 staff split between London and India

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!

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