Hey there, my name is Chris Graebe. I'm the CEO of StartupCamp, a serial founder and entrepreneur, and the director of an angel investment group called The Boardroom.
If you downloaded the 6 Startup Sectors E-book, you already know the power of angel investing.
But did you know that this strategy has been making money no matter what the markets are doing for many, many years?
As we all know, the markets are all over the place. There's a lot of fear and confusion about what's happening out there, but I’m here to talk to you about how angel investing really can be a winner in the midst of these insane market changes.
Nothing, not stocks, not blue chips, not even real estate comes close to the power of wealth creation when it comes to angel investing.
I'm not just talking about famous companies that you've heard of like Uber or Airbnb, I'm talking about startups that you have never actually heard of, like MuleSoft or Thumbtack or even HeartFlow.
Now you might think this is not possible for you to become an angel investment in the startup world... But it actually is.
A few years ago, I didn't either. I was a pastor, I had five kids and was really struggling to provide for my family. That desire drove me to become a founder of several e-commerce companies. But what really changed my life, my family's life, was the power of angel investing.
What's amazing is that you can cash in on this incredible new market as well, and there are two men right here beside me that are gonna help you make that possible.
I feel this company could be a billion dollar company in the next few years, so I'm really excited about this. These are the kind of deals that just come along when you have a good network to invest in and you start making small, early investments.
That's what I'm so excited to share with everyone today.
Allan, I want people to hear kind of a little bit about your story. You're a wildly successful entrepreneur. You have just learned how to grow and build a lot of companies.
Not only that, but you're great at finding a company at a low valuation and really getting to an exit that returns a profit for you and everyone that's in your circle.
Let’s take a second to hear a little bit of your story. Have you always had this entrepreneurial gene? Where did you learn it? And what did it all start out looking like for you?
You know, I knew at a young age I really didn't want to work for anyone else. Coming out of school, I started my first business when I was 19 and it grew really rapidly over the next few years. Around 23 years old, I was able to exit that company and leave Canada and move to Florida. At that point, I took a little bit of time, just kind of enjoying a little success, and I got bored really quickly just always wanting to be working and always wanting to be busy.
I started another company in the logistics space back in early '97-ish. I built that company and had a great exit from a Nasdaq company sometime in 2000.
I took another year because I had to work with a non-compete, and I got bored again. I started another company in the same space after my non-compete was up which became quite successful. It's a big New York Stock Exchange company in the logistics space called XPO Logistics.
I ended up having a pretty good exit from that, too. Since then I've been focusing on not being the guy actually running the company, but being the guy finding the company that I could invest in, maybe invest a little time in, and have more exits over time where someone else does all the work and I can just make the investment.
You know, Allan's being a little humble.
I don't know of anyone else who has taken a company from the very smallest stock exchange, the penny stocks basically, and moved it onto the New York Stock Exchange where today, this is a multi billion dollar company. Billions and billions of dollars that he actually started and founded years and years ago.
There's hardly anyone that's got a story like that, and he's done this many times with other companies over the years. Not to that extent, but many successful exits, so he's a great guy to learn from, he's taught me so much in my investing career, and I've been so happy to share with everyone else.
I find that it is so easy to find a deal to invest in. You can go Google right now and look for crowdfunding deals to get into. You can put in $100 right now into some piece of junk company, and you will kiss that money goodbye. Because you'll never see it again.
But Allan has had a great track record of actually getting in the deal and exiting, and that's the key. If you're gonna invest, you have to have an exit.
I think a lot of that comes from just business experience. So when I look at those investments, I think “how is it practical in the world”? What are people gonna think of that? How can the company grow? Even with Jeff and other people that I've invested with in the past, what do we bring to the table to help those companies get bigger, faster, so that they can have the opportunity to exit?
Just putting the money in is great, but if you can bring some value to them, that is what really gives you a bigger opportunity for an exit, for both you and the company.
Another thing I found over the years is early investors want to invest in really speculative, sexy-sounding ideas that have some WizBang Technology that might change the world or might be the next Google. But you know what? You're probably not gonna find the next Google. Odds are, you're just not. Allan's really good about identifying companies that are relatively boring but you can make a great investment and have a good exit. And I mean, you can do this over and over, that's really the key to building generational wealth that'll be here for a long, long time.
The big money is not necessarily the Ubers and Facebooks because the general retail investors are not gonna get the opportunity. Silicon Valley has scooped all of those up. We're talking about companies that you've never heard of. Allan, a lot of the companies that you've invested in, have people even heard of most of these companies?
No, but some of my greatest profits came from underdogs. Once I left XPO, I got really really bored quickly again and I started making investments with a couple of institutional groups. And they went public - some wind technology companies, some companies that made the brackets for solar companies. And so the bracket company was way more successful than the solar company because the guy who made the bracket made a profit every time he sold it.
And I didn't invest in the big-shot solar company, I invested in the lesser-known bracket company. Those are the kind of investments that I've always looked for.
Allan, something I love about your story is that you really come from this working class background, and you decided early on in your career, "You know what? I want to be successful. I want to go and build something successful." You started a company at 19 and exited it at 23, and that same hustle gene that helped you build companies really helped you kick down the door to get someone we all know to invest in your company - Peter Lynch. Tell us a little bit about that story.
Well you know, when you're building these companies to get an exit, sometimes you have to find a way to get an up on things. We're always looking for key investors and we went out and found some key funds to invest in us. But over that time for about six quarters, I was calling some of the more famous firms and Peter Lynch's firm was one of them. They used to always invite me up in the wintertime to come in and tell the story to his analysts. You'd never get to see Peter Lynch at that time.
And then after the fifth time, I went over to see him and got to sit down in a meeting with him and we talked about betting on the jockey, which was the CEO of the company. He explained to me that my company was actually too small for him to invest in. It wasn’t there yet.
At the time, my company was approaching $100M of revenue. But at the time, we have to remember that Peter Lynch was one of the largest hedge fund managers in the world other than Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffet. So, until we were nearing $100M revenue we weren’t big enough for him to consider.
He said to us at the time that very few companies that were our size set expectations and then meet them or exceed them over and over again on a quarterly basis. And I think that that's part of my drive to be successful. If I tell you something, I really want to go out and make sure that it happens.
So we sat down and in turn actually made an investment through his kids' trusts, which he said, "I'm gonna put all their money in there and hopefully it'll pay for them to go to college," which I'm pretty sure it did.
We were a logistics company, so we had like 50 phone lines. And when I was sitting with him he goes, "When I file this 13D, your life and the company's life is going to change." So I thought, "What is this guy talking about?" But I went back and three days later, I was sitting in my office and I thought we had a power surge because every phone line in our office was lit up, ringing at the same time. Everyone was like, "Hey, how much money can we invest in your company too?"
Because he filed. So I think that those relationships, like Jeff was talking about, are important as far as a network. To have a network of people to be able to look for deals or who invite you to look and invest in those deals.
Allan, every time I hear your story, it just amazes me what you've been able to accomplish.
Jeff, your story's kind of similar. You kind of grew up working class. You haven't always been a successful entrepreneur.
My family was paycheck to paycheck growing up. I grew up with very limited resources in life. I was the first one of my family to go to college. I had to find a way to pay my way through there. There were no scholarships available, I wasn't very athletic, I wasn't a super great student. Much like Allan, I had to kind of fight and scrape my way into these things where I found people who could help me. So, I got my way through college and was able to start a few small businesses with limited success.
It wasn't until many years after that RagingBull came about. But along the way I was able to meet guys like Allan who showed me some of my earliest deals, some of the ways that I was able to just take a few thousand dollars at a time and turn it into $10,000+. So, those were some of the things that really got me started to get where I am today. Taking a little bit of money and just turning it into a little bit more, and taking that and turning it a little bit more.
Jeff, you talk about as much as maybe 10 years ago, you didn't have the ability to be an angel investor. Now with some regulations and some open doors, it's now available to the everyday American.
You know, I was just starting to find some success in my career about a decade ago and at that time, that's when some people I was working closely with would show me a deal here and there and I was really skeptical about it. I wouldn't invest very often, but I would occasionally. But those opportunities were just not available to most people.
You had to be in the right circles, you had to know millionaires who had deals and they would bring them to you, and it was a very rare thing to happen.
Well today, there's a thing called the JOBS Act, and that has given the ability for virtually anyone, I'm talking anyone, to invest as little as $100 into a company. So there is really no reason that any investor out there can’t start putting some money to work and start building wealth for the future.
This is an incredible opportunity and things have come together for investors now more than ever before. This is a really rare thing and we're at the center of something incredible right now.
I totally agree. One, I love the idea that anyone can do it. The everyday American can throw 100 bucks, 500 bucks, whatever, and get in on these companies at the very beginning of where they're starting. The other thing I think is so amazing is that this is almost encroaching on the VC firms and the hedge funds.
We are literally stealing money from them. We're able to get in the same deals earlier and faster than they can because they take so much time to do the research, and they have to take it before boards. Now we can fund deals within days that take them months or even years to do. We're able to get in early and steal money from these guys.
That's amazing because these were never available to the everyday man, right? But now they have the opportunity to say, "Hey hedge fund, get the heck out of here. I want a piece of this deal." And that's the thing I think is so amazing about the timing and opportunity.
This is the time and this is the moment. We're gonna look up a few years from now and this is going to be the beginning of the average retail investor getting in on angel deals and seeing thousands of percent returns and I'm so excited for this moment in time.
If you are not getting in now, it's gonna be too late soon.
You've got to make a choice right now. There are deals happening at this very moment that are some of the most incredible deals that in 5 or 10 years from now, you'll be kicking yourself. You saw them today and you didn't act on it and you're gonna regret it later. You've got to start getting in and start finding the deals that can be the big ones in a few years down the road.
Jeff, I absolutely love your fire and your passion for what's happening and how these doors are opening wide up. You said to me, "Let's do something about this, Chris." And so we went to work and we said okay, what can we do for everyone here that wants to get in on this? I want you to unpack what we've decided we're gonna do for them.
I love the stock market. It’s very near and dear to my heart.
But angel investing is a thing that I am most passionate about for people. I think this is the single biggest wealth creator that's out there that most people are not taking advantage of.
So we got together, we said, "What's something that anyone can do right now to get started?"
Here’s what we did.
We created the Angel Investing Insider. The Angel Investing Insider is made up of a great course, a video series on what to do, and we've even got investments that we're actively looking at right this minute that anyone could invest in right now.
These are actual deals that we're looking at putting our own money into and you can look right along over our shoulder and see what we're looking at.
We've put everything together in one, easy to follow package. This is the Angel Investing Insider.
I love it because it's the inside track on what's happening in your mind. You talk about the deals that you guys have done before, and really it's the first time I think the power of two investors like you, who have built great companies, who have helped companies exit, are coming together to say, "You know what? We've got to do something about this."
Angel Investing Insider is the fix. It helps solve the problem that everyone has when it comes to deal flow and finding those deals that they can invest in right now.
I almost feel bad that for all these years I have not been able to bring in other people. It wasn't until we got together, sat down, came up with the idea of what to do to help people come in, and now I feel like anyone can do it. There's absolutely no reason that everyone can't be in the same kind of deals and learning the same things that we've learned over the years.
The thing I love about it is it's a small amount of money that someone can get in and start investing today. Not only can they invest, but they can literally invest in a couple clicks and have ownership in a piece of a company. They decide they love what's happening in that company, they can jump in right there.
The doors are wide open, the timing is right, and I think people's lives are massively gonna be changed as they step into the world of angel investing.
I think it's clear that you are passionate about helping so many people step into this new world of angel investing, and what you've built in Angel Investing Insider is truly powerful.
Here are the things you're going to get inside of Angel Investing Insider.
You're gonna get a deal flow. The guys have talked about the power of a network and having the right people around you, and you're gonna get access to deals that we are vetting, that we are looking at, that we are very, very excited about.
You're also gonna get to hear more of their story. They've taken some time putting together some videos and some educational resources to help you learn more when it comes to becoming an educated angel investor, and we've got a couple other bonuses that we're gonna be sending your way.
We've got a community of people who are really growing and learning together, and we would love to invite you to be a part of that.
Basically at the end of the day, what we're saying is this: we've all come from humble beginnings. You heard our stories. We just decided to work hard and hustle and now we have some doors open. But we wanna open those doors for you and we wanna invite you to be a part of this amazing service called Angel Investing Insider.
I was talking about how the stock market has been a foundational thing in my life to make money and to build an educational business from that. This is the thing that I'm most committed to for the next five years going forward, or maybe the rest of my life. I so strongly believe in angel investing that I'm putting all my resources and time into this, and this is the first time that we've ever offered this opportunity for people to come in, at such a ridiculously low price.
I was gonna charge a lot more. But you said we should bring it where everyone can get access to this. So we made a price that there is absolutely no reason that everyone shouldn't take it up. The education alone is worth so much. I mean, if you can look at Allan investing for well over 20 years, I'm about the same place, the connections that we've made, what we share with people in the experiences and knowledge that we bring to the table, for this price, is just ridiculous honestly. It's just ridiculous.
That's exactly right. You know, and the thing I love about this, as we close out here, is I've heard from both of you. Jeff you have three kids, Allan you have two, and we talk about generational wealth creation. It's great to have a lot of money and feel that security, but this is more than just making money for you guys. It's literally about leaving a legacy for your children and your childrens’ children. And so I think that's at the core of what you're doing here.
Again, we want to invite you to come be on this journey with us.
This is the best price that you're gonna see, I can guarantee it, and we know that you are ready to build generational wealth for yourself. Honestly, the only place that's gonna happen is through angel investing.
This is your invite. Come join us at Angel Investing Insider and we will see you inside of the community.