I met Sandya and Sanket in 2011. Le15 was just a year old and they reached out to gift macarons for their son’s birth announcement. We became friends and Sanket sent me a message saying that if I ever wanted to grow my business and needed money, I should contact him. I was 24 and laughed it off. A few years after that I reached out to him and he soon became a mentor and a sounding board. When it was time to raise money in 2017, he was the first person I called. Sanket is our lead investor, he runs a fund based in Miami called Secocha Ventures and I’m so grateful to the universe for bringing him and Sandya into my life. As a young entrepreneur it’s important to have people who trust you, believe in your business and are also patient with your journey. I always ask Sanket a million questions about the most random things and he always generously and patiently answers them all. Below are some for my ‘Let’s Talk Money’ series.
What 3 things do you look for in a company while investing your money?
Secocha Ventures invests in early stage startups. We tend to participate after the firm has raised their initial money from friends & family, built a MVP, and proven Product Market Fit. We like to spend time with the founder or the founding team to better understand their motivations, ability to adapt to situations as they grow and their willingness to take advice from others.
Before you give someone your money, the relationship tends to be like a honeymoon. For that reason, our first check is usually a smaller one, so we can then spend some time post investment to better evaluate the relationship.
We also don’t like to be the only money in the deal and look at the founder/team’s ability to raise money from others.
In your experience, what mistake do most people make where their personal finances are concerned?
Not all spends are the same, and learning how to distinguish between good & bad spend is an important skill that only comes with exposure & experience. Savings are an outcome of that process.
A friend of mine took a unique approach to teach her kids the value of money and how to spend well. When her kids turned 13 years old, they were given two choices a) receive a small allowance and have other necessities covered by the parents i.e. food at home, clothing, books, movies, entertainment etc. OR receive a substantially larger allowance, but they are then responsible for everything (except food at home). Naturally the kids gravitated towards the larger allowance and after faltering for a month or two, they learnt that they needed to plan ahead and budget and build the willpower to avoid impulsive purchases. This also required the parents to be strong and not bail the kids out when they didn’t budget, but it’s still early enough in life that those mistakes aren’t substantial, but the learnings are.
What is your take on saving money vs investing it?
Investing is the job you give your (saved) money to perform. And like any boss guiding his/her employee, you have to guide your money towards growth, with a balanced risk-taking approach. I don’t see it saving vs. investing.
Each person’s financial situation (income, stability etc.) would define his/her risk appetite and that should be factored into any such decision.
What 3 things would you like to teach your children about money?
- Don’t let money define you, but don’t take it for granted
- It’s a powerful weapon that will destroy you or help you, so learn to use it well
- Don’t be shy to talk about money, but don’t focus on who has how much, instead focus on what is achieved by how much
In this overwhelming world of finance, what advice would you give someone to set financial goals?
It’s never too late to learn how to get your financial affairs in order, and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for genuine help.
Financial Gym’s (one of our portfolio companies) business model is built on helping individuals get savvier about their financials, set goals, and build a roadmap to achieve them. (www.financialgym.com). Their clients range from 18 to 72-year-olds, from trust-fund kids to $40k/year salaried individuals.
Hope you enjoyed reading the answers. If you have any questions or doubts, please leave a comment below!