Notes from the SouthStart Sessions: Leni Mayo, Founding Investor 99Designs

Leni Mayo’s presentation on investment was fascinating for me — because I’m not an investor, and not likely to be any time soon. But it’s great to hear about the nature of investment, and what it means for those who are interested in treading that path.


Journeys, inspiration, insights:
Leni Mayo, Founding Investor of 99Designs

  • Trust, empathy, patience, adaptation, perspective, mirroring, and response: key things investors need, and key things investors do
  • Leadership factors are the same as investment factors
  • Leadership is a key part of investing
  • The lead investor steps up first, sets price and terms, and serves on the Board of a company
  • Follow investors rely on the leader to do due diligence, and are easier to find
  • Agree on the vision
  • Investors will spend time with a company and get to know them before deciding whether to invest, because agreement on vision and values is important
  • It’s a global funding market; you need to be the best in the world, not just the best in Australia
  • Understand what you’re trying to do before looking for cash: pin down your growth story
  • Even if it’s wrong, have a direction
  • When you recognise your direction is wrong, move quickly
  • Having a really clear vision is important.

Did you get something different? Leave your notes in the comments.

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