37 ANGELS TALKS WITH Acacia Lawrie
Acacia is an angel investor with a longstanding passion for growing businesses. Her previous experiences range from investment banking in the infrastructure space, accounting and taxation services for private enterprises and managing a non-for-profit business council. Having spent 8 years living and working in Mexico and Brazil, Acacia maintains an active interest in Latin America and emerging economies. Acacia has been a 37 Angel member since Spring 2016. You can connect with Acacia here.
AS AN INVESTOR
How did you get into angel investing?
I have always been fascinated with the idea of starting and growing a business. When I moved to New York I thought it was a great opportunity to learn more in the sophisticated start-up ecosystem that exists in the city.
What inspired you to become a member of 37 Angels?
I joined 37 Angels as I was interested in the Bootcamp in order to put some formal ideas around how to evaluate potential opportunities. I also appreciate the curated deal flow that the 37 Angel's team pre-qualifies for the pitch forums and the ability to leverage the knowledge of the group when undertaking due diligence on the potential deals.
What are some of the key characteristics you look for when investing?
The quality of the team, the size of the potential market, how much progress has already been made and that the financial aspects of the deal make sense.
What types of traits do you look for in founders?
I look for a founder/ founders who have complementary skills and work well together. I want someone who has sales skills, is passionate about their industry and product and who I look forward to working with for the next 5 - 10 years.
What is the biggest risk you've taken?
Moving to Mexico City upon my completing my professional accounting studies and effectively leaving behind the well-defined career path that I may have followed at my big 4 accounting firm in Australia.
What is the most important advice would you give to aspiring angels?
Just start. That is make a small step towards this goal - attend a local pitch forum, start following the blog of a well-known investor, read a book, anything really that gets you moving in the right direction.
What is a major warning sign/ red flag for you when looking at a new company?
Trying to raise too little capital. Fundraising is a time-consuming process so you want to be able to close your round and return 100% focus to the business. Your competitors will be stronger if they have more cash than you behind them.
Which industries are you most excited about right now?
I consider myself sector-agnostic but I think the Biotech and Fintech spaces are compelling.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Not being afraid to put myself out there as a total beginner in a new field. This has enabled me to learn some very interesting skills over the years. I am fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and now my curiosity has me involved in angel investing!
AS AN INDIVIDUAL
Where have you traveled that has most impressed you?
What’s your favorite film(s)?
Love Actually is a all time favorite but I am all about Netflix/Amazon these days - Hannah Gadsby's comedy special 'Nanette' and the series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
What’s your favorite book(s)?
For angel investing - Venture Deals by Jason Mendelson and Brad Feld and Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou.
Favorite New York Moment:
Staring in total awe at the collections of Japanese woodblock prints and Impressionist art in The Met.
Favorite event you attended this year:
Sunday brunch with live gospel music at Ginny's Supper Club, Harlem.
Favorite pass-time activity: