Luke Hakes, Investment Director at Octopus Ventures, joined us recently to share his seed to exit story on a number of their investments.

As all of our investment currently comes from individual angel investors, community is even more important to us, which is exactly why we put on a surprise or two for our angels, connecting the best with the best in the ecosystem.

Here are our main takeaways from Luke himself.


It’s all about people

We all know that – but what should you look for? Luke talked about finding what he called the ‘honey badgers’. They’re founders that are attracting the best and brightest talent from other businesses to build and shape theirs.

It’s all about the timing

Alongside people, it’s all about timing. Market timing, expansion, trends – these all require a timely arrival at the table, or you risk derailing the business entirely. Keep an ear to the ground and press go when the time is right.

It’s not just the product

We’ve all heard stories of incredible technology-based exits, but the market is shifting. Teams are being filled out by acquirers, so something new is needed. With little low hanging fruit left, and AI all the rage right now, Luke’s advice was to find companies with a vertically integrated stack, rather than investing in just one part of it.

Leverage

Investors are going to sweat their startups – that’s a given – but they can also provide incredible leverage, especially in follow on rounds and ultimately exit. Leveraging your board at these key points can really help create market tension, and ultimately value, in any process.