What is your investment process and how long does it take?
These answers vary from company to company, but there are some basic steps everyone goes through. While we often try to move at the pace of the founder, an important rule applies: the less time we have to make a decision, the more conviction we have to feel about a company. Sometimes we spend months developing a relationship (which, honestly, we prefer). Sometimes we move from intro to close in under a week. Generally speaking, here’s what you can expect:
- Initial meeting: In advance of an initial meeting, we’ll look at any materials sent by the founder, determine whether the business fits our basic investment criteria, and try to ensure it’s not directly competitive with any of our existing investments. Your first meeting (or phone call) with a member of the investment team will typically be between 45 minutes and an hour. We let the founder do most of the talking, and hope they use the opportunity to dig into the specifics of their team and business.
- Second meeting: Most of our “passes” occur after the initial meeting. If you’ve made it past that meeting, you’ll spend more time with your Olam Capital point partner as we both continue to learn more about each other. This is our chance to focus in on particular areas of the business where we have questions — and for founders to ask us more about Olam Capital, what working with us is like, and what they could expect as a member of our community.
- Follow-up: Our partnership makes all decisions as a team. So, we often introduce promising founders to other members of the Olam Capital network for an additional conversation. We often like to introduce the founder to the network member who has the “most skepticism” about the company at this point – as it ensures that all questions are addressed and gives us the ability to probe more deeply into the core assumptions of the business for an hour.
- Partner meeting: If these conversations go well for both of us, we’ll typically make some reference/diligence calls and invite you to meet with the rest of the partners at our twice-weekly investment meeting. Here, you’ll have about an hour to tell your story to the entire partnership and answer questions. Typically, we fund about half of the companies that make it to our partner meeting.
- Final Decision: After your presentation, our partnership will discuss your company in great detail with the goal to give you a final answer usually within 24 hours of the meeting.
How should I get in touch with Olam?
Ideas are easy to describe on paper. People are not. That’s why we value referrals from people we know and trust. This includes people leading and employed by Olam Capital companies, angel investors, other entrepreneurs, service providers like lawyers, accountants, bankers, recruiters, etc. It gives us more data to work with.
A direct referral will get a quicker response, but don’t be afraid to email us yourself. We know good ideas can come from anywhere, so our partners review every single investment opportunity we receive, whether it’s through a warm intro or cold outreach.
Do you invest outside of the United States?
Yes, we will consider investments anywhere in the world. Having built global logistics businesses from the ground up, our partnership has extensive contacts across the Americas, Europe and Asia.