Inside an investor's mind: tips from one Jacksonville financier

Special Jim Philip, a partner with Harbor View Advisors in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Special

Jim Philip, a partner with Harbor View Advisors in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Aug 19, 2015, 2:05pm EDT UPDATED: Aug 20, 2015, 9:59am EDT

Colleen Michele Jones

Reporter- Jacksonville Business Journal

Pitching to investors can be an intimidating exercise for the fledgling entrepreneur. Creators need to come to the table prepared and ready to answer the tough questions financiers will ask.

“There’s no shortage of good ideas out there,” said Jim Philip, a partner at Harbor View Advisors in Ponte Vedra Beach, which invests in early- to mid-stage companies. “It’s how you make yourself and your idea stand out.”

Philip was one of the speakers at “Inside an Investor’s Mind,” a special meetup hosted by innovation lab Ignite Tuesday, and he shed light on some of the ways investors evaluate companies and their potential to succeed in the marketplace.

A few key takeaways:

  • Keep it simple. “Overly complex ideas just don’t get done, at least not in Jacksonville ... maybe in Silicon Valley ... and they have to have enough value so you can get enough people signed up right away.”
  • Have an understanding of the unit economics of your business; unit economics is what drives return on investment and what investors will consider their “bottom line.” “About half of the business ideas we see have upside-down unit economics,” Philip said. “If that’s the case, it’s not a viable business.”
  • If you have a tech-driven idea, you should have a tech founder on your team. “It doesn’t mean that you need to be writing all the code, but you need to understand the concept and be able to explain how it works and why it solves a problem,” Philip said.
  • Surround yourself with a good team that you trust, one that knows how to prioritize tasks and make the case for why yours is the team that can execute this particular idea.
Colleen covers the innovation economy, focusing on technology, start ups, finance and health care.