A Look Inside the EPIC Ventures Funding Strategy

What we like is when somebody we know and trust that has a background in whatever you’re trying to do gets convinced and will pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey I met these guys and they have all the characteristics you’re looking for.’

Sooner or later, everyone in life needs a partner.

And for those budding entrepreneurs with a great idea but not enough capital, EPIC Ventures might be just for you.

Specializing in tech, EPIC Ventures is a Salt Lake City-based venture company searching for the newest, brightest, hardest-working entrepreneurs in need of financial backing. Got an idea? EPIC Ventures wants to hear about it. But only if it’s really good.

“The best way to pitch us is to go find one of our companies, one of our CEOs, one of our VPs, and go pitch them your story, get them excited about it, and have them call us,” Managing Director Nick Efstratis told Beehive Startups in a recent interview. “What we like is when somebody we know and trust that has a background in whatever you’re trying to do gets convinced and will pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, I met these guys and they have all the characteristics you’re looking for.’”

There are a myriad of ways to find the correct partner, just ask anybody who has struggled through the semi-seedy world of online dating. EPIC Ventures navigates numerous channels — the internet, mutual business contacts, CEO’s and entrepreneurs they have previously worked with — to narrow down investment opportunities. When a company is found and considered to be a worthwhile investment, money is taken from a fund — EPIC Ventures is currently working on their fourth — and given in exchange for a stake in that company. In addition to financial backing, EPIC Ventures also offers valuable resources to blossoming companies.

“We look for good, solid management and a track record of success,” Managing Director Kent Madsen told Beehive Startups. “Another thing we look for: Is there something we can bring to the company? We can provide intros, thoughts, and strategic relations to try and move them along…we know the right people or have some great connections so that we can immediately provide value.”

For those of you who have lived in Utah all your life, you know that there are certain things one just can’t find here, whether it’s championship-level sports — sorry Utah Jazz — or beer with a respectable alcohol content. In order to get what you want, you must sometimes leave the state. EPIC Ventures understands the value of this. A large portion of their business is done in-state, but they also won’t hesitate to jump on a deal taking them outside the friendly confines of the Beehive State.

“We prefer to be close to home, it makes it easier to work with our companies,” said Efstratis. “But after you’ve been doing this for a long time you kind of build networks all around and so we’ve done deals in other markets as well.”

With an asset portfolio spanning 20 years and startups across the western United States, EPIC Ventures is constantly searching for ideal partners. And while Series A, software-centric financing is currently their forte, finding the absolute best opportunities remains their goal. If you pitch your idea and fail, don’t give up hope — you just need to find the right partner.

“Funding companies can be a little bit like dating. Not everybody is right for each other, so it may be that a company here finds their match in the Valley or finds their match here and it makes sense. Most of the deals we do are subscription based, fully cloud-hosted and so that’s really our focus today,” said Efstratis, but also notes “we’re just looking for the best deals.”

If The Rolling Stones have taught us anything — besides how to survive 60 years of insanely hard drug abuse — it’s this: you need time on your side. This is no different in the venture community, where receiving financial backing at the wrong time can be a death blow to startup companies. But don’t just take Mick Jagger’s cocaine-riddled word for it.

“Part of the challenge for a VC is trying to figure out when is the right time to invest,” said Efstratis. “When you get venture money you go hire a team, you go hire sales guys all over, you know you’re selling the dream. And if the market’s not ready for you, then you blow through capital and then you’ll never raise money again. Or it’ll just die. And so in some ways whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re a VC… it’s all about timing.”

Don’t be afraid. If you have a good idea, do something about it. No one wants to be the person sitting at home in their underwear watching reruns of Futurama, lamenting about lost fortunes. Go find somebody important, get them excited about your idea, and move from there. Remember that just because someone doesn’t like your idea, it doesn’t mean that everyone dislikes your idea. And if you’re lucky, dedicated, and smart, EPIC Ventures could be the partner you’ve been waiting for.

Published 2/19/2015

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