Interview With Michael Saxon
Fund / GroupTrolley Ventures
Number of portfolio companies14
Focus AreasPromising Early-Stage Companies
Focus GeographiesCentral Virginia
HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET STARTED IN PRIVATE INVESTING?
The Central Virginia venture community has grown rapidly over the past several years. Unfortunately, because our region's resources have never been organized effectively, early-stage companies often seek funding from out of state. Trolley Ventures seeks to provide a better solution for both investors and companies. Investors receive a turn-key solution whereby they can diversify across many businesses through a single investment. Early-stage businesses can effectively raise the capital that they need through a single relationship and a streamlined application process.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU VALUE IN AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY?
Thats a hard question. Sometimes it’s the innovation itself and others it’s the founder that is inspiring. The best situations are when both are present.
WHAT ARE THE BEST INNOVATION THEMES THAT YOU SEE IN THE MARKET TODAY?
I believe it’s the diversity of innovations we are seeing across the region. There are the typical ones that are “in vogue” but there are others that are not.
BEYOND ECONOMIC RETURN, WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO?
As our motivation states, we want to have a positive impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Central Virginia.
WHAT ARE THE MOST PRESSING CHALLENGES OR PAIN POINTS IN MANAGING YOUR DAY-TO-DAY PRIVATE INVESTMENT ACTIVITY?
As a smaller fund with limited resources, time management is critical.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST INVESTMENT LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED AND/OR THE BIGGEST INVESTMENT MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE?
While making the initial investment in a company is hard, deciding to participating in follow-on rounds may be even harder.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE INDUSTRY INFORMATION SOURCES AND/OR SERVICES?
Having researched this during my corporate venture days, I have found Pitchbook a great resource.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NON-BUSINESS INTEREST OR HOBBY?
In addition to playing golf, I’m a big fan of the Special Olympics organization.
PLEASE LEAVE US A BOOK RECOMMENDATION (BUSINESS OR OTHERWISE).
Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE PRIVATE MARKET OVERALL?
Rise of the Revolution