From Entrepreneur to Investor: Loncar Highlights the Prep Work a Founder Should Do Before a Pitch
Early in his career, Serge Loncar worked for well-established companies such as Pepsi and Johnson & Johnson, where he received top-notch training in product and brand marketing. As he progressed in his professional journey, Loncar shifted gears to work with startups that were eventually acquired by larger corporations. Finally, he embarked on an entrepreneurial path, founding a digital health company that was ultimately acquired in 2018, the year he also joined JumpStart NJ.
Why did you join JumpStart NJ?
Having presented my company as an entrepreneur on two separate occasions, I was struck by the group's professionalism and amiable nature. It was evident to me that this was a community I wanted to join after selling my company.
Why were you interested in angel investing initially?
I enjoy learning and meeting new people, as well as problem-solving, which is why I find angel investing exciting. Within the first year I have found that I prefer to invest in companies where I can contribute beyond just providing funding.
Tell us about a noteworthy investment you made through JumpStart NJ.
Since joining Jumpstart NJ, I have been averaging one investment per year. My first investment was an exciting product category, and I was eagerly anticipating the journey ahead with the founding team. However, the company was acquired by a unicorn for talent acquisition purposes within eight months. While the investment yielded a positive return on investment, I couldn't help but feel a tinge of disappointment at the missed opportunity for a potentially thrilling ride.
What is the most common mistake a founder makes when seeking funding?
I have observed a few common areas where founders could enhance their approach. Firstly, I have found that many struggle with succinctly presenting their problem-solution proposition, often diverting onto irrelevant tangents. Secondly, while founders usually excel at creating a value proposition for their target customers, they may overlook the importance of catering to the investor as a critical customer. Lastly, it's important for entrepreneurs to remember that while their company is undoubtedly personal and close to their heart, angel investors also have a personal stake (their money) in the venture and should therefore be treated with equal care and respect.
Advice for someone about to present to JumpStart or another angel fund?
It's crucial to thoroughly research the investment group and identify individuals whose backgrounds align with your company's needs. Once you have identified a potential ally, it's advisable to invest time in researching them in detail and aim to meet with them before the pitch. The goal is to build a rapport and convert them into a staunch advocate for your cause within the investment group, including becoming the potential lead.
How do you spend your free time when not angel investing?
My favorite activity is having meaningful conversations with friends over a good meal. I also enjoy mentoring aspiring founders as it’s a rewarding activity that not only provides an opportunity to learn and stay updated on the latest developments but also facilitates the chance to meet interesting individuals. On my daily walks, I make it a point to listen to a new podcast each day, seeking inspiration and gaining new knowledge. I also enjoy playing tennis, and watching and playing soccer.