The Investor Acquisitions
SVP Digital Strategy
SVP Digital Strategy
Growth Marketing expert with over 10 years of experience leading Marketing Agency, Ad Network, and in-house Brand Marketing Teams. Jason is an expert in digital channels including Search Engines, Social Media Platforms, Programmatic Ad Exchanges, Influencer Networks, Email Automation, Content Marketing, and Partnerships. Jason’s accomplishments in these disciplines include surpassing industry performance benchmarks with both Fortune 500 companies and scaling startups, alike. Over the past 6 years Jason has worked with over 400 brands, many of which in the FinTech vertical and over 175 focused on Investor Acquisition initiatives associated with 9-figures of funding. DNA has developed unique first party investor data that has been instrumental in the success of these campaigns across Regulation A+, CF, and D raises. Jason has been showcased in Panel and Individual presentations at a high volume of Tech and Marketing conferences, along with his “Test. Optimize. Scale.” Podcast. He is also committed to a number of Thought Leadership content projects for 2020, including the Forbes Agency Council. Jason manages a Los Angeles team with experience in all aspects of the user journey.
Scott Allen has over 25 years' experience as an entrepreneur, startup executive, advisor, and consultant, with extensive experience in highly regulated industries including finance and healthcare. He co-authored the first book on social media marketing, The Virtual Handshake, and is a contributing author to over a dozen books on marketing and entrepreneurship.
E5A Integrated Marketing
Andrew Corn is the CEO of E5A Integrated Marketing, a systematic, data-driven investor acquisition-focused agency that assists firms with raising assets or capital, engaging in outreach to prospective shareholders or clients, and launching new products. His experience spans several industries, including advertising, marketing, software development and investing. Previously, Andy was the CIO for E5A Funds LLC, a firm specializing in alternative investments and after-tax alpha strategies. He also served as CIO for equities at Beacon Trust Company, CEO of Clear Asset Management, and SVP for Corporate Marketing for TheStreet.com. Prior to that he was EVP Digital for Citigate which purchased his software firm MasterApproach and was the CEO/Head of Strategy for the agency Admaster Communications.
CEO and Co-Founder
CEO and Co-Founder
Oscar is currently one of the Top 10 Global Thought Leaders in Equity Crowdfunding, a Top 5 Fintech Influencer, Top 10 Blockchain and a Top 50 InsureTech. He has published an eBook that has been downloaded in over 20 countries, and been distributed by partners worldwide. Oscar is a featured speaker on Fintech, regulated, equity crowdfunding, compliance, shareholder management, investor relations, and transparency in the USA, Australia, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia and China. He speaks to audiences covering alternative finance, RegTech, insurance, banking, legal, and crowdfunding. Oscar also advises the world’s leading research, accounting, law firms and insurance companies on the impact Fintech, RegTech, LegalTech, InsurTech and OrgTech is having in their business.
Andy is a marketer and entrepreneur from Chicago. He is currently President of Forward Progress where he oversees the firm's Investor Acquisition Marketing practice. Prior to Forward Progress, Andy built and sold several marketing and marketing technology firms focused on driving revenue at the intersection of great content and data.
Richard Heft is co-founder and president of Ext. Marketing Inc., a full-service marketing firm that helps financial services firms achieve their marketing strategy, communications and regulatory objectives, and serves many of the world's largest tier-one banks and insurers, mutual fund companies, private equity firms, hedge funds and credit unions. Ext. Digital, Ext. Marketing’s digital arm, has been at the forefront of the investor marketing industry since 2016, enabling new digital ways for Reg A+, pre-IPO and publicly listed companies to syndicate their investment stories to multiple channels, generate corporate awareness and attract potential retail investors. Prior to founding Ext. Marketing, Richard owned and ran Integrated Corporate Communications (ICC), which was launched in 2006 to provide top-quality writing, editing, branding, project management, graphic design, web design and print services to the financial services and insurance sectors. ICC's client list included some of the world's largest companies. In 2021, Richard and his co-author, Andrew Broadhead, published The Ascendant Advisor, which provides financial and insurance advisors with marketing and content strategies they can easily use to grow their businesses. Richard is frequently quoted in the Building your Business section of Investment Executive.
Oscar Jofre 00:00
All right. Good afternoon. I told you we’d be back. Sorry, just it’s a new program we’re trying out. Thank you, everyone, for being patient with us through this. Just a little minor hiccup. They’re just getting adjusted. We’re, for some reason, we ended up getting over. And I know you’re all probably doing the math; where did it happen? So I have a really good suspicion that was the regulations; it was my fault there. So thank you for bearing with us. Now, you’ve heard, you know, we’ve gone through the regulations, we’ve gone through the stats we’ve, we’ve heard from an entrepreneur. Now you’re going to hear about the people that really make it happen. And I have, I have no quarrels about this. I don’t have any disregard for the funding portals or the broker-dealers; what they do is extremely important. But make no mistake, all the pressure is on this group. This is the group that actually brings and brings that awareness creates the story and all about the passion, meet the investor acquisition. Jason, the floor is yours.
Jason Fishman 01:03
Excellent. Excellent. Thanks for that introduction there, Oscar. That definitely sets the stage. Those are the conversations that we’re in, and let the other panelists speak for themself as well. But on a daily basis. My name is Jason Fishman; I run an agency called DNA out of Los Angeles, California. We’ve worked on 200 equity crowdfunding campaigns to date and collectively have raised nine figures of capital. Everything I talk about today will be based on insights from those experiences.
I want to go over the questions the thought processes that we get from entrepreneurs, from founders, from dreamers, and be able to dive in there with recommendations—excited about the panel today. Scott, Richard, first time being here. Richard, we had a great panel about a month ago. Andrew, I think we’re doing this on a regular basis.
Andrew Corn 01:54
My wife’s already jealous.
Jason Fishman 01:57
Well said. Andrew, do you want to kick things off? Talk about your background, and Scott, Richard, we’ll take it from there.
Andrew Corn 02:03
Yeah, I don’t know why you picked me to do it, knowing what a pain in the neck I am. So I’m Andrew Corn. I think this is my first time ever on a KoreSummit. So I’m very pleased to be here. I am the founder and chief strategist at E5A. We are a systematic data-driven investor acquisition firm. We’ve been involved in little more than $2 billion supporting those races, Reg D, Reg A plus, and also exchange-traded products. And I’m a former Portfolio Manager, multi-factor model guide. I’ve also been Chief Marketing Officer of two public companies and ran an agency prior to this. So anyway, very glad to be here. But notice I use the word support. Only broker-dealers and platforms raise money; what our job is is to figure out who you want to market to, convince them to come and visit your offering page, to click Oscar’s invest button, and then to complete their investment. But we have nothing to do with raising money if that is only done by broker-dealers and by platforms. And if Sara’s listening, hopefully, she’s very proud of my saying that. Sara Hanks, the attorney I’m talking about there.
Jason Fishman 03:35
Excellent. Excellent. Exactly. I like to give all credit to the founders at that too. We’re working on their behalf and, as you said, Andrew, portals, broker-dealers. Scott, want to welcome yourself to the audience? tell a bit about your background.
Scott Allen 03:50
Sure. Happy to be here. Andrew and I have been on a panel before on a previous KoreSummit. Listen, I gotta say Andrew jokes about being his first KoreSummit. I get to tell you a whole lot of what I learned about IA; I learned from watching every single panel that Andrew Corn did, as done on the KoreSummits going back a while. My background, I started my first business while I was in college and have been in and around the healthcare space a lot of my career—a very zigzag career with a few bumps in the road and a few loop de loops. And in the 2000s, I worked with a company called public company management corporation with a friend and colleague, Steven Brock, and got in the security space then and worked with quite a few of those companies, reconnected with Steven a year and a half ago, and getting into the space and really being able to do a lot of the things with Reg A that we were unable to do with over the counter markets in the 2000s. Really excited about this space and have really focused on doing a very focused offering in the healthcare space. We’ve got an active raise going and a couple of more that are in the prep phase, large, you know, large, mid-seven, mid-eight figure raises that we’re preparing for. And I’m with [uncertain] network. I had built my own agency as CEO and was quickly outrunning myself and found someone who could bring some additional resources to it. So I did; I had my exit strategy and got acquired by [uncertain] network, which is where I’m running the investor acquisition program now.
Jason Fishman 05:47
Very nice, very nice. And Richard, want to give it a bit about your background for listeners before we dive into the topics?
Richard Heft 05:58
Sure. Thanks, Jason. I’m Richard Heft; I’m co-founder and president of EXT Marketing, which was founded over 12 years ago. I have an extensive history in financial services, communications, and marketing as anybody who knows me. That is really my background. But our company EXT Digital has been around for about five years; we offer Pay Per Click services using native ads that target retail investors through our private marketplace. We also have an offering that disseminates our clients’ news through financial influencers or influencers across a number of platforms like, say, TikTok’s and Twitter’s and Facebook’s, etc. So that’s pretty much the 30-second elevator pitch about me, and I just want to thank Oscar on the rest of the KoreConX team for inviting me to attend this great event. Great to see all of you other panelists.
Jason Fishman 06:57
Absolutely, Richard, excited to be on the panel with you again. There were different speakers switched out. It is a delight to see you sitting here. I also want to applaud Oscar and the entire KoreConX team for putting these events together in the community, you know, at these milestones to see his higher success rate industry-wide.
Richard Heft 07:18
I’ve never thought of myself as that forgettable. And you know, one month later, and I’m already out of the picture.
Jason Fishman 07:25
Not at all, not at all. I want a smaller device today, actually at a client’s office, traveling for a conference, small thumbnail, but no, excited about it. And you brought a lot of great stories to the table last time. Looking forward to seeing where the chat can go today. And for everyone who’s tuning in, you’ve seen all of these panels, as Oscar said about your setup. We’re now going to talk about the investor acquisition. But want to begin with the question, what is that? What is investor acquisition? How does it take place? Yes, everyone wants to bring, you know, different individuals into the filing, you know, but how does it take place? And where does planning begin? Open question.
Andrew Corn 08:11
Well, I’m glad to jump in on what the definition of investor acquisition is. It is a phrase that I came up with about a year and a half ago and was pushing Oscar to switch from calling it marketing to this. We are a very focused acquisition company. And a lot of people, when they’re doing marketing and advertising, they talk about brand, and building brand and building trust. And those are all things that are part of investor acquisition. But we are essentially measured by how much money we raised. And at the end of the day, you can look at every KPI possible. And you know how people are measuring success. But it all comes down to how much money has been raised. We generally focus on larger raises; we’re doing some 75 and some 50s now, and a couple of smaller ones. But anyway, if someone’s doing 50, and we raise 45, that is not fulfilling the mission. So essentially, you need to look at what will the median be? And how much are you raising? How many investors does that take to get there? Is the field of prospective investors big enough to fill that? So basically, investor acquisition is making sure that someone signs and completes their application to be an investor and funds it. And what we assure people is that hey, if someone does that, they probably have a very high view of your brand as well. So that’s where we kind of say brand takes a slight backseat because there’s a very specific goal and in a very specific timeframe as well. Generally, brand advertising has a lot more runway than we do.
Jason Fishman 10:12
Excellent. And I just got a note that Andy Angelos is also here. I think Richard and Andy’s pictures were jumping off for me. So I want to give a bit of background there as well. Sorry to skip you and talk about how you guys set up investor acquisition campaigns where the planning begins. Some of the questions you guys get asked on a daily basis from prospective issuers?
Andy Angelos 10:37
Yeah, sure. I’m happy to jump in. I just thought that I should have used Andrew, and then I could have had two confusions with Andrew and Richard. So there you go. Anyway, I’m with Forward Progress. So the company, we’re a marketing agency, we’ve been around for 20 years. Prior to the past few, when we’ve gotten really into Reg D, Reg CF, Reg A plus, we were still in the finance world. But we were mainly working for banks, community banks, doing loan origination and other things, but from the marketing perspective, so a lot of those tools and strategies and tips kind of transferred into that. I’ve been running agencies of various sorts in Chicago for the past ten years. Everything from content to data plays to now this. But anyway, that’s the short bio, in reference to your question about what people want to know beforehand. I think one of the biggest questions is people want to put us on the spot for what things cost. So that’s kind of the first question that you get before you even know a lot about the company is, well, what’s all this going to cost? And there are many variables that can go into that. The main one is kind of what the company is starting with from the beginning. Doing this as a cold start, I think, our experience has been that it’s incredibly difficult, challenging. So anything you can do from customer acquisition, testing the waters, or building up a community of people that are aware. So then your remarketing when a campaign or an offering goes live is going to, you know, definitely decrease what you have. So that’s the first question that I like to start with or talk through is like, well, what are you doing today to prepare for the eventual capital raise?
Jason Fishman 12:25
Excellent, excellent, great answers, both of you. By the way, Andrew, I was looking through a booth bill that we had in 2018. And it said scalable investor acquisition, and that was for a conference in Thailand for digital assets. I thought of that because I was trying to remember where the investor acquisition terms come from, but I know you built the whole thing within this community and for RegA plus campaigns. And again, the insights are, I think, very well received by the audience. Scott, Richard, when you guys get asked about your investor acquisition process, how do you describe it? Where does it begin?
Richard Heft 13:02
Yeah, oh, sorry, Scott. You know, for us, it’s really about, you know, what the client’s objectives are? How well built out, I think Andy mentioned brand messaging, what their targets are, who their target investors are, and for us, it’s all that front-end work. That goes into creating a campaign, the lead funnels, and all the rest, but it really starts with where are they positioned in the marketplace? Who are they targeting? What types of lead funnels can we create, retail or accredited, because most of the clients that come to us are targeting the smaller retail investors. Then how we’re going to get their ads and their message in front of the right investor so that we do a lot of key messaging and branding, to ensure that we know what the competitive environment looks like, what the target investor looks like, we’ll create personas and all that type of stuff. That’s really the first stage. But of course, as the price, there’s the metrics and KPIs and all of those things that the client always asks us first about. And we try to give them as much information as possible without obviously being over [uncertain] and that type of thing.
Scott Allen 14:32
I think I’d just add that our approach is a lot of what Richard just described. The big thing for us is that it really depends on the stage of the business. An established business that already has customers in a pipeline and website and funnels for that is in a completely different situation than many of the clients we deal with who are in the healthcare space and very often pre-revenue. And very often, they have a website that was put up by an intern or a relative of the founders. And so a lot of times, we actually have to kind of work both, at least to some degree, even though they’re not attracting clients, right now, we actually have to think in terms of the web design in terms of serving those different constituencies of potential future customers, and having a website that is also built for that possibility, as well as then creating a unique track and messaging for investor acquisition. And in particular, when you’re talking about these pre-revenue companies, you actually have to do a lot of the brand building. Because just driving a campaign out of nowhere, the retail investors’ due diligence is going to consist of a Google search. And they want to see social proof that this company is out there and find some additional story, etc. So we are we you know, we do tie in PR, actually, even prior to the launch of getting some exposure out there so that there is so there’s some that social proof at the time of launch, for for that retail investor due diligence.
Jason Fishman 16:23
And social proof is such a great point to bring up. I know when we’re getting these campaigns, when we started strategy, we map out the audiences, the channels, we want to use the creative want to emphasize the projections, the numbers we’re looking to produce. But you know, the biggest variable in the projections is the conversion rate. The biggest thing we can do to increase the conversion rate, in many cases, is showcase more social proof, more third-party validation that this is going to happen; this is a moving vehicle. How do you guys go about generating that type of endorsement? How do you guys build social proof whether we’re talking about publishers, different investment groups, investment email newsletters, or anyone that’s industry-specific, saying, hey, these guys, they’re disruptive, what they’re doing is going to be big? How do you produce that?
Richard Heft 17:16
At our company, we sort of spoke earlier about the financial influencers. So we’ve spent a lot of time building a proprietary network of influencers with very engaged followers; they tend to act in relatively large numbers accordingly to what these fin fluencers are telling them. So you know, they’ll see something like, check out what’s going on in the cannabis space in Canada. And then, you know, we’ll set up the landing page and really try to optimize the news that these financial influencers are disseminating. We found that can be a very powerful way to get a message out and build credibility.
Scott Allen 18:10
For us being in the healthcare space, a big thing for us is identifying the specialties related to whatever the pharmaceutical or medical device product is. So, you know, let’s say it’s a cardiology-related device. What we’re going to do is we’re going to, we’re going to identify that segment, and all the different places that we can identify and target that segment, in sort of your, in your usual channels, targeting that way and also doing some direct outreach, email, etc. A big thing for us also, though, is actually going to the professional associations, nonprofit associations, and trade journals in that space. So again, you’re going to go to the American Heart Association. We can go and advertise directly there, we can advertise directly in their journal, we can also go on Facebook and find people who like the American Heart Association, those kinds of things. And so, that’s a really big part, doing that outreach. And again, you’re looking for some to create some content in that space in those channels. Before the launch, I think, you know, again, we’re talking about, and this is one of the things I’d love to see; I’d love to see all of us actually be able to come together. You know, we all know that higher brand awareness and higher brand quality and brand reputation drives higher return on ad spend, and every single person here, we all know that. I’d love to actually have the data to really back that up on a large scale, particularly in this space so.
Jason Fishman 19:58
We can share some numbers with you. After this, we could work on a study together. Okay, measuring the awareness, how that means predictions for an existing audience, the traffic that conversions, I think that’s a great thing to collaborate on. And by those insights,
Andrew Corn 20:15
I think that every deal is different when it comes to conversions. You know, advertising is broken down into two categories reach and frequency. So, actually, earlier today, someone said, Oh, look, in the Science category, within Reddit, there are 30 million people interested in science; that’s a place we don’t want to go. And everyone’s like, well, 30 million people, that’s a huge audience, why wouldn’t want to be there? Well, the average person needs to see the message eight times before, they will click on it, and source on that as the American Association of advertising agencies, which has been a client of ours. And anyway, I’m not going to get eight ad impressions against 30 million people very quickly without spending an awful lot of money. So, you know, we have to be much more narrow than that. So it comes down to, and everyone’s saying it just slightly different ways, comes down to affinity and data. So you know, when Scott says, Oh, I’m going to go to the American Heart Association, that’s great to get within industry or kind of trade, verification. And that’s a really good social proof point to some other people’s language. For us, it’s how much of that do we need and how much of that is too much. We don’t particularly speak to the press directly. I was kind of a shameless self-promoter, as an equity portfolio manager, I’m sure shocking to everyone here, and also as Chief Marketing Officer of a financial news company. So I know a lot of reporters. But we bring in a PR firm, and the PR firm differs by deal based on what the needs of the client are. And the same thing in social media, which it might be the PR firm, might be a separate company, there are several we really like to work with. But then it’s a question of what is their goal? Because once we get those proof points, what are they going to do next? Or do we not need them anymore? So we need to look at that and see what’s the ROI on that. One of the things I said earlier, unlike a normal campaign, you’re doing the Reg A plus from the day you go live, you have 12 months, you don’t have a 13 month, you can extend you can do another Reg A plus or extend your Reg A plus for another year. But again, that is not fulfilling our obligation. So we look at each of these is how do they contribute to that data and affinity? And then make sure that we were heading to the right goal?
Jason Fishman 22:57
Andy, anything to add to that?
Andy Angelos 23:00
Um, yeah, I mean, I think I agree with parts of what everyone was saying. I think once you figure out that, the narrow casting, that small audience that you need to get the impressions with, your conversion can be optimal. I think it’s good to be as omnipresent as possible in that world. So people see news, they see milestones, they see traction, they see advertising, and from the end-user, the prospective investor, regardless of how big or what’s actually happening with the company, it gives them a sense that there’s a lot of momentum and then creates an urge to act. So that’s an approach whether it’s, you know, capital raising, or any type of, or investor acquisition or any type of margin. I think that’s a good strategy to take. So I agree with what everyone’s saying. And we’ve had a lot of success in the influencer space as well, specifically with early-stage campaigns where the company doesn’t have a lot of equity or brand trust built up. If we get someone that does have that trust with their audience to give an endorsement, we can really ride that to a level where we actually do have the credibility that we need. So that’s been a tactic that we’ve used in these, you know, a company that’s really doing a true cold start; they’re starting from zero with a first race.
Andrew Corn 24:20
And I just want to interject; everyone here has a very different job than if someone’s on one of the big portals. You know, someone will say, Oh, well, we raised a million dollars to the CF on seed invest or start engine or whatever. And I’m like, Well, yeah, so you did something really small. That doesn’t mean it’s going to scale. They generally refer to it as the candy store thing. They can run a candy store, doesn’t mean they can do my job there. Once you’re raising a lot of money, you need a firm like mine or a firm like all the people on this panel, who all do a really good job. So taking that and scaling that, so that you have 10,000 investors, 20,000 investors, you know, think of the media on that at 50 or 75 million, you’re talking about 1000s of people converting, and not just clicking invest button, but signing and completing and sending their money. So it is a much, much, much different job than someone doing the CF.
Scott Allen 25:27
Yeah, I’d like to hop in on that. And that’s, Andy, that’s something you and I have discussed before. But I think that’s a great point that you might actually be able to raise $5 million off of one email list and a Facebook campaign; you’re not going to raise $50 million off of that. You are talking multi-channel, even you’re talking multi-channel, and then multi sub-channels, you’re not going to get it off a one email list, you’re not going to get it off of one social media platform, you’re going to need to find other places, you know, we all have our usual suspects, we’re always going to go and run something on Facebook, or you know, wherever else that you know, some of these other pretty proven general channels. But every one of them, there’s going to be some channel that’s going to be unique to that offering, that you’re going to go and have to be finding. And if it’s, you know, you maybe have to look at it at content promotion on [uncertain], Outbrain, or whatever, you’ve got to look across all of these different channels. And I think that’s, that’s a big thing. And the other thing I’d also say with it is that, to your point about that these may not be immediate buys. This is a long term thing; you’ve also got to have the tracking in there, the tracking and marketing automation, or whatever you want to call it for, to do the follow-ups for the retargeting in and abandoned carts and all the other things that we can do with digital marketing to sustain the relationship and get them back in. And that’s, again, something you’re not going to typically get in a portal or on a DIY raise, tying in HubSpot or Salesforce, whatever you’re talking about doing to, to drive that piece of it
Jason Fishman 27:18
It’s all in that follow-up. Oh, it was all in the follow-up, as Andrew said, a check the eighth time that you reach a prospective investor, as Richard was talking about funnels, it is all in that lower-funnel marketing,
Richard Heft 27:32
The only thing I was going to add is, is it’s also about, and this is where we’ve had a lot of success is optimization, optimizing the landing page, optimizing the different ads, and being agile and course-correcting where when you’re on one of the platforms or when your content isn’t hitting the mark, all things being equal, you can update the content, you can update the platforms, you can update how you’re activating the ads. And all of this is available through A B testing. So it’s the old ways. You don’t have to look at these things, the old ways anymore, where if something isn’t working, it may not be working over the long term. You can test and repeat or test and update a lot, you know, maybe the brand key messaging, you have to adjust it. We’re doing a bit of research right now ourselves on the industry best practice for user experience for retail investors, where they where they’re going online, what they want to see, what’s grabbing their attention because we have found there’s been inadequate research in that area. And we want to sort of we want to see where people are going as well as giving up sort of the retail investors versus accredited investors and those types of things.
Scott Allen 27:32
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s such a great point. And one of the questions we get from clients sometimes is, well, why can’t we front-load this? Why can’t we go and start spending 100,000, 200,000, 300,000 a month in ads in those first couple of months and blow it out of the water upfront? And I mean, I get the I mean, I just sit there and think about a couple of examples we’ve had recently. I mean, we had, you know, we’ve had a client where we did a suite made a 700% improvement in their campaign. It took us two months of checking it every week to get that, we got to a 700% improvement campaign. We had another client, and we had a 30% improvement in their campaign just by swapping out the images and making one little tweak to their images. And so when you’re talking about that, you don’t you want to do that when you’re spending 10, 20, 30,000 A month total and trying that out across, you know, three or four different channels. You don’t experiment at that level, and that’s what I think a lot of people don’t realize. Experimentation is required. That doesn’t mean you didn’t know what you were doing when you put out the first version; it means that I think that’s something we need to all take, you know, from an expectation setting standpoint is that we’ve got to set the expectations for that with the clients from really before we even signed them up.
Jason Fishman 30:21
I absolutely couldn’t agree with you more. There are assumptions going into a campaign, but you need the data to prove these channels, these audiences, this messaging, that’s where we’re getting the highest conversion rate. And as Andrew was saying, each deal is different. We’re going to see different performances on each of these. Everyone on this panel is great at what they do. If an issuer is listening to us trying to plan out their campaign, I want to make sure we’re not painting too pretty of a picture. Not every campaign hits its goals; there are inherent obstacles with fundraising, as well as marketing. What are some of the obstacles that they should prepare for? What are some of the indicators of potential success? And how can groups prepare for their raise accordingly?
Andrew Corn 31:08
No one else wants, you know I will. So seasonality is actually an enormous driver. We try to stay on top of holidays and school vacations and things that are going to distract people. I believe recently, there was a global pandemic, which made things really difficult and then things really easy. And now that the pendulum is swinging the other way, there are challenges. We only take clients in three different categories, which are yield products, innovation, and ESG. And frequently, we look for things that are two or three of those categories. And then we vet our companies. I’m a former Portfolio Manager, so we want to make sure and what capacity constraint we won’t take more than x number of clients at a time. So you know, we’re very careful of who we’re working with to make sure they’re extremely high probability. None of that ensures success. We have a wonderful client with an amazing product that is in market, and we are shut down by Facebook. And getting past that Facebook ban is a real problem. And it’s taken us longer than we’ve wanted. I’m probably going to drive out and shake Mark Zuckerberg personally. And, you know, that’s part of, and I know everyone else on the panel will do whatever it takes to get by that. There are bizarro things; we had Google shut down. Just one of the eight campaigns we’re running within Google. And then, bam, it came back on its own. It wasn’t even our Google rep. So there are all sorts of bumps in the road that happen. Or press got something wrong, which hasn’t happened to us. But I do see that happening. So I think each of us would have our own different battle scars from what has happened during the course of campaigns.
Richard Heft 33:22
I think. And I agree with everything Andrew just said. Given that this is a discussion about the entrepreneurs, I can tell you that the entrepreneurs we worked with are all leaders in their respective spaces with long-term experience, knowledge, smartest people on the planet. So so passionate, they understand the competitive environment, they’ve obviously done a lot of that background work. They’ve identified a problem or a need that they’re hoping to solve or address. But I think you said it, Jason, sometimes there are unrealistic expectations. Sometimes they don’t fully understand who they’re targeting in terms of investor profile. Sometimes a brand isn’t fully aligned with the product, which makes messaging and advertising and getting out there a little more challenging. So for us, it’s about identifying these areas where we can improve the brand, strengthen the brand, create a brand that resonates with an investor audience a message that should resonate platform. So, where are we working on building personas tells us these investors will be congregating to get the highest amount of impact. Best metrics possible, but it is at some point, sometimes there’s a misalignment, and we try to bridge that gap wherever possible, but entrepreneurs know what they want, and you have to work within those parameters as well.
Andy Angelos 34:58
Go ahead, sorry.
Scott Allen 35:02
Okay, I was going to say, I think platform issues is one of the biggest things that can just hit you like a, you know, like a train wreck. I mean, there are three examples I can think of. And most recently, in the past, we’ve seen Facebook advertising go up, maybe 30 to 50%, during the holiday season, this year, we doubled. This year we saw, and the whole inventory, so it doesn’t matter that you’re advertising, for investor acquisition, for some niche product, the whole inventory goes up in price when you’re on a general platform like that. And, you know, it takes you a week to see it. All of a sudden, are all of your metrics dropped by 50%, because you’ve set a budget and everything, you know, dies in a week, the, of course, the privacy issues with iOS and Facebook, and that basically just decimated our targeting ability on Facebook. I mean, there are workarounds and we’ve all been figuring those out. But it still fundamentally changed the way that we target on Facebook, LinkedIn this year. If you are running an aggressive LinkedIn campaign, then one day they just basically came along and, you know, cut your ability there by about 80%. And so you know, so if you had a great LinkedIn campaign going and all of a sudden, you know, your results, they’re dropped by 80%. You know, we have to find workarounds. But, but those kinds of things can can can just kill a channel overnight.
Jason Fishman 36:43
And we’re coming up on the last three and a half minutes here. Andy, I know you wanted to add something. I figured we can all throw in a final note, final thought, or recommendation to founders.
Andy Angelos 36:53
Yeah, I was just going to close the loop on that last conversation with Lisa, a hurdle that I see very commonly is patience. And I think that was a common thread. And what everyone was saying is that things are going to go wrong. That’s a guarantee that’s a truth in these campaigns, and having the stomach to kind of wait through that. So I think Scott’s example was waiting two months to kind of turn the campaign around. And then Andrew talking about having a Facebook, you know, account that’s just disabled, which we’ve all had, but having the patience to not completely, you know, change course and do something that might be erratic or damage the campaign in the moment because you need to hit certain milestones, I think is a challenge that we all face is like, when do you course correct? Or when do you try to push through those things? So that’s just about relationship and transparency with the entrepreneur and our firms. So I think that’s the most common hurdle that I foresee and in broad terms,
Jason Fishman 37:55
Echo that. Andrew, any final thoughts, any final recommendations from panelists in the last couple minutes here, for the entrepreneurs listening in?
Andrew Corn 38:07
I will toss something out, which is referred to as first-party data. We spend enormous amounts of time and money building, essentially, proprietary lists of angel investors of tech investors of people seeking yield people seeking tech investments. And we do that because, with first-party data, you don’t have to worry about targeting and Facebook retargeting, and Google or anything else, you’re building your own data, and starting with your own data, doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect, but it does overcome a lot of hurdles. Someone like Scott, who’s focused on medical, you can just continuously build medical, but even within that, what happens for the American Heart Association is different than diabetes that’s different than an orphan disease. So, you know, there are so many sub-niches of this, but it has really been something great for us and for our clients. And I thought it was something that I should bring to the forefront.
Richard Heft 39:14
I was just going to throw in that, although I did talk about spending a lot of time optimizing a lot of effort optimizing campaigns to get the best results. Consistency does tend to be key. In our industry, ad content creation should be about 1/3 of your effort, the ad by about two-thirds, and budget. Issuers need to understand the importance of that content. They don’t want to take a shotgun approach, of course. Being a content person like I am that I always start with content and then look at the ad buy in the other sort of effort so that that would be my sort of closing thoughts.
Jason Fishman 39:57
Excellent. Excellent. Yes. The first-party audience data has been huge for us. Anyone listening in my recommendation is getting in contact with everyone on this panel, you know, build a relationship with Andrew, contact Andy just hopped off. Scott. Richard. They’re going to give any insights that don’t show up in textbooks and not online. Legal, other groups who work in the vertical could give you little hints of it. But these are the experts who are firsthand working on these campaigns on a daily basis, I invite anyone to get in contact with me for more marketing chat as well, too. I would definitely pick everyone’s brain here and find out how they can work on your campaign. Don’t sell your brand short. Give it all the resources you can towards success and the timeline that you need.
Oscar Jofre 40:45
As perfect, guys, that was amazing. Thank you, Jason, Scott, Andrew. Andy, I know he had to leave, but I think that was a great closing, Jason, because it is true. All of you people go, what they’re competitive. They’re not they all work together. Each of them you heard, that’s why you hear different dynamics of the discussion. We’re evolving as an ecosystem. And we want you to be successful in order to be successful. Let’s not forget the first word, crowdfunding. And crowd is not just the crowd; it’s everyone involved. If your lawyer is not willing to step up and be part of that execution, or your auditor or anyone else involved, then it’s time for you to start looking somewhere else to bring this to happen. So thank you, everyone. Really appreciate this today—this afternoon. We’ll be closing this session and starting the next one right away. Thank you