Liars Aren’t Trustworthy — Surprise!

Our parent company has decades of experience structuring private credit for investors, so we sourced a few suggestions for those looking to capture high returns by lending money to companies.  Several years ago, we were approached by a small import/export consumer goods company to raise capital to build inventory. In the course of conducting our due diligence, we discovered that the More >

Liars Aren’t Trustworthy — Surprise!2021-11-18T08:43:03-05:00

Lessons from a Pro Player Turned Entrepreneur

Would you expect a pro football player to become the CEO of a successful cosmetics company?  We didn't.  But, then, we listened to his story.  And it made sense. This is an interview by Bruce Smith, Carofin’s Vice President of Investor Development, with Chris Kolodziejski, CEO and Founder of Mosaic Distributors, a developer and distributor More >

Lessons from a Pro Player Turned Entrepreneur2021-11-15T16:59:14-05:00

Identify a Market Opportunity (1st principles of investing)

Consistency is critical in our business.  When it comes to investment analysis, this “First Principle” – “What primary market opportunity is the issuer pursuing?” – is the first question successful investors apply in their consistent approach to company analyses.   Identifying the fundamental rationale for an enterprise is central to helping retain your focus on the ball.  It’s what we consider first before bringing More >

Identify a Market Opportunity (1st principles of investing)2020-12-08T15:01:53-05:00

Overcome a Challenge (1st Principles of Investing)

We all have challenges to overcome. But, when it comes to private investments, understanding the challenges a business must overcome in order to capture a market opportunity is fundamental when considering an investment in that company. In our series of articles on First Principles, we show you how to easily define the basic elements of a More >

Overcome a Challenge (1st Principles of Investing)2021-04-20T09:07:54-04:00

What do Aristotle, Charles Munger, and Thomas Edison have in common?

They all use something called First Principles to simplify complex problems. We use them for analyzing private investment opportunities. You might be surprised at how simple, yet effective, it can be.  Investment analysis can be highly challenging.  Each Issuer of securities (the company seeking your investment) is likely rather unique and is different from the previous company you analyzed. More >

What do Aristotle, Charles Munger, and Thomas Edison have in common?2020-12-08T15:26:19-05:00

Provide a Solution (1st principles of investing)

To provide value (and generate income as an individual or a business), you need to solve a problem for someone.   It’s actually why we get out of bed every day and go to work. If a company you’re looking to invest in doesn't do the same, it’s likely that company will fail.  In this series of articles on First Principles, More >

Provide a Solution (1st principles of investing)2022-05-17T15:10:27-04:00

Defaults: being reasonable can be rational

It may seem clear at first – your tenant (Jeff) signed an iron-clad lease.  Now, he hasn’t paid rent for 2 months. So, do you go through the time-consuming (and, oftentimes, expensive) process of an eviction, hoping you land a new (paying) tenant quickly, or is it more reasonable for you try to fashion a deal — one that never was envisioned in the rental agreement? More >

Defaults: being reasonable can be rational2020-12-08T15:31:51-05:00

Painting Shoes and Private Debt

My grandson asked me whether he should “give” some money for six months to some other 8th graders who had started a shoe painting business. No, I didn’t make that up. It reminded me of conversations we have every day with investors about loans to private companies. Without drawing too close a parallel, you’d probably More >

Painting Shoes and Private Debt2022-05-17T15:14:21-04:00

One Person Can’t Do It All

History is replete with famous, even eccentric, successful entrepreneurs.  But the great ones also had the capacity to motivate others to do their best, to make great personal sacrifices for the company and to stay the course during tough times (e.g., Steve Jobs).    Before making an investment in a new venture, ask whether a capable More >

One Person Can’t Do It All2020-12-08T15:47:19-05:00

Venture investing succeeds when the entrepreneur knows its customer

Psychology plays a massive role in a customer’s purchasing behavior, and consumer products companies take advantage of this. Obviously, this is not news, but any company in which you invest must have a clear understanding of what motivates potential customers to buy their products.    Are you sure that the company’s buyers are just as motivated to buy as you are to invest? Consider carefully More >

Venture investing succeeds when the entrepreneur knows its customer2020-12-08T15:49:28-05:00

How realistic is your sales pipeline?

A freight train without a track ahead is just 200 tons of metal.  Until a new Venture has a distribution channels and a robust pipeline, it's basically the same. One important aspect to determine when evaluating the future prospects of a company (and the investment you are considering) is whether the company has “laid the track” More >

How realistic is your sales pipeline?2020-12-08T15:50:17-05:00

Has the entrepreneur (you funded) ever tangled with the competition?

Are there other businesses vying for the same sale and/or aggressively protecting their turf?  Competition can limit a new venture’s success — and your investment return. So be aware of other businesses — or the status quo — before investing.  There’s good news about the competition!  More businesses are educating customers on the buying opportunity.  Unfortunately, the company must convince customers More >

Has the entrepreneur (you funded) ever tangled with the competition?2021-02-26T15:37:22-05:00

Are they ready to scale?

Any new venture can project growth.  Before investing, check the practical realities that support the 10x, 100x, 1000x growth.  All too often, the relatively mundane is ignored during the analysis process - the unexpected “snakes in the grass” often seriously derail business growth.  In general, businesses which are manufacturing a physical product are much more challenging to scale.  This is, in part, More >

Are they ready to scale?2020-12-08T15:55:09-05:00

Is this the entrepreneur’s first rodeo?

(watch 3 minute the video related to this article) Let’s start with some facts: In year one, 20% of small U.S. businesses fail. By the end of the 5th year, 50% do so.  Throw in a newbie entrepreneur, and those statistics may be generous.  Studies have pointed to a myriad of reasons; no market need, ran out of cash, and wrong team rated high on More >

Is this the entrepreneur’s first rodeo?2020-12-08T16:21:47-05:00

If you’re going to sell something, you ought to have something to sell.

(watch the 3-minute video related to this article) You may not remember what was happening in information technology around the turn of the century (It’s known as the “The dot-com bubble”). For many people, the lesson we’re talking about in this article was learned the hard way.  According to FactSet, in the early part of 2000, More >

If you’re going to sell something, you ought to have something to sell.2020-12-08T16:27:55-05:00

New Product + Market Disruption = One Tough Investment Decision

(watch the 3-minute video related to this article) If what you are investing in “rocks the world,” be prepared for the company to face unexpected challenges convincing customers.  Double any timeframe presented as well as the cost of success.   Significant sales will take longer (see  Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore) and cost more per early customer.       In our series More >

New Product + Market Disruption = One Tough Investment Decision2022-01-12T12:07:33-05:00

Customers, or a lack thereof

Sure, there may be 7 billion people in the world with close to 14B legs, but how many of those individuals will stop what they’re doing and switch to this company’s brilliant new brand of pants? Customers, or a lack thereof.  It’s why businesses thrive or eventually fold. Every business plan projects ever-increasing sales (often exhibiting More >

Customers, or a lack thereof2020-12-08T16:34:50-05:00

Red Flags in Due Diligence

We were approached by a small company in the consumer goods business looking to raise capital to build inventory.  It’s true, experience is everything, and we’re game to share.  In our normal course of conducting due diligence, we discovered that the owner of the company previously had exited and sold another business and, rather than pay federal taxes, he had More >

Red Flags in Due Diligence2022-01-12T12:39:48-05:00

Blue Sky Laws: History and Application to Private Investments

If you’re thinking of Willie Nelson crooning “Blue Skies,” you’d be in the right state of mind.  That’s because each state has its own state Securities laws, or “Blue Sky” laws, that further protect Investors from Securities fraud.   Here’s a brief overview of what those laws do for you.  More >

Blue Sky Laws: History and Application to Private Investments2020-12-08T17:09:03-05:00

What is a Balance Sheet?

Accounting 101 – Not your best subject.   But, if you intend to invest in a private company, spend a few minutes on these crib notes. They may save you a bundle down the road.  More >

What is a Balance Sheet?2020-12-09T14:47:40-05:00

“Due Diligence” and Investments: What Do I Really Need to Know?

It’s hard enough keeping this baby in running condition. But, to get the best performance, you work with your mechanic closely, asking additional questions, avoiding risks where you can.  While you rely on your mechanic, it just makes sense for you to have a deeper understanding… The same should be true of your investments.  Here More >

“Due Diligence” and Investments: What Do I Really Need to Know?2022-03-25T15:45:56-04:00

What Securities Laws and Regulations Govern Private Placements?

The Federal government, and its regulatory agencies, are hard at work protecting investors.  Here’s a handy précis of the rules and regulations that Issuers follow when introducing Private Placements. There is a broad body of law and regulations governing public Securities.  What surprises many is the extent of the same for private Securities. More >

What Securities Laws and Regulations Govern Private Placements?2020-12-18T13:43:33-05:00

What is a Broker-Dealer?

If a Broker-Dealer offers you Private Placement investment opportunities, wouldn’t you like to know that there’s some regulatory oversight over it? More >

What is a Broker-Dealer?2020-12-18T13:38:45-05:00

Regulation D, Rule 506(c) Private Placements

The information below provides a brief summary of SEC Rule 506(c) which allowed, for the first time, “general solicitations” of Private Placements to Accredited Investors. Regulation D was established by the SEC in the 1980’s to define more specifically a manner of privately offering Securities.  Most companies issuing private Securities do so by following one of More >

Regulation D, Rule 506(c) Private Placements2020-12-18T11:02:56-05:00

Regulation D, Rule 506(b) Private Placements

The following provides a brief review of the SEC Rules defining the manner of offering private Securities to Accredited Investors Regulation D was established by the SEC in the 1980’s to define, more specifically, a manner of privately offering Securities.  Most companies issuing private Securities do so by following one of the Rules within Regulation D.  More >

Regulation D, Rule 506(b) Private Placements2020-12-18T13:27:04-05:00

Due Diligence for Private Business Investment Opportunities

The following outlines the importance placed upon careful, independent Investor analysis of private market investments. “Due diligence” is a process whereby Investors evaluating a potential investment conduct independent analysis and verification of the information presented to them by the Issuer. Due diligence analysis goes beyond simply reading the Offering documents, such as a Private Placement More >

Due Diligence for Private Business Investment Opportunities2020-12-18T10:44:27-05:00

The SEC: Its Role with Private Equity and Private Finance

Enron. Bernie Madoff. WorldCom. Tyco International. Bre-X Minerals. Qwest Communications. Recognize these names? We’ve all heard the stories: rich schemers who deceive Investors, make false claims about their Companies, and pocket fraudulently generated profits while obliterating retirement savings from thousands of small (and large) Investors. Who protects us from cons like these? More >

The SEC: Its Role with Private Equity and Private Finance2020-12-18T10:28:18-05:00
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