Yvonne McLaren [valentineaddis]
What is your professional position? What responsibility do you have in your work?
I am the managing director of Valentine Addis Ltd. New Zealand/UK . I run all the deals in venture capital in the company and also contract with a number of companies to do strategic planning and mentoring for them.
Which has your career path been like? How would you summarize your experience in the financial arena?
I started in education, then not for profit fundraising for educational organisations and then moved into venture capital raises in 2000. I have a broad range of skills throughout the start-up, high growth, angel investment arena. Specialising in tech based, online and social media based businesses but am available for all types of companies.
Is there a link to a website or social network site where we can see something more about you or your business?
my website is www.va.co.nz I blog at www.businessblogs.co.nz and on facebook Valentine addis is my page. have a look at get in touch.twitter is @bucketree
How do you develop an investment strategy? What factors must one keep in mind for this?
it is all about what the companies growth cycle has been, if it is a white paper start up and they don't have a strategic pathway because they have invented a product or developed key IP for an interface then it is working with their long term goals. For high growth opportunities I am looking for a mentor investor that can offer long term relationship to the company so they will continue to back it.
It is about matching people and angels with a like vision.
What is that your clients value most about your services?
I help them face their own issues before they get to an investor when I am doing a raise, then allow them the opportunity to strategise for the perfect fit.
Investors who come looking for partnerships value the speed at which I can perform due diligence and how accurate the final assessment becomes. Valentine Addis is known for getting straight to the heart of the matter and provide sound solutions to problems.
How do you determine the amount of risk a client is really willing to take?
you can tell by how much time and capital of their own they have put into their business or invention.
Is it important to include a personal aspect to the relationship with a client?
absolutely, Ilove raising strong venture capital for my clients, I am a huge fan of entrepreneurial and innovative companies, I really care about my clients welfare and financial future and they appreciate that and respond accordingly. We are often asked to venture manage the deals and that is a reflection of the trust relationships that have developed through the deal.
How do you negotiate your compensation?
we have a standard fee package that includes a front fee that is fair and reasonable and saves the clients huge amounts of time and money. If the client produces the lead to the vc and we close they only pay 50% of the fee. If we procure it then they pay according to the amount we are raising.
What are the most frequent errors that people make when investing?
they move too far away from the investment they made their money in. They don't employ a third party other than their accountant and lawyer to do due diligence. They don't educate themselves enough about the market vertical they are looking into. They don't go wide enough for advice. They don't get a group of advisors who have expertise in the area that is respected.
There are people that prefer to invest in things that can be touched, like houses, art, gold, etc. Is this a bad idea?
no not at all, you have to pay attention to what you invest in so make sure it is something you enjoy being involved with. But get advise before you make a large investment and never invest more than you can afford to lose without affecting your long term financial future.
What percentage of income should a 30 year old professional invest for the future?
10% minimum up to 40% if you are not married or have a family. they are simply using the surplus for travel and entertainment usually. It depends on if they are an entrepreneur, if so invest 10-20% in long term savings and the rest back into your business. You have to reinvest in your company for about 10 years to see massive long term returns.
If a friend invites me to invest in his/her business, what precautions should I take?
if you don't have experience in or around their area of business then don't. If you do get a proper contract if you are unable to lose the money then don't do it.
Use your accountant and lawyer to review its tax liability and see if they have the company structured right. But only ever invest money you can right off if something goes wrong.
How is personal economics taught? At what age should children learn to handle their own budgets?
better caught than taught, help them earn pocket money let them work for friends and encourage them to save up and buy what they want themselves. offer a $1 for $1 save with them for major purchases. Always get them to contribute to purchases such as cars, trips, sporting equipment etc. It is a life long process.User pays!
How secure are banks and government guarantees on deposits?
depends country to country, New Zealand and UK sound to date.
Are there any well-known millionaires that you admire for the way they have made their fortunes?
not many, because most have given up their family values for the sake of the dollar. But the good ones are married to philanthropy and also have stable home lives.
Where do you seek counsel and information when working on something bordering on illegality?
I go straight to my lawyers then I take my clients to their lawyers and if they can't or won't fix it I walk away immediately. sometimes they haven't realised.
Which are the most trustworthy and objective market information sources that you rely on?
government agencies such as Statistics and NZVIF in New Zealand. Networks such as Oxford, Harvard etc. Validated research from McKinsey and peer reveiwed articles in various university based magazines and websites.
Peers in the industry who have been in business for a long time and survived market turn arounds for decades. Good track records speak for themselves.
My clients sign a non disclosure form that covers investors and their companies information. I am happy to sign their privacy policies as well.
How do you see your future in the long term? Where is your career headed?
working in europe and australasia helping companies between the UK and New Zealand get capital and expand their companies globally. Helping kiwis who have made money offshore invest in great New Zealand founded businesses with a huge future internationally.
Do you have a handy saying or a relevant expression on the subject of money?
Investment is simple, money goes in, money creates more money through activity, money comes out...
If you can't see that happening, then it is a giving rather than a buying situation.
Auckland, New Zealand