Since 2003, Valhalla Angels have collectively completed 270+ investment deals valued at over $70 million. This Western Canada angel network, with chapters in Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna and Vancouver, is one of the most active groups of its kind in Canada and touts the 2018 and 2019 Angel of the Year recognition within its network.
We asked Luke Krueger, co-founder of Valhalla Private Capital & chapter president of Valhalla Angels (Vancouver & Calgary), a few questions in preparation for our GROW Accelerator’s Investment Readiness session at Valhalla Basecamp.
Luke Krueger had never heard the term ‘angel investing’, however, he had already written cheques to support companies he believed in.
“My first three investments were made into South Asian companies in India and Bangladesh.
I was working for Dr. Muhammad Yunus (2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner) at the time, setting up one of the first social enterprise accelerators and ran into too many great entrepreneurs to help myself.” Like many investor journeys, Luke’s began with a passion to foster success, and the means to do so.
Now, he leads one of the leading angel investment groups in Western Canada.
Having co-founded Valhalla Private Capital, a corporate finance firm focused on early-stage entrepreneurs, Valhalla’s network of companies, including angel investment network Valhalla Angels, creates an ecosystem that guides entrepreneurs “From Cradle to Exit”.
From a network of angel investors, startup and investment training, and a host of other opportunities and services, Valhalla’s portfolio of companies thrive with the capital and expertise put forward by their membership.
For reference, Valhalla’s portfolio includes Beatdapp, whose media streaming tracking system startup was ranked #1 seed stage company in 2019 by Crunchbase. Their growth includes graduating from world-renowned accelerator 500 Startups, and making high-profile additions to their board, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. When angel investors put their capital and expertise toward a company, there’s no telling what it could spark. “We were the first money in that deal,” Krueger notes.
So, what does it take to get the attention of investors with hugely successful deals in their repertoire? Krueger says it’s “Team and traction—but not in the sense most people think.”
‘Team’, according to Krueger, means that an entrepreneur seeking investment can demonstrate expertise when it comes to their company and where it fits within the industry.
“It’s being extremely thoughtful and knowledgeable on your space. It’s also about who wants to hang out with you and your company—that says a lot about who you are. That goes for employees of course, but board members, advisors, investors, customers—anyone who chooses to align with what you are doing. It also doesn’t hurt to be likeable since the investor owns a part your company for the next 5-10 years.”
As for how founders can prepare for their next investment meeting, Krueger predicts that a strong economics will become a core differentiator for entrepreneurs, and to expect seeing a “shift away from hyper growth at all costs. WeWork and Snap are just some recent examples of how that can go sideways when there isn’t a strong business model. Having no plan for how to attain profitability probably won’t fly anymore outside of the valley.”
Luke Krueger facilitates Valhalla Basecamp, a two-day investment seminar and pitch night that has been delivered to over 1000 companies to teach the ins and outs of raising capital and effectively pitching business opportunities. TechAlliance is proud to have our GROW Accelerator cohort participate in this intensive session on February 27-28.
Applications are opening soon for our next GROW Accelerator cohort. Find out how to get your startup closer to industry experts like Luke.