Sumo Cast 015 - Patrick Riley




Patrick Riley is CEO of GAN - the Global Accelerator Network. The GAN is a network of over 80 of the top investment accelerators on six continents and more than 100 cities around the world. To date, they have helped some 3,300 companies receive over $4B USD in funding and create 21,000 jobs globally. The average company who participates in a GAN accelerator has raised over $980K. He previously served as director of business development with Tech Stars.

1:17 Patrick’s network has helped 4,100 companies get up and running. This is a combination of all the accelerators in the network.

2:10 Patrick compares Incubators, Angel Investors and discusses Tech Stars - which took about 10 companies together and put them through a boot camp. Previous to this you had to  take a company around town in the hope of getting money from many different mentors. Tech Stars came up with the idea of putting all the mentors and funding into one place. This is what is known as an accelerator. Patricks company GAN then took it a step further and combined 80 accelerators around the world in a network and as a result now 4,100 companies have benefited.

4:12 GAN’s mission is to give startups the power to grow their business wherever they are globally. Because startups know their own area they can provide local abilities on the ground that GAN can’t, but GAN can bring a suite of Global benefits to the table - worldwide connections, global accelerators that can be visited around the world if that’s what is needed as per each individual company.

6:10 There is a launch member program to get to be a full member of GAN. All companies are expected to be authentic, have excellence in values and be all about value creation.  This enables GAN to monitor the company for a year or two and checks various metrics in terms of getting funding for their companies. If this is achieved they are brought in as full members.

7:38 Another approach GAN takes to membership is all an applicants companies have to  raise over 200,000 dollars on average.

8:40 Funding is a huge issue, but 80 - 85% of startups are being funded locally as per the data that is coming back to GAN. A study that GAN carried out has discovered that a company that goes through an accelerator raises two times more money then one that has not.

10:44 Patrick advises that if you want to get into an accelerator program it’s imperative to know the people who run the accelerator program and build the relationship. He also advises to be a really good team. Almost every investor looks for who is on the team. Its not about products, its about the team and what kind of a person is on the team.

12:17 In Patricks experience good teams are made up of people who know each other a long time - how well does the team know one another. Patrick will often make up a fake competitor to see if the team will react honestly to not knowing the fictitious company.

14:37 One of the things that drives Patrick crazy is when companies assume that all they need is VC funding and then they can go get an exit. He prefers to see a company with long term vision. If you’re not building a company for 30 years, why would anybody else buy you?

15:38 If you believe your company will only last 4 years and you’ll get an exit why would a company buy you?

16:14 Patrick’s first real job was being chief of staff at the International Red Cross in DC. His biggest takeaway was that the Red Cross were so dependant on donation funding -  From this he wanted to work out how to make a for profit company that could help poor people get access to much needed drugs - which he did, and he sold this start up and moved to Tech Stars.

19:25 A favourite startup of Patricks was ‘Surf Air’ - a company devoted to making sure people could hop into planes economically and get around California. From start up to 160 million dollars in value. Another ‘Park or Buy’ is a company helping people find really good parking spaces around town. Everyday he sees companies solve problems like helping people park better - it doesn’t make millions and millions, but it solves a problem and create value because of it.

21:21 New Tech that Patrick is excited about is a group in Iceland that is using Virtual Reality to be in a busy working space but allowing employees to step out and look at different screens for different apps by simply wearing VR Oculus glasses and sitting at a desk.

24:07 At the moment Patrick is learning what does it really mean to understand Trade Offs. He’s learning that everyday trade offs need to be made and they are a necessary evil.

25:51 In terms of tradeoffs Patrick quotes an example of trading his time off for getting ready for a meeting, trading off taking time to meet people in person as opposed to emailing, working on the road and being away from his family - these are some examples he quotes of tradeoffs.

28:05 Patrick is anal about doing a 7am to 4pm schedule. He likes to go to the gym between 4pm and 5:30pm. When he goes home he is not on email, or on the phone and likes to spend time with his 22 month daughter.