Ask An Expert: Faz Bashi on The Power of People

Faz Bashi, chair of the medical device screening committee of Life Science Angels US, has hailed the power of people as the “connective tissue” of angel investing.

Discussing risk and rewards at Valhalla Private Capital’s member-only “Ask An Expert” event alongside Ziad Moukheiber, president and CEO of Boston Harbor Angels; and Randy Stewart Thompson, chairman and CEO of Valhalla Private Capital, managing director of Old Kent Road Financial and co-owner of Peterborough United Football Club; Faz urged members to “build your network before you need it”.

“This is a people business – everything that we do is all about people,” he continued. 

While Faz acknowledged the importance of IP and exit strategies, he maintained that success cannot exist “without people”.

Faz added: “ If you don’t have the network, then I would expect that your advisory board members are there specifically for that reason, because they have a network. 

“I would expect that the board members that you hand pick are there for that explicit reason because there’s something that’s not exactly there.”

This viewpoint was also held by Randy, who claimed that “your board tells people everything they need to know about what your plan is”.

Randy remarked that there is an element of “wimping out” in creating an exemplary board as entrepreneurs may be concerned that their offers will be rejected by the best people in their industry sector. On the topic, he encouraged members to “be in front of the class” if they are as good as they say they are and believe they deserve the money they are asking for from investors.

“Don’t get your cousin to be on your board of directors, that tells me everything I need to know,” he added.

Likewise, Ziad maintained that “the best entrepreneurs are the ones who understand investors”. 

Using his family’s experience in ski racing as a focal point, the Boston Harbor Angels president urged members to “look two or three gates ahead, [instead of] the gate that’s coming up”.

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