How We Run Our Process

We focus on helping immigrant entrepreneurs succeed faster. From the first contact, through the investment evaluation to the post-investment support — we know your time is the most valuable asset you have. For this reason, we aim to remove any artificial barriers. Below is a representative outline of our evaluation process and what success looks like in each part. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we are comfortable deviating from this, as required.

Initial Information

We value the founders’ time and like to analyze information before taking your time. To streamline information gathering and to make sure we are responsive to everyone, we created a simple form, which takes about 3–5 minutes to complete. Once we receive this information, it is reviewed by at least two members of our investment team.

Pitch Invitation

Teams we are excited about (based on the review of the information above) are invited for a 20-minute video conference with our investment team. Because we pride ourselves on leading our investments, one of the Partners is present at every meeting. We’ve learned including a Partner in this meeting is an efficient way to respect founders time and continue evaluating the investment with conviction and sincerity.

The main topics of discussion for the call include:

  • Why is this team the right one to solve this problem? (this is your opportunity to tell us about your superpowers individually and together)
  • What key insights do you have that nobody else has? (an opportunity for teams to show their understanding of the landscape and their competitive advantage)
  • How will the world change if you succeed? (large markets follow big problems, but these are not always obvious and we expect the founders to guide our vision)
  • What do you have to prove with this round of funding to raise the next? (helps us understand your execution philosophy, focus, and approach)
  • Why Unshackled Ventures?

The best teams leave us wanting to learn more. They pose both their strengths and show their awareness of areas they need to dig deeper on.

General Partner Meetings

Over 2–3 longer meetings, we dig deeper into the key areas with the founding team. This is an opportunity for us to see how we can work together and how the team thinks through challenges over time. These meetings help us build our conviction around a couple of areas before we move into confirmatory due diligence:

  • Key insights
  • Technological and product competitive advantage
  • Market inflection points
  • The speed of execution and iteration
  • Clear milestones and roadmap for use of funds

We do a good amount of research in between meetings, including getting insights from founders in the space and industry operators/experts. Each meeting’s purpose is to build on the previous meeting and move towards an investment decision.

We recognize our job is to make the best decision with imperfect information. We also recognize that the best fortune tellers of the future are likely the founders, so we rely on a founder’s worldview the most. This is how we get comfortable leading early, with conviction. If we complete this stage and are excited about the team, opportunity and how the future could look, we move to an investment decision.

Final Investment Meeting and Decision

We have a final in-person (usually 30–60 minutes) meeting that includes our investment team and the founding team. This meeting includes funding terms, answering of any pending questions and getting on the same page about the execution plan. The discussion is a culmination of the work done by both sides in the conversations and meetings leading up to it.

Once there is alignment and pending confirmatory diligence, we formalize the investment and wire the funds. Confirmatory due diligence includes potential customer references, professional references, legal diligence, immigration diligence, etc.

Process Timing

We value founders time and communicate with them where we are in the process and what we need from them to keep going. When our team finds we are not a fit, we communicate it quickly and with honest feedback. Every team is different and sometimes, we let teams drive the urgency of the process and we move faster. Ultimately, processes don’t drive decisions, decisions drive processes.