Going Full Tilt

“Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.” -Daniel J. Boorstin

Democratize access to opportunity.

A simple, yet powerful idea. It can improve lives or disrupt industries. Significant value is created when you can do both simultaneously.

This thought process led me to the secretive world of “friends and family” investing. The expectation of tech company founders is to identify a thesis, raise thousands of dollars from friends and family, validate their thesis, and then entice investment from professional investors.

The system of unwritten rules is not only broken, but also elitist and naive. Majority of founders don’t have relatives or friends that can give them thousands of dollars with little promise of repayment. If they do, it rarely comes with experience and expertise. These same founders aren’t part of the exclusive social circles that angel investors frequent. Finally, living in Silicon Valley in the shadows of the tech elite is the exception, not the rule for most.

Any industry with a broken set of unwritten rules leaves the incumbents susceptible to those who are willing to speak truth to power. If done correctly, the impact can change the lives of millions of people.

This is what drove me to start Full Tilt Capital (FTC). Full Tilt is an early stage venture capital fund where we’ve reinvented friends and family investing by democratizing access to opportunity for the thousands of founders who are underserved.

While our goal is ambitious, we’re self-aware enough to understand the difficulty of this mission. The system is positioned against us. The people who benefit from the system will dismiss and belittle us. The underdog can never win in their mind.

Being a bunch of guys from Raleigh, NC means that we thrive in this scenario. Although our region has the second highest Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) in the country, nobody talks about it. Although our team has over half a billion dollars in transaction value, nobody knows our names. Although we’ve never done it before, it’s foolish to bet against us.

After all, we’re in the business of betting on the underdog.

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If this resonated with you, please recommend it or share on Facebook and Twitter. Special thanks to John Fiorentino and Tiffany Zhong for reading early drafts of this. You can follow me on Twitter here.