Place Your Bets

I realized something today while, for the first time ever, drafting New Years Resolutions. First, I wrote down my personal goals: be more positive, show more gratitude, be the best girlfriend, improve my poker game, learn German, cut back on Dr Pepper, and finally, get over my fear of videos to stop being a baby and start using Instagram Stories.

Next, I thought about my business resolutions. The first is to work fearlessly. Startups are high pressure can be extremely daunting — but I can’t let it get to me. I must not get too comfortable. I must not take the easy road. I must dream boldly and act audaciously. Which led me to wonder: what exactly is my dream anyway?

I thought about it for a while and finally I realized that, in the simplest terms possible, my dream is to make your dreams come true. And I really don’t mean for that to sound all altruistic. It’s not. This is after all a business designed to make profits (my investors are breathing a sigh of relief right now).

But the thing is, to me success is not only measured in dollars and growth rates — to me the true measure of success lies in the number of dreams we helped materialize. And so, I designed our business model to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. Rather than let dreams be just that, I throw all my energy, intensity, and money (my own and my investors) to chase dreams—in order to make the seemingly unattainable, attainable.

I spent the last year observing people with both dreams and means, lacking the foxiness to gain access or simply not believing these things to be possible. Fortunately, I’ve been told I’m plenty foxy and cunningly resourceful — so naturally I saw this as a fun challenge. I studied the underlying workings of Vegas and started building a network, and a plan, to fulfill high end wish lists (as detailed in my last posts Raising the Stakes and Against All Odds).

I see a compelling opportunity in Vegas: the high end experience market is untapped, luxury experiences mean larger sales and bigger margins, our lean team can tackle higher value clients and double-down on quality, we can collaborate with our pros to promote (broadcast power), and finally, it plays perfectly to my strengths in business development and strategic partnerships.

Now as we gear up to tackle Vegas I’ve opened a funding round to raise the stakes in 2018. I am fortunate to already have some rockstar investors, such as the co-founders of Shopify and Silent Circle. These guys know how to build killer startups and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support. Now it’s time for a few more.

There’s a term in the startup world: value-added investor. This simply means someone who brings something extra to the table; expertise, contacts, etc. I don’t particularly like the term as it reminds me of something you’d pick up at McDonald’s, so instead I decided to coin my own term to better encapsulate the type of investors I look for: assets. What do I mean? Well I consider our investors as part of our team, and if you’re gonna be on the bench (the figurative boardroom), you better be an asset — whether your strength is offence (intros, connections) or defence (wisdom, experience).

On the flip side, the opposing term is affectionally known as dumb money, which in my opinion can be a smart move when you can find investors who trust you to do your job — respecting that you know more about your business than anyone. Though perhaps not strategic assets from an advisory standpoint, the right ones are far from liabilities. Rather than dumb money, I call them fans: financial supporters who believe in me and support XPR. These investors may not offer tactical advantages, but their psychological support can make an undeniable and important impact.

Now I know very well beggars can’t be choosers, so I want to assure you: I’m not begging. I have learned to be very picky when it comes to investors. And yes, I learned the hard way, thanks for reminding me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… ain’t gonna happen. It’s simple: if you aren’t 100% psyched about our mission here at XPR, and can’t personally relate, then we simply aren’t right for each other. No hard feelings.

If however you read this and you are intrigued, excited and passionate about bringing distinctive experiences to Vegas, then the next target — til the world is our oyster — then maybe we should talk. But first full disclosure:

  1. Investing in startups is a high risk, high reward proposition — not unlike gambling, so it’s up to you to decide whether you like the odds. And just like in the casino — never gamble with money you can’t afford to lose.
  2. We are taking on the luxury experience market, and luxury brands (done properly) take longer to establish than regular businesses (due its nature which relies on the strength of the underlying personal relationships) — so this is a long-term play.
  3. Finally, to sweeten the pot, investors get first dibs (insider access) to our limited edition experiences.

This is perfect for anyone who loves Vegas, loves accessing exclusive experiences, and has plenty of extra cash to invest. Minimum buy-in for this round is $50,000. That’s in $CDN, so if you are in the US — well you get a sweet deal.

If you would like a peek at our pitch deck shoot me an email at and we can chat about you placing your bets on XPR.

Quick shoutout to our investors Craig, Phil, Qi, Tim, Gord, Mike, Daniel & Tobi. I’m insanely proud to have you guys on our team — and driven to make you proud in return. Thank you for your coaching, your cheering… and your cash.

Like what you read? Give Joelle Parenteau a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.