How to Evaluate Potential Investors - Slava Rubin

In Chapter 9 of 12 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, IndieGoGo co-founder and entrepreneur Slava Rubin answers "What Criteria Are You Using to Evaluate Potential Investors?" First, Rubin notes the importance of aligning ambition and goals. Second, he looks for more than money with investors. With finding money getting easier, Rubin looks for investors who have contacts, expertise, and experience that can help the company improve and grow. Rubin is co-founder and CEO of, a crowdfunding startup whose platform helps individuals and groups finance their passions. Before IndieGoGo, Rubin worked in management consulting for Diamond Consulting, now a PWC company. Rubin founded and manages non-profit Music Against Myeloma to raise funds and awareness to fight cancer. He earned a BBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Erik Michielsen:  What criteria are you using to evaluate potential investors?

Slava Rubin:  No matter who you’re trying to add in to the business, whether it be employees, or partners, or investors, it’s really important that it all has alignment as to what you’re trying to accomplish, right?  So you have a shared vision, you have a shared understanding as to what our goals are as a company.  Regarding investors, specifically, it’s a classic saying ‘you want to find more than just money’ or sometimes they call it ‘dumb money’ or ‘smart money’.  It’s becoming easier and easier to find the cash, whether it be credit cards, or loans, or IndieGoGo, or one off angels, or dentists, or lawyers, but really what you wanna find is folks that can give you advice based on their experience as running companies before, or maybe they have the right network for your industry to get you certain business development relationships, or certain distribution deals, or certain partnerships; or maybe they have expertise in areas that your founding team or your small team doesn’t have yet, whether it be in technology, or sales, or operations, or maybe scaling the company.  

So what we look for when we talk to investors is always about, you know, what is your participation going to be with us and how can we work together to make the company better.  It’s also – it’s just always very important as a default that we’re all on the same page as to what we’re starting to accomplish.  Some investors are looking in to only create billion-dollar companies, and some investors are looking to create ten-million-dollar companies and sell them.  So you just need to make sure that everybody is on the same page as to what we’re all trying to accomplish.