By Haley Tisone, Community Outreach Manager Black Dog Venture Partners
Tom Wallace is a well-known managing partner at Florida Funders. Wallace has been a tech entrepreneur since the age of twenty-three. For as long as he can remember, he’s always wanted to help other entrepreneurs. Additionally, he is a twenty-five year veteran of angel investing.
Florida Funders is a cross between Venture Capitalists and crowdfunding. They have a network of angel investors and focus on early stage tech. They are working on building and uplifting a tech community in Tampa. Early stage capital was missing in Tampa, and start-ups would leave for Silicon Valley. Florida Funders set out to fix this problem. The company is helping early stage companies get access to capital from investors through an online process and crowdfunding.
Wallace says in his years of investing, he has learned it is a lot of work to do it right. It can be daunting and easy to cut corners when investing, which can be fatal. Florida Funders does all this for the investor and allows you to invest as little as $5,000 or invest in a seed fund that really enables you to diversify your risk, which is so important in this asset class. Florida Funders has been operating for five years now and has made fifty investments.
Wallace provided advice to start-ups when pitching to investors. He says it is important to be prepared, listen very closely to questions, and answer them as briefly as you can.
Wallace says that Florida Funders has come a long way. Entrepreneurs aren’t leaving Tampa in search of funds the way they used to. The company has had lots of successful exits. Wallace says the investor community is growing, but the environment is different in Florida. Most local investors didn’t make their money in tech, so they aren’t prone to tech and angel investing. Wallace is happy that with Florida Funders, investors can make an impact on their own community!
When he is not investing, Wallace enjoys the outdoors. He enjoys golfing, paddle boarding, and working out.