Venture capitalists are concerned with one thing: ROI (Return on Investment). Many times, VC’s are not just investing in ideas, prototypes, patents, and inventions. They’re not always looking for the newest technology or the coolest new product. Yes…new tech and cool products help, but VC’s have been known to invest in people first…and innovation second. They look at you, judge you, put their faith in you, and brand you as a winner or a loser. They’ll have their analysts crunch the numbers for the term sheet but they wont invest jack squat in your company unless they like and trust the founders of the company that is raising money.
After a Venture Capitalist likes the founders…they turn their attention to the integrity and talent of the team that supports the founders. And that is where my very biased argument comes in.
I don’t believe that there’s a group of people on this earth with more integrity and shear work ethic than the 80,000+ men and women that are currently serving missions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whatever those missionaries were before they left on their missions, they are not the same people. They are some of the most prepared and capable people on earth when those two years come to a close. They’ve just had an entire lifetime of experience shoved into 2 years. They received an education that cannot be bought at Harvard, Stanford, or any of the top institutions in the country.
You may think I’m nuts for making this kind of assertion but I’ve got some stats to back it up. Money follows talent, and the VC’s of today are the best “money” people on the planet.
Did you realize that Venture Capitalist firms invested more money in Provo-Orem companies/startups per deal than any other place in the United States in 2014? San Francisco came in second place and then Salt Lake occupied the third spot for the highest dollar amount per venture capital deal. (Inc500) This means that cities along the Wasatch front occupy two of the top three spots that investors wanted to invest their money in 2014.
The region between Provo and Salt Lake has began to be known as the next “Silicon Valley”. Do you think that so many of the greatest companies in the world are going to Utah so that they can have a shorter drive to the nearest temple? No…
It just so happens that you’ve got the largest concentration of LDS return missionaries packed in along the Wasatch front because of schooling preferences.
Think those VC’s are on to something?
Companies like InsideSales.com, Vivint, Domo, Qualtrics, Adobe and many others are smart enough to know that returned Mormon missionaries come back at age 21-22 as some of the most prepared and qualified business individuals on the planet.
They learn how to think on their feet. They become masters at “resolving concerns”. They learn to respond intelligently and analyze situations thoroughly and naturally. Is there any more useful tool in the business world? They’re not scared of the word “NO”! They’ve had thousands of doors slammed in their faces. They wear a smile and keep on going. They deal with every kind of personality imaginable. The rich, the poor, the ghetto, the haughty…and cultures of every kind. They learn “servant leadership” for when the time comes to issue promotions. They learn to love their teammates regardless of their differences. You try living with a dude you’ve never met 24/7 365.
Missionaries will work in a 40 below Siberian blizzard or ride their bikes through a 120 degree Phoenix heatwave. They work anytime, anywhere, in any conditions. They learn to live within strict budgets and understand the principle of sacrifice. They learn to live outside of their comfort zones and they understand that this is where the real growth occurs. They learn to work with what they’ve got and innovate their way out of bad situations.
Whether they know it or not, venture capitalists are proving just how valuable a mormon mission really is by backing companies that employ massive amounts of these individuals.
Calling all venture capitalists! Head for the hills…or the slopes!