Russ: Hi I’m Russ Capper and this is BusinessMakers USA brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Checking in today from Columbus, Ohio and I’m very pleased to have as my guest Dr. Navin Goyal, Co-founder and Managing Partner of LOUD Capital; Navin, welcome to the show.
Navin: Thank you very much for having me.
Russ: You bet. So we’re going to get into LOUD Capital but I understand that’s not your only business interest these days, or is it?
Navin: There’s a few things that I do. First I am a partner at a private practice of anesthesiology at a local hospital, I’ve been a partner for about 11 years. And I Co-founded a company called SmileMD about 4½ years ago with two of my best friends who happen to be anesthesiologists, and actually that’s what brought me into the entrepreneurial world.
Russ: How did that happen?
Navin: I actually had a couple of friends that are dentists that said hey, it’d be great if an anesthesiologist could come to my practice and do some anesthesia for us. And I said huh, I never thought about that. And then as we inquired a little bit more we saw an opportunity that there are a lot of people who are willing to pay for being sedated. And so what that requires from an anesthesia perspective is much more complex than just saying hey I want to get sedated, give me some medicine. And so we looked into it – and I say we as I said my two best friends who happen to be anesthesiologists, became on their own, and we’re all back in Columbus and our wives are friends. It’s a great scenario by the way.
We’re very fortunate to have our friendships, but we actually had other people do anesthesia for these different practices. And the reason I say other people is because the contract in my partnership is relatively strict and they said you can’t do anesthesia outside of our practice and so it made us think outside of the box a little bit. And so we said you know what, there’s other people that we know of who can do it and want to do it, so what don’t we have then do it? And that was 4 years ago. And so now we’re actually doing a lot of children and dental practices who need the care; need access to care. And so there’s a win – win – win scenario which is really I think hard in a business to get.
Russ: And so how did that lead to LOUD Capital?
Navin: I would say in the first year or two during this new entrepreneurial pathway for all three of us we said how do we do this? We know the anesthesia part, that’s not the hard part for us; now it’s the business part. And so as we started talking to people, sought out some help, we realized there was not a lot of help.
Russ: And you’re talking about help with entrepreneurship and starting a business.
Navin: Help with entrepreneurship. How do I get a website done? How do I get a developer to do that? How do I get branding done? Do I know an attorney to do contracts? And so as I reached out I actually reached out to an old friend of mine – his name is Darshan Vyas – he was involved in an incubator and in the startup world. And so I reached out to him and we started talking and after a couple of conversation I go by the way, what are you doing now a days? And he said I’m actually part of a venture capital firm and that’s what kind of opened my eyes to that world and that’s where I started getting very, very interested in that opportunity.
I was also angel investing. So I am fortunate enough to have a little bit of income left over to invest and entrepreneurship and startups and great vision and inspiration always inspires me and so I had done a few investments. And so with all that I saw opportunity just under our nose here in Columbus – I wasn’t even thinking about the Midwest, I wasn’t even thinking about the rest of the country – but the opportunity just in Columbus. There’s so many great, under-funded startups and so that’s where LOUD Capital came about.
Russ: So what size investments do you usually make?
Navin: It started out with basically around $50,000.00 up to about $150,000.00. As we evolve – we’re 2½ years old – as we’ve evolved we’ve done bigger check amounts, but we actually like seeding the entrepreneur in their early stage.
Russ: Early, early stage.
Navin: Early and we’ve basically developed great relationships with our entrepreneurs and since their on a higher level, in the Midwest there’s not a lot of funding sources, especially early. And so we have grown with our entrepreneurs and as they need more funding we have been fundraising for them, we’ve written some bigger checks. We’ve gotten some angel investors to come and help fund them. Our goal is we believe in you, how do we help you grow?
Russ: Do you do what a traditional venture fund does and goes out and raises money for the fund or are you all sort of self-funding LOUD Capital?
Navin: Absolutely. We’ve raised funds, we have a lot of limited partners that have invested and we definitely appreciate it because initially they invested in us. They trusted us to seek the deal flow and take care of the entrepreneurs and they’ve done a nice job. In 2½ years we’ve invested in 24 different companies, they’re all growing. All either raising their next round, hiring people; we’ve created a lot of jobs so we’re really proud of that. But we actually are a little different from other VCs because we don’t have – at least yet – corporate LPs that have invested in us, so we have a lot of capital to deploy. What we actually do is have found a lot of deal flow or deal flow has come to us and as we get these deals in we reach out to people and we tell them the vision and say there’s real opportunity for you here. And so that’s what we’ve done; we’ve raised money from various LPs.
Russ: I can’t help but ask this, with your medical background, the anesthesia and stuff, are you mainly focused in that category or is your portfolio collection of 24 very diverse companies?
Navin: Very diverse. In fact, some people recently asked what is your identity? You have education tech, we’re looking into some agriculture things, we have manufacturing, we have hydrogen energy and we have aerospace. Aerospace and energy are actually a big part of what we’ve become. But I will say technology ties it in. We actually look at companies and entrepreneurs that are very ambitious. We’re opportunistic like many other VC firms but we also think we have to apply this company to an addressable market.
We do think that helping to be involved with the entrepreneur and having so much deal flow once again just in the Midwest, just becoming an entity of LOUD Capital, we started having people reach out and say – because there’s just not a lot of funding sources early stage. And so I will say if there’s 100 deals on the table we can pick one that we really believe in and really think we can help the best chances of success. I will say we’re going to continue what we’re doing which is really being passionate about entrepreneurship and helping to create a structure in a young environment. Which the Midwest I think is a relatively young environment for startups and entrepreneurship.
Russ: Cool. Navin, I really appreciate you sharing you story with us about LOUD Capital.
Navin: Thank you very much.
Russ: You bet. And that wraps up my discussion with Dr. Navin Goyal and this is BusinessMakers USA.
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