Hi, I'm Travis Jamison, founder of Smash.vc
I’d love to tell you a bit about my backstory, and why I started investing through Smash.vc
(Big Disclaimer: This page is long and
probably boring. Read at your own risk).
Like many investors, I started out as an entrepreneur. “Serial entrepreneur” to use the trendy term. I’ve founded roughly a dozen small businesses, all bootstrapped. I was in the trenches day-in and day-out, frequently working on multiple projects at once, probably just like many of you reading this.
Everything from SaaS companies, ecommerce shops, health products, and my personal favorite; my long-standing search marketing agency. I’m not going to lie, entrepreneurship can be really damn hard, and can go from extreme bliss to complete exhaustion and back all in a matter of hours.
And I loved almost every minute of it.
Over the many years of grinding hard, learning from my mistakes and from the guidance of others my entrepreneurial skills slowly improved. I got pretty good at getting traction on projects and executing quickly. As some of the projects continued growing far bigger than I ever expected, I wound up being lucky enough to have some take-off, leading to a couple of sizable exits.
Post-exits, I did what most do, I became “an investor” (insert eye-roll here). I allocated capital to just about every type of investment out there. Dozens of angel investments in traditional high-risk high-reward startups, an LP in half a dozen funds, dabbled in public equities, private debt deals, real estate, and last but not least… started buying small online businesses in their entirety to add to my growing portfolio. I was in search of “my thing”. A type of investing that I could latch on and pour my professional soul into, something that provided great returns, but also something that felt right.
So, guess which one I decided to double down on?
None of them.
There is nothing wrong with any of the above types of investing, but they just aren’t right for me.
Angel investing is a lot of fun, but seeing 8 out of 10 companies go bust from throwing profitability out the window in the search for billions just doesn’t fit with what I want to do all the time. Add to that a decade of illiquidity and stressed-out founders and I’m just not the man for it. It’s not wrong (plenty get very rich), my later angel investments have been quite successful, it’s just not really what I want to spend all my time doing.
Public equities have their appeal, but shoving my head in financials all day and being so far removed from the business just doesn’t tick the “winning at life” box for me. Also, what are the chances I could even beat the returns of an index fund? (slim)
And lastly, buying entire online businesses was the greatest teacher of all. It seems great in theory – I’m an experienced marketer who knows how to grow companies quickly. What’s not to love about acquiring some to do just that?
Unfortunately it doesn’t really work that way in practice. I’m good at getting traction, spotting opportunities, and quickly executing ideas. I’m pretty much horrible at absolutely everything else. “Managing” an existing project that is already 90% done is just about the worst productive thing that I can do with my time.
So, what’s the point of spilling to you my entire life story?
To let you know that I DID find what I needed to be doing, and who I wanted to it with. It is now what SmashVC is dedicated to.
I built SmashVC to be the type of partner, investor and mentor that I wished had existed for me earlier in my career. My life would probably be much different if it had.
See, I look back on my biggest financial success thus far. It was a SaaS company in the ecommerce space. My co-founder and I knew that we had something special. This thing was a rocket-ship of growth and users loved us.
The problem we had, is we were so incredibly scared that something would happen, and it would go to zero. How dumb would I look? We were also complete n00bs to the SaaS space and didn’t know what we didn’t know.
This is why I wish something like SmashVC had existed. If we could have brought on a partner to help guide us and to give us a partial exit, giving us some extra padding in our personal bank accounts, we would have been able to sleep better and continue building the business to its full potential. No matter what, we would have came out ahead. Instead, we were scared, and we exited far too early leaving FAR too much money on the table.
SmashVC is designed to be an answer to that problem
At Smash, I want us to partner with existing profit-focused businesses in order to:
1. Give the founder(s) a partial exit.
Instead of wondering if you should grow it or sell it, to have the option to only sell a portion of the company. To take some chips off the table, and keep the upside of continued growth. We’re open to buying anything from 5% to 50% of a business.
2. To be a partner, a real value-add investor.
Many VC’s claim to be “strategic” and a “value-add investor”. Yes, some certainly do help out founders, but many more do basically nothing but complicate the founders life. We want you to keep being you, just with some help from people who have highly developed specialized skills and experience.
3. Literally do the work to help your company grow.
When I invest, I come with a world-class SEO agency at my side to help your business reach the next level. Those who co-invest with me on each deal all have unique mastery-level skills of their own, from techies, to ad specialists, to systems and outsourcing pros. We come ready to get our hands dirty.
Interested to learn more?
- Follow me on my personal blog
- Listen to this podcast about my journey, creating wealth, and mistakes along the way.
- Follow me on Twitter
- Follow me on AngelList (not too active anymore though)
Want to discuss a potential partnership?
Let's have a chat to get to know each other.