Jodie Imam is a founder-turned-investor with a passion for working with and championing women and girls. Here, she shares her reflections on VC Catalyst, and how it’s helped her take the next step in her investment journey.
Feeling like an imposter
When I signed up for VC Catalyst, I couldn’t help but feel a bit like an imposter. I knew it was time for me to invest in my formal education, and I knew VC Catalyst was exactly the type of program which would help my development, but still, I couldn’t help feeling a bit intimidated by the calibre of people participating in the course.
As is so often the case with these feelings, they dissipated once the course got underway, as I found myself in a supportive environment with a combined attitude of ‘we know nothing,’ despite all the obvious knowledge in the room. From there, the only way was up, with clear learning design, fun breakouts, and of course, incredible panelists.
Reflecting now on my experience at VC Catalyst, there are no shortage of takeaways, but perhaps none more important than the way it helped me shape my investment thesis.
Developing my investment thesis
When thinking about my own investment thesis, I wasn’t really sure where to start, so I spent some time looking back at the things I have achieved and considered what fires me up. It all pointed towards a deliberate path I had created for myself from a very young age towards finding financial independence. From casual jobs as an ironing lady and babysitter at age 12, through a corporate career, Masters in Finance and ultimately running my own businesses and tech startup, my focus in my own life has always been on achieving that financial independence.
VC Catalyst gave me the space and resources to think more deeply about how these life experiences could shape my investment thesis, and helped me refine my focus on ‘building independent girls and women’. My personal priority is to invest early in startups whose businesses help women and girls achieve financial independence and freedom, and as I dived deeper into this passion, I realised there are many ways to achieve this. They are the businesses that help increase savings, income potential, job opportunities, productivity, superannuation, business protection, revenue, and of course, self love and confidence. There is no shortage of great startups which already exist to tackle these problems – Super Rewards, Ovira, Shebah, CinchSkin, to name a few – and with my own investment thesis refined, I can’t wait to invest in the next generation.
Beginning my investor journey
2021 presented a new start for me. I’ve kicked off my career as an investor, armed with my knowledge, tools and support network from my roles within the startup industry and VC Catalyst as well.
As the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Tractor Ventures, I work with Matt and Aprill Allen and the team to bring a new investment vehicle to market in Australia and New Zealand. We have started with an initial $10M in funding secured from a rockstar list of bootstrapped founders and experienced startup investors including LaunchVic. With this funding, Tractor has already invested in 24 bootstrapped technology companies driving towards profitability, providing revenue based financing as an alternative to venture and angel investment.
The Tractor model is a combination of Revenue Based Financing (RBF), and earned equity. The equity component is as low as 1/20th of an external funding round and the RBF element aligns with the growth of the company. The funding comes without control and is optimised for the founder’s flexibility.
As a former bootstrapped founder myself I was immediately drawn to this model. I love the way it enables founders to protect their equity in the early days when company valuations are relatively low, while allowing founders to continue to operate at their own pace. Tractor has also made a commitment to ensure our portfolio always has at least 50% female-led companies, so after my VC Catalyst education, it is the perfect place to pursue my dream of supporting and building independent women whilst developing my investor prowess.
If you’re interested in joining a network of people who want to learn and build their own early-stage investment portfolio, please get in touch.
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