100. The Man Behind the Mic, Part 1 (Nick Moran interviewed by Colin Keeley)

Download_v2Nick Moran Angel List

For this milestone #100 episode, the host of Tech in Chicago, Colin Keeley, interviews Nick Moran with questions from the listeners including:

  • Nick Moran listener Q&ANick, there are a number of brands that you own: The Full Ratchet, Venture Weekly, New Stack Ventures, and Moran Capital Partners. Why all the brands and what are you doing with each?
  • Can you take us back to your beginning and talk about your experience at Danaher, before you went off on your own?
  • Why the decision to transition full-time into angel investing?
  • So, after you got involved as an investor how’d you decide to start a podcast about venture capital?
  • How have the goals for TFR evolved since you started?
  • How did you decide to go the Angel List syndicate route instead of raising a venture fund?
  • How do you select your guests and topics for each episode?
  • Who are some of the dream guests that you’d like to have on in the future?
  • What episode is your favorite?
  • What are some of the key lessons learned after 100 episodes?
  • How many investments have you made and how much do you invest in each deal?
  • Why did you choose to use Angel List to syndicate your deals?
  • How do you source your deals?

Guest Links:



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  • Seph

    Super interview. Thanks to Colin for a fine job of turning around the mic.
    Some highlights from the conversation:

    @15.30 – 16.20
    The “emotional” answer about why to do the podcast. Homerun. Thank you for being so forthright about the difference between those who just talk a good game and those who put skin in the game.

    “I’m not going to blow other people’s money while I’m learning.” The best way to learn is with one’s own skin in the game.

    Angel List syndicate as a means to combine the speed and check size of a VC fund with optionality to syndicate members for participation.

    “There are principles at the investment level that transcend any asset class.” Fundamentals are extremely important no matter what the investment.

    Favorite episode is Jerry Neumann. Outstanding interview, a must listen.
    Great breakdown of the interview takeaways.

    @24.00 – 25.00
    “Gambler’s ruin” as a loss of discipline.
    1) Investment amount is too high
    2) No standard bet size
    3) Doesn’t press the winners
    4) Doesn’t cut the losers, abandon failing strategies

    @25.05 – 24.45
    The biggest lesson learned is: “access is everything”. The winners in this sector are those with the best access. Two aspects to access: (1) you have to know about the deals, “Deal Flow”; (2) you have to have a value prop that will lead the entrepreneur to choose you, “Differentiation”.

    @25.45 – 29.45
    Story of Tovala. Case study where access worked out.

    Story of access not working out. Goes to show how fortune can turn against you, and you have to move on.

    @37.00 – 38.40
    The online angel group as the best of both worlds, allowing for both speed and check size potential. The syndicate helps to streamline the decision making process for syndicate investors, centralizes and standardizes the paperwork processing, allows the syndicate lead to focus on sourcing the best investments instead of “herding cats” to collect checks and signatures.

    @38.45 – 40.00
    Sourcing deal flow can be thought of as “hunters” and “gatherers”. Right now New Stack is more of a gatherer, as deal flow is mostly due to inbound communications via established networks and the podcast audience. This is very inefficient because upwards of 90% does not fit at all with the New Stack investment thesis. This is a good illustration of the importance of getting to “no” quickly.

    @ 40.00
    Hunting grounds are dependent on one’s thesis and expertise.

    • Can you start writing the Key Takeaways for me, Seph? ; ] Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback. Made my day!