Posted by: Dr Churchill | December 17, 2017

UNICORN SPOTTING: The American Angels’ DOT is fintech software for the StartUps, the Founders, and the CEOs that birth the new Unicorns.

Unicorns are mythical animals and yet they tend to make their appearance in popular literature quite frequently…

Unicorn spotting, is a great sport, and one that the American Angels excellent because we engage in it each and every day, as we deploy our DOTs as fintech software and instruments of growth, for the StartUps, the Founders, and for the young CEOs that actually birth the new Unicorns.

Because these great Unicorns are surely the same mythical creatures as those multibillion dollar Startups, that we see quite often buzzing around us, when we hail an Uber to go places, or when we rent an AirBnB to rest at night, or when we choose to go work at WeWork for a flexible hour or more to prepare and give a speech to young Startuppers, in another far City.

And this is called Unicorn Spotting and it is a curious habit that I have been promoting at American Angels, because we have to identify the potential DNA of the nascent Unicorns by seeing the pertinent characteristics of this particular type of animal. And only when we know what it is that we are seeing — we can clearly claim that we are seeking to gestate and cultivate Unicorn selection, by investing in the very many different companies, with the vastly different products, greatly different services, weirdly different personalities, manifestly different founders, representing different cultures, and subscribing to different missions.

This is an Art that requires an immense ability to adapt to one and all in an individual way, and still keep n mind that You seek to find the “eggs” of a Unicorn in all of them.

Still to do that we need to accommodate all that variance — and thus we end up playing very different roles in the companies we choose to help raise capital though the American Angels platform and the financial technology software clothed as a digital coin named DOT, that is the instrument we ourselves invest in, and utilize in order to invest into young Startups and thus work with the New Enterprises that we groom for Unicorns, all the while building them up, for the long term success, and their eventual entry into the Wall Street through the IPO gate. This is the important service that we offer, for the particular companies that we’ve been grooming for a while to be the Unicorns of tomorrow…

Because the secret is that there are no born Unicorns, but the ones out there are all made in the corse of the StartUp life, and the Entrepreneurs’ journey.

And we know how to breed these beasts in our stables quite well. And as a matter of course, as well as a matter of course, we stud the whole lot of our stables with Unicorn DNA and hope for the best from our geldings. Of course our support matters greatly, and it always starts with identifying the founders, their expertise, and their purpose in selecting their mission, and from then on, we go whole hog to seeking the best way to help them get on or fundraising platform called the DOTs, because as they set the course for the company, they also set the course for the investors — and we simply have to steer them right.

Our pro-forma success depends on the CEO/Founder, to show up and see that there is something afoot, and that the shift for their company, from just another StartUp, to a Funded company, is already underway.

Naturally for the American Angels to help these young startup companies make this transition — we have to take the time to understand what the company is all about, what are the aspirations of the Founders, the CEO, and the employees, where s the Market and the company going, where their efforts are headed, and where — if anywhere — this company leads the world.

In that vein, we need to truly mine the DNA and do some genetic engineering to imbue the Unicorn traits into the origin story of the Company and it’s Founder, so that we can hope that a Unicorn can be “created” and we often do that leading the mindset of the Founder, by asking the leading questions, like “why was the company founded?” “where is it going?” and “why?” and then allowing these Socratic questions to do their job.

Language of introspection in the English way is powerful, and serves quite well all of us, but especially serves well the proper systematic American Angel Investor that will surely succeed with so many companies under our wings, fully knowing that some of them will become Unicorns.

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Still, we have to figure out how to insert the Unicorn DNA, into the Entrepreneur’s journey in a way that is cooperative, value adding, and synthesizing. Because only if we are constructive and value adding to the Founders and to the Company – we can claim to bring a measure of success to the StartUp, even before the DOTs start rolling out.

And we have to do that work well before we even get invited to produce a term sheet, and invest a dollar in the company, because if we can’t figure out how to play a role that is constructive and value adding to the Entrepreneurs in front of us — we should not be making that investment, and should not be joining that company, nor should we be accepting that particular Board position, to help the company leap forward towards scale…


Yet, perhaps, the most important element of this equation, is that we must also seek to find out why the Founders started the company in the first place, and then blend the Unicorn graft within. To that end we ask the difficult questions such as why some founders start companies? Is it to just make money and get rich? Or to change the world?

Surely the transactional leaders, who start companies to get rich, first and foremost — are very different than the others, because when you see that it is important to understand it as the defining factor, since these folks will be money motivated, wealth operated, and cash transaction enabled, and thus their StartUp will be activated in a very different way that the others…

Yet for the other founders; those who start companies in order to solve a very specific problem, often one that they themselves have, we have to know that they will be very much hands on, product design, iteration, development, and market/user focused.

Further from that still, is the reason of founders who start companies in order to chart a course that is different from others, and these folks will be transformational leaders, iconoclastic entrepreneurs, and bold pioneers who dance to a different drummer than the rest of us, and that’s just fine because these folks really and totally change the World as we know it. And as it turns out — they also produce the vast and overwhelming majority of the Unicorns out there too.

So please, keep in mind, the three categories of Entrepreneurs out there, and mark this on their forehead, with indelible ink, as I do on my secret scoring sheets for all the StartUp companies that I meet and get to know intimately. I award these companies accordingly a “C” for those founders that I know that they build their companies in order to sell them; “B” for those founders who build companies that will go make the “book” and become public companies through the IPO process some day soon; and “A” for those founders who build companies that will clearly have the will to live and succeed long, and thus far outlive the Founding Entrepreneurs and their lives.

Ands thus in the long term, that I have been messing around with Startups I have learned that there is no right way to build a business, no right way to exit a business, and certainly not a single “right way” to operate a business. There are as many different ways to do the startup thing, as there are founders out there. And yet along with all that — I have learned that getting everyone on the same page about the specific way you are going to do the StartUp is a truly critical element of that business’s success.

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And then we might get lucky, to all just get there, by the skin of our teeth, only if everyone on the management team, all the faces on the investor’s group, and all the members of the Board of Directors — pull the sled for the long ride home. And that takes a cohesive agreement for all to be seeing and accepting the long term vision of making the purpose of the company their own, by wanting to go to the same place in the future together, to begin harvesting that specific opportunity, the Entrepreneur saw first.

Only then can great things start happening…

Dr Churchill


So by now, we hope that you know that Unicorns are made and are not born, and that if you get to recognize them at their infancy — you will become a very wealthy person, if you invest in them

And to do that you have to be able to intellectually able to answer these types of questions for all the companies we cultivate as young Unicorns.

Ask the leading questions for example, such as why is it a great idea for one of our American Angels companies to raise and ICO through our platform and thus move to a token based business model, when it is not a great idea for another one of our companies to do that?

What is the compelling story that differentiates the two?

Or why is it that it is a great idea for one of our portfolio companies to accept an M&A offer and have a strategic exit, well before they have reached their potential, when it is not a great idea for another one of our American Angels StartUp companies to do that?

And why is it a great idea for one of our startup companies to go public when it is a bad idea for another one of our accelerated Unicorn status targeting company to do that?

To be proficient in the Art of Unicorn spotting, you must understand the variance of the choices that we foist upon the companies we work with, since it is vitally important to understand how these companies were first funded, what their vision was, what the founders wanted out of their effort, what the investors signed up for, how they were capitalized, how they were managed, and how all of that might have changed them over the years, as they seek to be recognized as Unicorns or to simply avoid the common fate of the vast majority of Startups that join the trash heap of history…

So get cranking by buying and investing those DOTs and start playing the game here: and invest the DOTs into the Startups because it is hard to understand those things from theory, or from studying Unicorns from afar. You must get into their habitat and get to know them early on…

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To understand the Art of Unicorn Spotting better, you need to think about each company as a different journey, to a different place, and all of us – the employees, the management, the founders, the investors, the board members – as role players in that journey. And when you choose to join a company as an investor, or as the CEO, or an employee, you really need to take the time to understand that journey before you step into that role.

Because as an Angel investor into the American Angels platform of the DOTs, you will be studying Unicorns for a long time, if you want to get trained in the Art of Unicorn Spotting and hopefully someday manage to go hunting and bag the Big Ones…

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