In the 10 years of being lovers, Katie and I have started 3 companies together. The first was a commercial recycling business that serviced over 25 restaurants, condos, and bars in Austin. We were in college and this money paid for our tuition. Our second company was a whole foods, raw, and vegan brand called Thunderbird. We grew the brand to national distribution and our biggest customer was Whole Foods Market! Our first two business ventures were 100% self funded and we learned a lot through hard work, passion, and mistakes.
Katie frequently power-posed during Thunderbird demos circa 2010
When we decided to unleash our inner carnivores and start EPIC, we knew that creating a protein bar using 100% grass fed animal muscle meat was going to be game changing. We also knew that in order to become a category leader we needed to raise some capital to support the expenses of rapid growth. As a result we went to a business accelerator showcase and pitched to a crowd of over 200 investors. After our highly energetic pitch in which we talked about improving the lives of consumers, restoring the environment, and creating a consciously profitable business we soon realized that most traditional financial investors suck!
Discouraged but not disheartened, Katie and I left the venue wondering if all investors sucked and if so, how could we find one that only sucked a little? As our cosmic trajectory would have it, the next day we received an email from a Houstonian named Cameron that was eating a Thunderbird bar at his daughters swim meet. His email simply said “Hey, I love your bars! If you guys are ever raising capital, I would love to talk.” We thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to continue to practice our pitch and decided to call this stranger.
This was very day that we decided to bring Cameron into the EPIC family!
Within the first 10 minutes of our conversation things were sounding too good to be true. Our pheromones were compatible and my gut told me that Cameron was the kind of guy that we wanted to join the team. Cameron radiated with energy, immediately saw our vision, aligned with our company culture, and freaked out with excitement when I told him we were going to make a meat bar! Unfathomable to us, this phone call would change our lives and be the financial foundation that help started EPIC.
You should only take money from investors who are willing to get their hands dirty. We put Cameron to the test last year and he passed with flying colors
Over the past 2 years, Katie and I have shared some incredible life experiences with Cameron and his family. They are very near to our hearts and we are thankful to have them in our lives. Since then we have had the opportunity to join with other investors who also share our vision, mission, and values. I always look forward to seeing them because I enjoy each one of them on a personal level.
Cameron & Elizabeth with the EPIC crew and our good buds at Cappellos during Expo East 2014
Here is my advice to entrepreneurs, don’t take money from anyone that sucks. If an investor asks you about EBITDA, revenue multiples, exit strategy, and margins during your first meeting, DONT take their money. Look for people who are in alignment with your vision, understand and believe in your mission, and fit into your company culture. Find your Cameron!
Only take money from investors that are cool enough to wear v-necks
Here is my advice to investors, try and see entrepreneurs as people willing to take a risk. They are just like you, but probably have a much smaller house and a cheaper car. Make investments in people, products, and companies that you personally believe in. Take a risk, and email a business owner of a company that is inline with your own vision of how to create a better world. When you do this, EPIC things happen.
Cameron and Elizabeth at our wedding in 2013! Cameron was raging on MCT oil and kombucha cocktails... look at his right fist