We talk with Hayseed Ventures COO Scott Andrews. Hayseed Ventures is a VC Production Studio located in Northwest Arkansas. They are actively working to change the face of startups in Northwest Arkansas and to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship in beautiful downtown Fayetteville.
Q : What do you do?
Scott: We are a startup that starts startups. We are a venture studio, with a team of 7, we partner with early stage companies and help them raise funds. Our goal is to work with 6 to 8 companies a year.
Q : Who is John James?
Scott: He is a physician by profession who likes to build businesses. He figured out how to arbitrage keywords back in the 90s with google adword traffic and became a huge portion of it, he built Grill Stuff and started Acumen brands (monetizing facebook).
Q: What is your competitive advantage?
Scott: Customer Acquisition. We understand the process of getting the data, analyzing it and creating the economic machine that drives it.
Q: What are some of your current portfolios.
Scott: We actually have 5. One is the Q-Ball, it's a quiz ball reloaded. We built the content behind the machine and then built a SaaS business around it and built an online platform for it
Q: What kind of companies you work for?
Scott: A company that is early but has some tractions, some customers and some revenues.
Example: Menguin (Online Tuxedo Rental)
Q: Your model, how it is different from venture fund or from incubator or accelerator?
Scott: Its kind a mixed of everything. Our revenue is like a venture fund. We are co-founder.
Q : How did you come to work for Hayseed Ventures?
Scott: My interest is to work with a lot of different engineers and to continuously learn and learn about new things.
Q: What advice could you give to entrepreneurs who might want to talk to Hayseed?
Scott: Any entrepreneur needs to understand the problem they are solving, If you have specific interest or understanding, turn into competitive advantage.
Q: What do you look for entrepreneurs or businesses to work with?
Scott: We have a checklist and the top 3 are: Can we test this quickly? Can we reiterate it quickly and can we do it cheaply? And aside from these, we also identify if the business is a 10 million dollar business, if not then it is not something that we mess with. Does it have a clear customer acquisition strategy?
Q: Why should entrepreneurs come to Hayseed?
Scott: With a team having different brains, you get a lot of experience thinking about you all the time and you get a lot of contacts. An accelerator would introduce you to a lot of people and say go figure it out; a venture capital groups would say here’s the check, go figure it out. We’ll say come work with us, we will help you figure it out. We are hands-on and we’re teacher, not doers. We will teach you how to run your social strategy, how to manage your website and how to raise capital.
Q: What needs to happen next to make this whole Northwest Arkansas rock and roll?
Scott: I think we need to continue the path that we’re going, we’re starting to create density. Find ways to retain talents.
Q: What is your message to big companies, why do they need to care about this startup things?
Scott: I think that when we do better, they’ll do better as well. They’re going to be able to attract more talents and provide more service to them.
Q: Why should they come to this region?
Scott: This region is the Silicon Valley for retail. You’ve got Fortune One and everything that supports it. There are vendors and world-class educational institution here.
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