Alex Bangash is the Founder, Chairman, Managing Director, and CEO at Trusted Insight, a platform for institutional investors in 2010. Trusted Insight is the world’s biggest network of institutional investors and provides investment decision-makers at endowments, foundations, pensions, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, corporations and healthcare systems with access to a global professional network, alternative investment opportunities and an informational advantage in private markets. In 2003, he founded Rumson Consulting Group, an innovative asset management and advisory firm specializing in Venture Capital investments for institutional investors.
- What is Trusted Insight?
Trusted insight is a membership organization for institutional investors or limited partners. It is a website that provides news, job information, forums, and a community of individuals. The goal of Trusted Insight is self actualisation of investors. We want to recognise people and their contributions, not for their logos, rather for their contributions, their contributions to society, their contributions to thinking for themselves, their contributions to their peers. A journey of self actualisation. At the end of the day, we are not collecting things, we are not the logos, that we’ve collected, we are the body of work, in substance we are all artists, we’re makers, we’re creators and artists will create a work of art with their paint and an investor will create a work of art with their portfolio. Therefore it’s not the mindless names you would say ‘I’m with x,y and z’ with same portfolio as Warren Buffet but it’s the one that you’ve created. The news on Trusted Insight is customised using a machine learning algorithm, our forums foster knowledge sharing among institutional investors without an angle. Traditional media celebrates capital and big things, we celebrate uniqueness, creativity, umm and thoughtfulness. We have the worlds largest institutional investor community curated and its getting, larger and larger even during Covid and the community, even though Covid hit us, it really has grown almost five fold engagement in the last six weeks.
2. Can you explain a bit about yourself?
I don’t really think of myself as a VC or an investor, I think of myself as a builder helping other builders, as a risk taker helping other risk takers. I have always rooted for the underdog, theres some people who are backing a sports team or backing a stock or something and always want the biggest thing, the biggest logo, the most powerful. I’ve always have been on the side of the outlaws, the rebels and when I had after university and after my first job, I’ve always been gravitated towards building things myself and helping other builders. So in some sense venture capital has been my actualization so I think it would be fair to say that I stumbled upon this, this was just happenstance. I love technology I studied computer science in university and when I thought of what to do next, I decided to root for the underdogs, to root for the next big thing right, not the empires of the past. Who is going to create the next big thing? This question was one I naturally gravitated towards.
3. What is the future of Venture Capital and what is your views on investing?
I think the future of venture capital is so bright because a lot of our traditional notions of venture capital were built on certain assumptions that these big firms located in Silicon Valley, well this is all being disrupted. Disrupted by first by people like Y Combinator, by Entrepreneur First, amongst many more. These people are disrupting that notion that venture capital is a bunch of bankers and brokers of whom were prevalent thirty, forty years ago. Venture capitalists have the biggest cognitive dissonance. If you ask them what will change, most will claim this, that and everything is going to change and then when you ask them if their industry will change, they would say no because they are sure it can’t change. What is happening is that their industry just like streaming just like media, telehealth, working from home are all getting disrupted along with venture capital. And Coronavirus has accelerated that disruption remote work means more remote startups and soon more remote investing and most of the traditional venture funds were not architected on remote investing.
So I think the future of venture capital will be API based funds, studios, platforms and distributed funds that have accumulating advantages and have network effects.
When you look in the media you have opportunities like shark tank and then you see the other side of the media which is the multibillion dollar funds, and people will say the multibillion funds actually build the best funds because there is the most money but the truth couldn’t be farther from that. You are seeing the narrative of Silicon Valley, the growth at all cost the things that are celebrated. These large funds are over paying they’re over capitalizing, funding over hyped companies and most of these large funds were raised on the premise that companies needed to stay private longer and and public markets were cheap and private markets were expensive. In the last three years that has slipped, public markets are now way more expensive than private markets and companies can go public with this notion of having these big funds and doing three four five hundred million dollar rounds is nonsense. However, there is another narrative, a narrative of companies growing profitably, companies building stuff and not needing a lot of capital.
So what do I look for in startups and founders are individuals that are charting their own path, not measuring themselves with how much money they’ve raised but with how their company is valued and who they have helped an impacted positively, the happiness that they’ve created for their customers.
4. What is your advice for young individuals?
My advice to everybody is don’t chase the mainstream game don’t say I need to go to a top university and get a job at a top bank and then get a job with a VC and then become an investor. Thats the mainstream theme, thats the traditional dream instead find yourself find your calling like Mike Mortitz, he was a reporter and the best entrepreneurs they didn’t have traditional jobs, didn’t Steve Jobs didn’t have a traditional career. Traditional paths limit your creativity they limit your thinking, they teach you how to think like everybody. So I would encourage people to find their calling to find the way they think to find the palette of colours with which they can build their own painting and that is their legacy that is their work. The notion that someone has to go to a top university with many degrees and then go to a big company in order to be able to have their own company, that is no longer the correct path to take. The Infinite game by Simon Sinik is a great book which I would recommend as a lot of us are programmed to win games, but building a company is not like that. Finally, it is so important to find your calling, to find what you really want to do, not for the next 6 months, not for the next 12 or 24 months, not get a low goal but to find your calling thats your life’s work and then you can get good at it and then you can create the things you want to create.
We would like to thank Alex for taking the time to speak with us.