OutBuro Voices 1-28 Lorenzo Thione Gaingels LGBTQ Startup investing financial funding investor gay entrepreneur

Lorenzo Thione: Out Gay Entrepreneur, Venture Investor & Broadway Producer

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Lorenzo Thione, Managing Director of Gaingles (https://www.gaingels.com), an LGTQ equality centric venture capital syndicate.

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Lorenzo is a serial out gay entrepreneur, venture capitalist, writer, Broadway producer, and LGBTQ non-profit founder. Born and raised in Italy, he moved to the United States to attend college in Texas focusing on computational linguistic artificial intelligence. He co-founded his first start-up business right out of college and it’s been the entrepreneur’s path ever since.

Lorenzo Thione Gaingels LGBTQ entrpreneur out gay business venture capital investor OutBuro

Thione is the Managing Producer of Sing Out, Louise! Productions, the co-founder and CEO of The Social Edge, and a Managing Director at Gaingels (https://www.gaingels.com), a venture investment group based in NYC focused on investing and supporting LGBT+ founded/led startups, and socially responsible companies focused on supporting LGBTQ equality. In addition to his work as an entrepreneur, technologist and venture investor, Lorenzo is the co-creator/co-book writer and the lead producer of Allegiance, the 2015 Broadway musical starring George Takei and Lea Salonga. In developing Allegiance, he developed and deployed social-media viral strategies that led to the astounding growth and unprecedented awareness and audience engagement for both George Takei and Allegiance’s social media platforms, and – in turn – to the founding of The Social Edge, a social media management and marketing firm based in NYC. His producing credits include The Inheritance, Slave Play, Hadestown (Tony Award), Cher Show, The New One, Catch Me If You Can (Tony Nomination), and American Idiot. Additional IMDB credits: George Takei’s Allegiance (Director, Executive Producer), Bandstand – The Boys Are Back (Director, Executive Producer), Allegiance To Broadway (Executive Producer).

Lorenzo Thione Gaingels LGBTQ entrpreneur out gay business venture capital investor OutBuro

Besides being an active investor in the LGBT+ startup ecosystem via his position in Gaingels, Lorenzo is a founding board member and Chair Emeritus of StartOut, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and developing entrepreneurship within the LGBT community. A native of Milan, Italy, Lorenzo holds an M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and has co-authored several publications in Software Engineering and Computational Linguistics. He is an active investor, advisor, or board member, in over 80+ startups and a named inventor on over 30 pending and issued patents in the US and worldwide.

  • 01:45 Lorenzo Thione provides a brief introduction
  • 01:50 Introduction to StartOut
  • 03:30 Introduction to Gaingles, the largest LGBTQ focused venture capital syndicate
  • 05:50 The journey to entrepreneurism
  • 08:30 Entrepreneurism is not a passion. It is a disease.
  • 10:30 Surround yourself with a support network11:00 Having a co-founder(s) can balance and round out the experience
  • 11:30 Parinoid-optimist and projecting the reality you desire
  • 13:00 Perception is reality
  • 14:30 Failure is an experience of learning
  • 15:30 Mentors and Peers
  • 16:30 Ways to be involved with Gaingles
  • 17:00 Description of companies Gainles invests in today as a venture syndicate through venture lead rounds: (1) LGBTQ owned (founders), (2) LGBTQ leaders in C-suite, (3) LGBTQ equality value-aligned companies
  • 22:30 How social responsibility investing positively impact companies with an example of a negative impact with business reputation and customer trust lead to reduced financial performance
  • 23:45 Gaingels has grown from investing about $4-million 4 years ago to about $20-million in 2019 and just surpassed $50-million in investments in this year (2020) alone.
  • 24:00 Is there any chance companies are using Gaingels as window dressings like Pinkwashing investing?
  • 32:00 Early stages mean greater impact
  • 35:00 Lorenzo’s tip for LGBTQ startups

Connect with Lorenzo on OutBüro at: https://www.outburo.com/profile/lorenzothione/

Join Lorenzo on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://www.outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/

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Do You Fund LGBTQ Owned Businesses or Non-Profits?

Are you an angel investor, venture-capital fund or company that is opened and or proactively seek out LGBT owned businesses to invest in or sponsor? www.OutBuro.com is a platform for you to find LGBTQ owned businesses to consider. Indicate on your OutBüro LGBTQ professional profile that you are an angel investor or venture-capital fund or another funding resource so that business owners may search for you.

Leverage the system to seek those looking for funding too. Add your OutBüro LGBTQ employer listing for your company and indicate who you sponsor and/or fund. Those businesses or non-profit organizations can in return on their OutBüro LGBTQ employer listing indicate that you are their funding source. Join today. Your professional profile is free and your employer record is based on the number of employees that you have in your direct legal entity.

Indicating Investor or Sponsor Funding on Your Profile

1. Choose About to view your professional profile.

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2. Scroll down to locate the Business Funder section. Click the Edit button.

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3. Make your selection(s) from the drop-down then click the Save button.

The options are:

  • Nope not me
  • Individual Investor
  • Angel Investor
  • Venture Capital Investor
  • Business Loans
  • Business/Organization Sponsor
  • Grants
  • Other
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4. The field visibility option is set administratively as viewable by site members only.

Employer Listing – Funding Available for LGBTQ Owned Businesses or Organizations

For companies and investors, also claim/add your Employer Listing to indicate your funding types for LGBTQ owned businesses and/or non-profits.

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How to Raise Money for Your LGBT Owned Business: Part I

Starting a new business can be expensive, so it makes sense to seriously consider investment options right from the beginning. However, first you’ll need to be well prepared for the obligation that comes with getting funding, the questions to ask, and the small print to consider. So how can you prepare for this?

Challenges faced by small businesses starting out

Some businesses can be launched without much capital. For example, if you’re planning to provide remote services while working as a sole proprietor, you may need nothing more than a laptop and an internet connection.

But other types of businesses need money to get started. If you intend to launch a business that needs significant capital expenditure (such as a retail or manufacturing business or a company that employs several other people), you won’t get far without initial funding.

Seven questions to be ready to answer

Whoever lends you money will want to know you’re serious about investing it to grow your business. They will also want to know that you’ll be able to pay back the loan principal and the interest.

Make sure you have the answers to these important questions at your fingertips when talking to a potential investor:

  1. How much money do you want to raise?
  2. Will you be able to provide any collateral? What are your assets?
  3. Are you looking for debt, equity or other financing?
  4. How is your business credit rating? You can check this yourself in many countries.
  5. How is your personal credit rating? This too ­– and yes, the banks will check.
  6. How long have you been in business?
  7. What is your revenue?

Use professional accounting software to prepare charts and forecasts of your costs and revenue. This will help convince lenders that you have a solid business plan in place.

Always read the fine print

The terms and conditions of most loan agreements include the option for the lender to call in the loan at any time. That means the lender can ask for all their money back, with little or no notice, and regardless of whether you’ve been paying on time up to that point.

This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can be devastating. Unfortunately it happens most often during recessions, when banks and other lenders become more nervous about the likelihood their loans won’t be repaid.

This is just one reason why you should read the fine print of any loan agreement carefully. Get legal advice if necessary, and work with your accountant or financial planner to determine how much you can safely borrow. Make sure you understand all the terms of the loan before you sign.

Understand the cost of investment

When raising money for your business, you’re unlikely to get something for nothing. Your investors will want something from you in return for risking their funds:

  • For bank or credit card loans
    The cost to you is the interest rate and the risk of losing any collateral you’ve put up.
  • For angel investors and venture capitalists
    The cost is usually a percentage of ownership or control of your company.
  • For crowdsourced funds
    It’s whatever you’ve pledged to deliver in exchange for the money raised.
  • For friends and family
    It could be any of the above plus the risk of ruining a good relationship if things go wrong.

In other words, getting funding creates an obligation. It means you have a responsibility to make the most of the money you’ve been given.

That might seem like a challenge, but on the plus side it can help you to focus on your business and concentrate on making it a success.

Once you have the money, make it work for you. Use good quality accounting software to keep track of the amount you’ve borrowed, what you use it for and how much you pay back over time. Read Part II of this guide for eight ways you can raise funds for your small business.

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