I am Paul Foley (@paulnfoley), Managing Director of SmartCapital Colorado. Ask me anything! 06/07 @ 2:00 PM MT

Hey, Hacker Noon community!

I’m Paul Foley, Managing Director of SmartCapital.

The SmartCapital Colorado Portfolio allows investors access to 25 fast growth startups in Colorado. All of the companies have rounds led by other VC or Strategic investor partners, and we follow on those rounds, as well as all the companies have significant revenue that is scaling.

You can think of this as an index fund of growth companies in Colorado.

Excited to be here for this AMA on Friday, June 7th at 2:00 PM

Feel free to ask a question below. Talk soon!


BusinessDen write up on the SmartCapital Colorado Portfolio


Thank you for doing this, @paulnfoley.

Yesterday, @David & I did a panel together on the tech/startup ecosystem in the mountains and how can Vail (and other mountain communities) can attract more capital from elsewhere, becoming the new tech/startup hub of Colorado. The topic of second home owners came up. There’s a lot of intelligent, well-off individuals with diverse portfolios that come to the mountains as second homeowners. However, anecdotally, they have been more interested in brick-and-mortal businesses (correct me if I’m wrong). On the other hand, there’s this huge movement of individuals including tech professionals, entrepreneurs, aspiring founders who are moving to the mountains, oftentimes for the same reason second homeowners do. It’s a lot better for our psyche.
So my question is, how do we bring these two forces together to foster & grow a strong ecosystem in the mountains? The demand is definitely there.


Sorry, sorry for a lot of questions. Thanks for your time!

  • What is your opinion about building a product in public?

  • Your 2 cents about crypto-investing. I don’t mean ICO. I mean replacing real money for cryptocurrency at VC business.

  • Can you tell more about the company that uses Hemp? One of the Ukrainian startups(my native country) use hemp as termoisolator for building more cheap buildings in US. I saw a news that Porshe wants to release a car using hemp as a material.

  • When you’ll ask Ashton Kutcher to join your board of directors?

  • Do you plan to invest in private rocket companies? They can use Colorado winters for stress tests :slight_smile:

  • What is your take on food tech startups.

Thanks again

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Hi Paul,
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Here are mine.

1: Since you’re an avid mobile gamer, do you know “Out There: Omega”? If you don’t, please send me your email (the one linked to your AppStore account) and I’ll send it to you as a gift. It’s a must-try!

2: With the help of communities like Hackernoon, we can see a very diverse, new crowd of developers/entrepreneurs rising from pretty much anywhere, and from any background.
As a startup, you can find talented people to join your ranks that could be on the other side of the planet. Talent that’s probably much cheaper than in hot areas like SF.

Yet, I don’t see that many (if any) VCs funding distributed teams. VCs are still very “local”. Why so, when they could fund teams, regardless of their location, that can be super talented and be much more capital efficient?

And by capital efficient, I mean the same amount of capital would give 24 months of runway where it would only be 12 for a non-distributed startup.

NB: I’m not talking about having a team of cheap contractors. I mean real co-founders, who chose to live in an area where life is just better & much cheaper than say SF.



Hey @paulnfoley thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. Now that you’ve made the transition from Startup Cofounder/COO (Augur) to Cofounder/CEO of a venture firm (SmartCapital Colorado), how has your day to day work changed for the better and for the worse?

P.S. In our equity crowdfunding, ≅4.8% of our shareholders were Colorado based. There is so much economic value in this region, I don’t understand why more is not invested into CO startups - great to see you making an accessible way for more CO startups to access capital.

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Hi Paul,

I am a recent college graduate that studied business marketing. After my graduation in May, I moved back to Denver.

I want to get into tech and product management. Ideally, I would work with at a startup. Do you have any recommendations on getting into the Colorado tech and startup scene? Also, how do you recommend getting into product management?

Thank you in advance!

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@paulnfoley thanks for taking the time to answer questions!

Any plans to support pre-revenue startups to help build a healthier pipeline of revenue generating startups?


sorry for bothering again, but I find another paper note with question to you. thanks for doing this AMA. I see a lot of cool questions there!

What is your opinion about AL syndicates(i.e. if that tool/idea is very bright - why they moving their focus into became a job board)?

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Hi @paulnfoley! This is a great platform and love the local focus. I’ve seen startups in Toronto struggling to raise money from investors and everything is scattered. Something like SmartCapital would be useful to have here.

Are you planning to expand to different cities/countries?

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Hey there, thanks for doing this AMA. Have you noticed major trends in VC investing in blockchain companies in 2019? Can you name one major element you would consider essential to include in the pitch and presentation?


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Very cool project @paulnfoley, just learning about it now. Is the investment process fully automated and online?

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Hi Paul! thank you for taking our questions!

Quick question, what are some red flags for you when vetting a project?

And also, how long after f&f round would you recommend getting to VC funding?

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Heya Paul,

As an investor, what are some of the challenges in discovering new startups worth keeping an eye out? Are there any tips and best practices you would like to share with hackernoon community here?

Hi Paul! Thank you for joining the AMA. What experience do you think was the most valuable for you to jumpstart your career? Would you say Deloitte or did you learn by yourself?

Thank you in advance for sharing <3

Hi Paul,
From your experience in the investment world, where do you think most of the startups fail? What is the one advice you always have found yourself keep giving to early-stage startups?

Thank you!

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Hi Paul,

What is your opinion on the increasing use of machine learning and other data analytics tools to improve business?

Thank you for joining the AMA, and for your reply :grin: :catsmile:

  • El Niño

Hello Paul,

Thanks for doing this. It’s a really interesting project you got there! Here are my questions:

  1. How do you find investors? Usually, VCs go after large Limited Partners (e.g. institutional investors, family offices, etc.) to raise money for their fund. In your case, you are collecting relatively small tickets from small, private investors and angels. How are you marketing your own fund and what is your process to find suitable investors?

  2. What legal framework do you choose for your portfolio companies? What are your preferred standard conditions and contracts (e.g. SAFE, etc.)? Do you apply the same conditions and contracts for all your portfolio companies?

  3. When did you start raising your fund? Did you raise the fund first (if so, what size) and start investing once all LPs were signed up or did you onboard your portfolio companies first and then started to raise the fund afterwards?

Thanks for your kind replies, I am really looking forward to this!



Hello Paul,

Thank you for taking the time to answer the community’s questions.

I am wondering why you decided to focus on Colorado. Do you think Denver is the next Silicon Valley? what is a company you would recommend everyone to pay attention for?
Thank you!!

Hi Paul, thanks for doing this AMA! :grin:

I was wondering, what’s the strangest, most unlikely company in SmartCapital’s portfolio? In other words, is there a company in there that makes investors go “wtf”? If so, what made you believe in them? On a related note, what’s the coolest company you had to pass on?