Andrew Lacy sold his first company to Disney. Now he’s working to transform the healthcare system with his newest venture.
On the Dealmakers Podcast, Lacy talked about M&A deals, the diagnosis of business ideas, the problems and solutions to today’s biggest healthcare issues, startup fundraising, why more investors are better than fewer, and why never to invest in a second-time entrepreneur who had success the first time around.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Taking The Leap Into Entrepreneurship
Andrew Lacy was born in Melbourne. A place he describes as a great one for quality of life and growing up in. Though just incredibly far from everything else in the world. This means when most explore outside of the country, they go for a couple of years at a time. He has now been living abroad for the past 15 years.
The Australian education system is a little different in that you are given a book, of course, of which you can get into any which you already have the scores for. Rather than having to apply. Having done well in high school, he pretty much could choose from anything he wanted to study.
Having an interest in problem-solving, and a love for courtroom drama TV, he chose to study law at university.
Unfortunately, he soon became deeply disappointed that it mostly revolved around problems of a decade ago, not solving new things.
When he was exposed to the opportunity to go into consulting with McKinsey and work on new business problems, he jumped on it. There he was able to help companies deal with the threat of the internet, or how they could capitalize on it.
McKinsey put him through his MBA, which he chose to do at Stanford. He remembers rollerblading around Silicon Valley. Past companies like eBay and Yahoo. Where people sitting in offices were connecting with the rest of the world. He found that very fascinating.
He continued to struggle through his MBA, watching others go off and start their own companies. Rather than stay in San Francisco and continue to be miserable at watching others live out this dream, he requested a transfer to work with McKinsey in Spain instead.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
Returning to The Bay Area And Starting His Own Company
After two years, he decided to return to the Bay Area in hopes of beginning by working in a tech company. He soon found that having a law degree and McKinsey on his resume were actually seen negatively, and he couldn’t get hired.
It turned out that it was easier to start his own company than to get a job working for someone else.
Since starting several companies of his own, he is often approached by others working in law firms or consulting firms like McKinsey, asking for him to have coffee and sell them on the idea of becoming entrepreneurs themselves.
He doesn’t believe this is the right way to think about it. He says that you cannot rationalize being an entrepreneur with lists of pros and cons or a spreadsheet. If you are comfortable taking the low-risk approach of staying in a corporate job and career, that’s fine. Entrepreneurship is incredibly hard. You are either compelled into it or not.
For those considering it, he recommends doing it sooner rather than later. Do it while you are young. When you have less financial responsibility, and can take big risks. Then you have plenty of time to recover and build back if it doesn’t work out for you.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Andrew Lacy was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Selling Your Company
Andrew Lacy’s first company was inspired by the launch of the iPhone. He saw the potential of what it could become, far beyond just being another smartphone.
So, he and his cofounder launched a sort of underground app store, and quickly hit 10M installs.
Raising money for it was a struggle. They went up and down Sand Hill Road, and were turned away by every VC firm they pitched. No one believed in the iPhone. They were only interested in funding deals to do with Nokia or Blackberry.
So they began bootstrapping instead. Then they were able to get some small checks from a number of angel investors.
They survived the 2008 financial crisis and just focused on building a bigger company. As they went to raise a Series B round of funding, they were hit with an acquisition offer from Disney.
Although he and his cofounder didn’t necessarily have the same level of passion for taking the deal, they ended up selling and exiting the company.
He spent the next year working for Disney in Paris, running some of their European studios.
Then he met his wife, began doing some angel investing himself, and decided he wanted to better learn how to build products himself.
So, he hired some developers to come teach him how to code in a practical setting. Six months later, he woke up and realized that he had inadvertently created a new company, with five people working for him.
He also ended up selling his next company within four years.
Transforming The Healthcare System
Today, Lacy’s newest venture is Prenuvo. A hardware and software health tech company. One focused on diagnosing and preempting cancer and chronic diseases, with new applications for MRIs.
He sees this not only as a way to save millions of lives, but to stop cancer at stage one, and save the healthcare system billions of dollars, by turning it into a proactive, versus reactive system.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- Diagnosing business ideas
- Why not to bet on second-time founders
- How Prenuvo is changing health and wellness
- Why having more investors may be better