Interview with Jimmy Brandt, Venture Capitalist

Posted on 03. Nov, 2009 by in Interviews

Jimmy Brandt

Jimmy Brandt is president of The Brandt Organization, Inc. of California, a personal investment vehicle he created to identify and fund Southern California startups that have developed, or almost completed development of, environmentally friendly new products or services.

OG: What are you looking forward to most about the conference?

Jimmy: Primarily networking.  Secondarily, it would be great if I could identify an attractive investment opportunity.

OG: How do you see the investment climate for sustainable startups, in the midst of these economic times?

Jimmy: Angel money has dried up because there are far fewer exit opportunities, and angels have less money to invest.   A lot are finding it necessary to provide additional funds to startups that didn’t grow as originally hoped.  Indeed, some startups which likely would have been viewed favorably in good times will be unable to obtain funding today.   For those that do, company valuations will be much lower than previously.  As a result, it’s a very tough time for entrepreneurs.  In contrast, there will be many opportunities for well-funded investors.

OG: Which industries do you see rising to the top in these hard times?

Jimmy: Renewable and alternative energy are sure bets, but those efforts will not produce dramatic results in the short term.  As a result, I’m focused more on companies that are developing products or services that will reduce energy consumption.

OG: Do you have any advice for sustainability oriented entrepreneurs seeking VC funding right now?

Jimmy:  There are probably just as many entrepreneurs seeking capital today as a year ago, but far fewer investors with much less risk capital.  As a result, it’s more important than ever for entrepreneurs to network.  Successful entrepreneurs have a certain something in their nature that makes them absolutely determined to see their baby grow.  That passion is absolutely critical in today’s environment.  I’m confident that many people attending Opportunity Green this weekend have great ideas.  In order to get their companies funded, they’ll need management with solid business experience.

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