Homegrown venture capital analyst says Delaware is a fertile field for entrepreneurs
According to WalletHub, Delaware offers the #5 Best Innovative Environment in the United States and is the #8 Most Innovative State. And Delaware clearly believes in its innovators – it’s also the #1 state for Venture Capital Spending Per Capita.
Homegrown venture capital advisor Pedro Moore got his first taste of entrepreneurship when he spent summers on his grandfather’s farm, picking melons and nuts to sell to grocery stores. Since then, the Delaware-born, Delaware-raised Moore has remained Delaware-based while becoming a prolific advocate for funding startups while also launching several of his own businesses outside the venture capital world. The enterprising Delawarean is an analyst for Daymond John, an investor on TV’s “Shark Tank,” and is starting his own venture fund.
Moore grew up in New Castle and graduated from William Penn High School before attending the University of Delaware to study marketing and management. While at UD, he founded an entrepreneurship club that was open to all majors, not just business students, and featured inspiring speakers like prominent Delaware businessman and venture capitalist David Freschman.
Freschman was famous in tech circles both for starting Early Stage East, a must-do angel venture fair, and for his colorful personality. Moore went on to learn from Freschman about investing in companies before they went public and to volunteer at the conferences Freschman organized. A few years after he graduated, Moore joined Innovation Ventures, which Freschman managed, as an analyst, meticulously reviewing potential investments.
Moore then became the executive director of the nonprofit Delaware Innovation Fund, which Freschman also started. Both that fund and Innovation Ventures focused on growth and early-stage investment in information technology, software and business-information services for legal and financial services. Delaware Innovation Fund-affiliated First State Angels pulled together high net worth investors to fund entrepreneurial ventures.
Moore also has been creating his own independent entrepreneurial legacy. In 2010, he helped start the coIN Loft, Delaware’s first coworking space. He also owns Bump N Play, the state’s first bubble soccer company.
But his primary focus remains serving as an analyst for clients, such as Wilmington-based True Access Capital and John, whom Moore met at one of Freschman’s conferences before John joined “Shark Tank.” In addition to completing due diligence for his clients, Moore handles deal structures.
Not surprisingly, there is a demand for angel and venture capital funding. But there also is a need for guidance for the funders.
“A doctor knows how to be a doctor, but he does not know how to invest,” Moore notes. “If he doesn’t have anyone to help him look at a deal, he’ll just hold onto his money.”
Next up, Moore is building a venture capital firm, Leverage Us Capital, which will provide flexible capital to women and minority-led companies in the mid-Atlantic region. Delaware, he says, is liberally peppered with such entrepreneurs and startup companies. And because venture capital is a “people business,” he says, Delaware is a good place for it.
“I can’t imagine trying to get a hold of key people in Silicon Valley,” Moore says. “In Delaware, you’re only a few touch points away from a high-profile person. When the state is smaller, you’re closer, and you can reach the right people faster.”