Get Happy: Finding the right funding

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 8, 2014, 7:42 pm


How do you raise money for a new venture? That’s probably the No. 1 question I get when people find out what I do. 

Is it easy? Absolutely not. But Brainstorm is my fifth company I’ve been involved with from the start, and each one of them has found the necessary funding to launch. There are several ways to raise capital, and the key is finding the strategy that matches your long-term vision. The truth of the matter is that, in the beginning, you are just looking for anyone who has an interest in what you are doing. Even if they aren’t a good candidate as an investor, they may know someone who is.  Plus, you want to practice telling your idea and your story, see how well you tell it, and listen to the feedback to reveal the areas of concern that potential investors will focus on. 

As I was assembling the initial business plan, I tried to be really conservative with our forecasts.  One of the biggest lessons I learned at Never Compromise was not to overpromise. And while it would be great if the Happy Putter became the next Odyssey putter, it doesn’t need to be for us to have a very successful golf company. We projected a “worst case” cash need based on fairly conservative sales figures. Then we decided to raise more than double that amount.Why? Because, no matter how conservative you are, things never go the way you planned.

Blog 3: Raising money

Blog 2: Picking the right team

Blog 1: The reality of a start-up company

Product development always takes longer and is always more expensive than you think. Also, the greatest gift a startup can have is time. The more time you have, the more likely you are to succeed … and sometimes it takes money to have more time. In addition, as you launch a company, there is optimism, and it is easier to raise capital when you don’t need it than when you do. The more desperate you are for funds, the more difficult it is to get, and if you do get it, it comes at a high price. 

It’s not tremendously hard to find people with money to invest. The hard part is looking for investors you really like, who share the vision and are people you really want to be in business with.

The toughest investor to find is the first one. As the stock market proves every day, investors have a “pack mentality,” and very few of them want to go first. The first investor truly becomes family, and they recognize the importance of their role. 

So, even if they’re dangling a bag of money, my advice is: Make sure you really like spending time with this person and are comfortable with them taking a very active role in your company’s creation. 

Enter Jim Crone. As I mentioned in the last blog, Crone is a self-made man.  You’ve heard the expression “salt of the Earth.” Jim is pretty salty, and pretty pepper-y, too.  He’s a Vietnam vet who started his first company in his twenties and worked his way from Pittsburgh to Southern California.  He saved enough money to buy some real estate, and slowly grew his private company into one of the largest commercial real estate companies in San Diego. 

Jim may not know how to make a golf club, but he knows how to make companies that last. Even though Jim had never been involved in golf, his lack of experience worked in our favor. Jim improved the putter by making suggestions based not on “how it’s done in golf,” but on common sense.  We wanted the adjustment features of the Happy Putter to be intuitive and Jim’s inexperience as a golfer helped.

So we found our life-giver, and now we had enough to get started, but we still only had 10 percent of our total capital goal. Most companies fail because they don’t get the proper funding, and with this great idea, we couldn’t let that be our downfall.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.