Why I Bet My Career on This Man (and Won)

You probably don’t know me. I consider myself more of a “behind the scenes” guy and prefer to stay out of the spotlight.

But I felt compelled to write this because, like most people, I prefer to know who exactly I’m taking financial advice from.

Are they qualified? Are they credible? Have they really done the things they say they’ve done?

With those questions in mind, I want to talk to you about Andy Gordon.

A little background…

I’ve worked in the financial publishing business for nearly 10 years. In that time, I’ve gotten to work alongside some of the biggest and brightest names in the business.

Their insights have helped me become a better, savvier investor. They’ve also allowed me to build up a strong nest egg for me and my growing family.

But up until two years ago, my portfolio was comprised solely of cash, stocks and bonds.

I’d never even considered private equity investing (like most folks).

Then I met Andy.

I wasn’t looking to make a career move, but a colleague told me about a new investment research firm called Early Investing. It had just launched its newsletter and was looking for someone to help run the day-to-day operations.

My knowledge of startups came mainly from syndicated episodes of Shark Tank on MSNBC, so I figured I wouldn’t be a good fit anyway. Then I started reading Andy’s bio…

CIA… economic advisor to the governor of Maryland… consultant on infrastructure in Asia… energy expert… contractor turned global entrepreneur… “K” Street operative… published author… professor…  educated in the U.S., England and Russia.

These were just a few of the keywords that stuck out.

Was this guy Jack Ryan, Mark Cuban or some kind of unique combination of the two? And what in the world did any of those things have to do with researching startups?

I had to know more. So I reached out and asked Andy to meet me for coffee.

What was supposed to be a 30-minute meet-and-greet turned into a fascinating two-hour Q&A. I specifically remember asking him…

“How did you go from working for the CIA… to advising the governor of Maryland… to becoming an entrepreneur… to now showing people how to invest in startups?”

He chuckled.

He told me being an entrepreneur overseas gave him a ton of experience in the many ways big money is made and lost.

“I learned when to chase opportunities and when to back off… when to invest and when to get out,” he said. “I have a ton of empathy for people who run companies, drive success and create real wealth.”

Andy relayed a few stories of great wealth won and lost. He definitely knew his stuff. I quickly realized that I wasn’t in the same investing league as him. So I asked the one question that was foremost in my mind: “Why should someone like me care about investing in startups?”

My portfolio was doing fine. I’d carved out a nice long-term strategy and didn’t think I needed to make any major alterations.

“Ah, usually people who ask me that question already know the answer – or they think they know,” Andy said with a knowing sigh.

I knew the success stories of big investors like Peter Thiel and Chris Sacca (both of whom I’d seen on Shark Tank), who hit it big with companies like Facebook and Uber. But those guys had tens of millions of dollars on hand. How could I – a father of three with a steady but far from gargantuan paycheck – possibly get into the game?

Andy told me, “You and every other investor should start paying attention to startups. The rules are about to change. Soon everyone will be able to invest in startups. And the minimums will go as low as $100…

“Can you afford $100, Cory?”

I walked away from our meeting and fact-checked everything we’d just discussed. I read up on the SEC’s Title III regulation and all of the opportunities it would bring.

I was beaming with excitement.

By having coffee with Andy, I felt I had just discovered something of great importance. And I wanted to be part of it. (I’m sure you, as an Early Investing subscriber, can relate.)

That was March 2015. I joined the Early Investing team that same month.

A little over a year later, Title III was put into action. Now everyday investors like you and me – not just wealthy accredited investors – can take equity stakes in private early-stage companies.

Thanks to the passing of Title III, I was able to help Andy and his partner Adam Sharp launch our premium research service First Stage Investor (which has more than 13,000 members to date). Our objective is to educate the masses and help people find high-quality startups to invest in.

With every passing day, the amount of startups raising money under Title III continues to expand. It’s a huge opportunity for average Joes like me.

Last week, I grabbed another coffee with Andy. I casually mentioned that Title III is now officially 1 year old.

“May has been a big month for early investors,” he said. “But I have my eyes on July 20.”

I listened slack-jawed as he explained what he meant. Mark my words: This is going to be BIG.

I suggest you keep an eye on your inbox. We’re going to send you a special report very soon.

Good investing,

Cory Templeman
Managing Editor, Early Investing