What do entrepreneurs and investors have in common? Fear. As a serial entrepreneur and investor, Venture360 CEO Rachael Qualls understands that fear from both sides.
“I have tons of fear on a daily basis,” she says. “I think it’s one of the things I like about [being an entrepreneur and investor]. Every day, something new is terrifying, and every day, I get up and do it anyway.”
Those like Rachael Qualls see entrepreneurs’ worst fears as calls to greatness. For them, fear is an asset. They conquer fear to fuel productivity. “I think that’s part of what is a competitive drive in a lot of entrepreneurs,” she says.
But the most unique part of Qualls’ relationship with fear? How she used it create a software startup used in more than 1,600 cities across 52 countries.
Rachael Qualls’ Start: eBay, Real Estate, and Angel Investing
Qualls’ uncommonly deep understanding of the relationship between entrepreneurs and investors began in college. She started by flipping misspelled merchandise on eBay. She then jumped into the world of real estate investing after graduation. From there, Qualls continued down a path that intertwined entrepreneurship and investment, eventually founding Angel Capital Group (ACG) in Tennessee.
“I realized being an entrepreneur [that] raising capital was probably the most painful thing I’ve ever done, and I wanted to make it easier for people,” she says. “I also realized as an investor that this was the highest-performing asset class in history, and not many investors got access to private equity.”
Qualls turned out to be right. ACG went on to found multiple chapters and funds across the Southeast, and continues growing. Yet even as it grew, Qualls could see another horizon. Entrepreneurs and investors needed better tools than spreadsheets. They also faced a new funding frontier shaped by cryptocurrency, blockchain, and tokenization. What did Qualls do?
She followed the fear to her next idea, a portfolio management software platform called Venture360.
How Rachael Qualls and Venture360 Help Founders and Investors
On the investment side, Venture360 helps venture capital funds, angel groups, and individual investors streamline how they manage their investments. Gone are spreadsheets causing headaches and bloodshot eyes. In their place: Reports, statements, and analytics that are easy to read and take action on.
On the entrepreneur side, Venture360 makes raising capital easier with features from automated cap table management to fully electronic closing. Tools like that improve investor updates, too, helping entrepreneurs nurture strong relationships with their stakeholders.
Giving entrepreneurs and investors the ability to screen, close, and track private investments has driven impressive market traction for Venture360. Qualls, however, still attacks the opportunity ahead of her like it’s day one.
“Everything about starting a company is hard,” she says. “You don’t have credibility. Your product probably isn’t as fully vetted as you would like. You have to convince people to believe in you before there’s any substantiated evidence to do so.”
That last thought is worth paying extra attention to. Finding people who believe in you often means finding the right community. For Qualls, that meant leaving the Nashville tech startup community, where she founded Angel Capital Group.
Finding the right community in Kansas City
Qualls’ journey as an entrepreneur and investor taught her the value of community. It also taught her that access to resources can make or break a startup. To give Venture360 its best chance to succeed, Qualls knew she needed to move.
“I moved it to Kansas City as soon as I could,” she says. “I love the entrepreneurial culture here. I was seeing public and private initiatives that were unlike anything else in the country.” Moreover, the confidence of being in the right place makes Qualls and the Venture360 team feel empowered.
“No one’s going to know your business as well as you. No one will ever have the passion for your business that you do,” she says. “When it comes down to everybody being a critic of what you’re doing, being able center yourself in [that self-confidence] and keep getting up and putting one foot in front of the other … eventually, it will work out.”
That attitude, along with continuing to follow the fear, continues pushing Qualls forward as an innovator in portfolio management software. In fact, there’s probably no better example of that than Venture360’s newest product, LIQUIFI, which powers custom capitalization strategies with blockchain.