After-Action Report: RVM #52 with Bill Militello

Many thanks to Bill Militello (USNA ’92) for his fascinating presentation last night on the LocalVest opportunity!

Those of you who know Bill or the Naval Academy Class of ’92 will understand this… we all had a laugh when Bill described himself as the “two Black-N anchor man” of his class. Not only did Bill go on to demonstrate just how articulate a thinker and speaker he is… but we’re talking about the Class of ’92 here. You’ve all met Laura Hatcher, J. Kevin White, Dave Rudko, and so on. If you’re the anchor man in THAT crowd, you’re probably still a bad-ass. 🤣

I also want to thank everybody who made it in! It was a small crowd last night. Just a few minutes before the Meetup started, our login solution went completely offline, and actually remains offline as I type. The only people who made it in were those who thought to use a previous link or who happened to see me post open links to the various LinkedIn groups.

This was not the first time we have had trouble with this vendor, but it WAS the last. Over the past four hours we fired the vendor and eliminated their code from the site, so that now you will see a RINGKNOCKER-themed login page under the ringknocker.net domain. The flip side: no more single-sign-on to Zoom, just a single Join button and it’s up to you to create your own Zoom login.

Frankly, I think it’s a fair price to pay for a solution that works, EVERY time. Anyway, back to Bill’s talk…

I think a lot of us spend a lot of mental energy thinking about how to scale a business model. And this was for me the most fascinating aspect of Bill’s talk.

What’s a scalable business model? Naively, a business model is scalable if it gets easier to make more of what you sell as you make more of them. Levis 501 jeans are scalable. Bespoke, hand-tailored suits are not. The right kind of software is SUPER scalable, because the second copy—or the millionth—costs nothing.

LocalVest is a platform that supports private equity investing… and in PE, every deal is different. Even highly templated deals are unique. So what makes LocalVest scalable?

It’s all in where you draw the lines. A shop that intends to hand-tailor 100,000 suits a month will probably not get there. But a platform that intends to connect each of 100,000 suit-buyers to a DIFFERENT totally non-scalable tailor shop, every month? That’s doable, because the non-scalable part has been abstracted right out of the business model!

This is what Bill and LocalVest have accomplished. Their platform handles the parts of the angel investment process that are always very much the SAME: aggregating investors, sharing due diligence, managing deal flow. But the parts that are DIFFERENT—fee collection, fund management, etc—are left to the individual group and are NOT part of the LocalVest model. The result is a valuable service that can scale as fast as it needs to while remaining agile to the changing requirements of the marketplace.

Not too shabby for the class anchor man, right? 😂

If you have an interest in leveraging the RINGKNOCKER platform and brand on the LocalVest platform to support a RINGKNOCKER investor group, give us a shout!

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