Ron Hirsch, Founder and Chief Strategy Adviser of Title3Funds, brings his expertise in economics, finance, money management, and research to the team. As a crowdfunding pioneer, venture capitalist and former CEO and Chairman of a public company, Ron fully understands the challenges and opportunities in the business world. An army veteran with a strong sense of social justice and equal opportunity, he co-founded Title3Funds with the idea that investing in startups and new businesses online should be available to everyone.
Where did the idea for Title3Funds come from?
I’m a firm believer in the wisdom of the crowd. The purchasing decisions of regular people already play an enormous role in which companies are successful. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that consumers also have an innate sense of what companies make for good investments.
Investment crowdfunding gives regular people, regardless of wealth, the chance to invest in companies they believe in. One of the brilliant aspects of crowdfunded investment campaigns is that investors become evangelists for the projects they support, providing organic promotion and marketing for the company. As a venture capitalist and former CEO and Chairman of a public company, I understand the trials and tribulations facing entrepreneurs as well as the need to include more people in the most lucrative investment opportunities. I recognized an opportunity in the crowdfunded investment space to connect entrepreneurs with great ideas to people who believe in them. This vision became Title3Funds.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my days early around 6:30am. I check all of the financial, economics, industry, and world news so by 7:30am, I’m filled in on current events within finance and otherwise. I review my personal investments and make appropriate changes. I look at my emails and call schedule so I can prioritize tasks, corresponding with team members to coordinate activities. Much of my time involves talking with prospective companies that are looking to launch crowdfunded investment campaigns on Title3Funds and assisting companies we already working with to prepare for their campaigns.
How do you bring ideas to life?
One of the great aspects about my job and about Title3Funds is that we help bring other people’s ideas to life by supporting entrepreneurs to identify their supporters and gain the funding they need to grow their businesses and thrive. I’ve especially enjoyed seeing the innovative concepts emerging from the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, including urban farming solutions, safe travel applications, and sustainable transportation. All of us on the Title3Funds team look forward to supporting these projects to launch investment crowdfunding offerings and spread the word about what they are doing to transform society and help people during these trying times to adapt to “new normals.”
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m incredibly excited to see exploding interest in crowdfunded investments. Given crowdfunded investments have only been an option since Title III of the JOBs Act went into effect in 2016, it’s still a relatively new asset class the companies and people continue to learn about the opportunities it enables. Data from Crowdfund Capital Advisors shows that more companies are launching crowdfunded investment campaigns and more people are participating in them than ever before.
The SEC recently approved an update from the previous raise cap of $1.07 million to $5 million. This change will encourage even more small and medium-sized businesses in need of capital greater than $1 million to embark on crowdfunded investment campaigns. I’m particularly enthusiastic about these trends because I know that it’s small and medium-sized businesses that will ultimately pull us out of the current economic recession by providing jobs and solutions to the novel problems we are faced with because of the pandemic. Investment crowdfunding can help keep businesses thriving during and beyond COVID-19.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Some people have a hard time finding time to meditate given their busy schedules, but, in my experience, I find I’m much more productive by taking those few minutes out of my busy day to clear my mind and focus.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Read everything you can about your main interests. My passion ended up being finance, and, by the time I realized this, I did read everything I could get my hands on about economics, investing, and financial instruments. This research provided a baseline understanding and history of my field that served me well later in life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
As analytical as I can be when it comes to business, I firmly believe that, in most cases, our intuition is “smarter” than any expert or predictive algorithm. The answer to most life’s questions is already within us and we just need to tap into that internal compass.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take time to experience nature. That advice may surprise some of you, but regardless of what industry you work in, we can all learn so much from animals. Most creatures have evolved to make the best choices for themselves on instinct. We have lost touch with our intuition, and it’s time we re-learn this innate capability from animals. I think if we are more tapped into what is best for ourselves, each other, and the planet, we’d have more rewarding careers, caring businesses, and a healthier planet.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Never lose sight of what’s important. By comparing your top priorities with your biggest expenses, you can streamline operations and cut down on aspects you can do without. This practice of streamlining is particularly important during the pandemic.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One mistake I made when I was young was assuming that I knew as much as everyone around me. When I learned there were many people smarter than me, I was able to learn from them and become someone who now can share my wisdom and experience with others.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I encourage entrepreneurs to take advantage of the ever-growing interconnectivity in the world and between devices, drawing from their personal specialty to solve a real-world problem or fill a need. For example, there is a profound need for more access to scientific education, especially in light of the climate crisis. An application that aggregates scientific information from resources and experts and provides students a forum to ask questions could do very well.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $100 on a piece of artwork from a budding artist. It’s an abstract depiction of an ocean that involves a layered design; if you tilt the painting in a certain light, you might see a dolphin, whale, or other sea creature that is otherwise hidden from view. You never know; some day, this $100 piece of art could be worth $1 million.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Basecamp has been incredibly helpful to our team for prioritizing tasks, collating feedback, and ensuring we stay on track to meeting our business goals while working remotely.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I highly recommend Bill Gates’s Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy. Though Gates wrote it over 20 years ago, many of the takeaways are just as true today. One quote from the book that speaks to me is, “how you gather, manage and use information, will determine whether you win or lose.”
What is your favorite quote?
Louis Brandeis, an American lawyer and associate justice on the Supreme Court, said “Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.” I love this because it’s true.
- None of us is the smartest person in the room – when you recognize there are people who know more than you do, you open yourself up to learn from them and build your own wisdom.
- Listen to your intuition – when it comes to business and life decisions, trust your gut. We human beings are out-of-practice compared to other animals when it comes to leveraging our intuition to make decisions. Regardless of the analytics and information available, we make the best decisions when we trust ourselves.
- Meditate – taking time to clear your mind will make you more productive.
- Never lose sight of what’s most important – by keeping your priorities top of mind you can more easily make decisions about what you can afford to lose in order to streamline operations and adapt during the pandemic and beyond.
- Remember what Louis Brandeis said: “Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.” You never know what you can accomplish until you try.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.