Theron McCollough is an accomplished entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in addressing the behaviors that promote company value, help startups reach strategic goals and increase venture success. Having sold his first company in 2010, Theron’s knowledge and proficiency in business development, content creation, product management, sales and marketing is unparalleled. He focuses on business development and sales for technology and SaaS companies selling to the enterprise.
He worked at Pivotal Software (PVTL) to develop the Pivotal for Startups program and became Head of Startup Growth. Following Pivotal, Theron earned his investment stripes as an investor and operator with Acceleprise Accelerator and fund, a B2B SaaS firm.
Most recently he was a Managing Director with Silicon Valley Bank where he managed 61% of their global early stage ecosystem. In 2019, Theron founded fiifi, a system of record for all startup investments that allows angel, VC and early stage investor to dynamically view their startup portfolio on a near real-time basis.
Where did the idea for fiifi.co come from?
The idea for fiifi.co came from seeing a growing trend in the market. I was experiencing a lot of frustration in the same market and dug in to see if others felt the same pain points.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I keep myself on a strict regimen. I wake at 5 am to read for an hour or two, then turn off all desktop notifications and work until midday. I break for an hour and a half to get in a 5-mile run and some lunch before starting work again. During my run, I process and develop the activities and actions I need to take, oftentimes reaching aha moments while running. Lunch helps me recenter and reset for the afternoon. In this way, I mentally get 2 days of productivity in 1 day. I believe in daily action lists daily and setting achievable and audacious goals to keep me productive. The nice part about this schedule is that you have put in a very full day by 5 pm, but you still have plenty of time to spend with family, go out to dinner, etc. I’m in bed by 9:30 pm or 10, but you don’t miss anything in those hours anyway.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I actually build a lot of pitch decks and put them in Trello. I usually start with my notebook and make a couple of comments or sketches in there with descriptions. Then I move it to Google Slides; I start by answering the questions: Why this product, Why now, Why me. I actually have over 20 URL’s with pitch decks in varying degrees of completeness.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The growth of the early stage asset class for more mainstream investors. Hedge funds, family offices, angel investors and traditional investors are looking more at early stage companies to invest in. This is a good thing for the community. In addition, a lot of new micro-funds have emerged, I see this as an interesting trend in where the market is going.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think my time as a contractor or consultant helps a great deal. When you have been responsible for completing your own tasks for so long, every day means another list of tasks to be completed. A successful day for me is knocking things off that list.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Do more. Find ways to invest more. Trade more of my time with helping companies.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Broccoli and peanut butter go really well together.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be diligent about reading, fitness and eating well. Downtime because of fatigue, lack of knowledge or sickness is not a responsible trait of a founder.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Tenacity. Not making excuses for yourself or your product. Being both an optimist and a realist. I set a pretty strict schedule for myself, usually rising at 5:00AM to begin reading. This, along with goal setting, is the mental food you need to grow your business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had many failures as an entrepreneur. Getting up and doing it all over again the next day is the most important thing. Remembering every no is that much closer to a yes.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A watch app that I could dictate notes to while I run or am away from my desk. If it would transfer to a document and transpose the text into a task that would be really helpful.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A good pair of bluetooth noise cancelling headset, with a high quality mic. Look at gaming headsets, as they seem to have some good options.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Pivotal tracker, trello and slack to keep me really organized and on top of things. From an engineering, marketing and product perspective.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’ve read a lot of books recently, Angel by Jason Calicanus is great if you are looking at angel investing or are an Angel and looking for some datapoints.
What is your favorite quote?
“To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you’ll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” — Rudyard Kipling
- Create a trackable repeatable process that you can trust and rely on
- Every “no” is that much closer to a “yes”. Every morning, make a larger list of tasks and goals and strive to follow through with them daily
- Be Tenacious and don’t make excuses for yourself. Find the gaps in everything you do and try to make that piece better.