A feeling of hopelessness and loneliness are probably the worst two emotions that any friend or family member can experience. Now would be a time to gather our own inner strength, reach out to our loved ones, and express our love, joy and strength of friendship. This can easily done with a phone call, video call or even text. Even though we may not receive immediate feedback from or be acknowledged for this I would encourage a steady gentle show of support & encouragement.
As a part of my series about “Investing During The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karim Nurani.
He is an entrepreneur, investor, and chief strategy officer of Linqto, a leading platform providing liquidity in the private sector. He has 30 years of experience in new business development with a focus on strategy and business transformation. As a visionary who can assess business models from the perspectives of both an executive and investor, Nurani is responsible for the formation and success of over a hundred startups ranging from mining to process manufacturing. As a partner at Keiretsu Connect, and throughout his time with Bay Angels, Sandalwood Ventures and other entities, he has guided investors and new venture leaders to the launch and development of markets as diverse as IoT, GreenTech, CannaTech, AR and VR and more.
Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the finance industry?
My 4th year in college I chose a course in international trade & finance. I learned how money moves across the globe and what happens to it as it changes hands and moves across boundaries. It was probably one of the most interesting courses I have ever taken. After that course I was hooked and took a course in understanding public markets with the CSI ((Canadian Securities Institute). Today I am an entrepreneur with multiple exits, an investor, business development consultant for various companies and Chief Strategy Officer at Linqto, a leader in offering liquidity in the private sector.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
In the early 90’s after graduating colleges and as East Africa was radically changing its political alliance from single party states to multi party political system, a group of Canadian geologists decided that it was a good time to acquire a gold mining concession in the remote wilderness of Tanzania — what experience did they have doing business in Africa. Well I was born in Kenya and I took up the offer of becoming the general manager of a series of holes in the ground to extract gold. Building bridges & huts and dodging king cobras, riding shotgun in Land cruisers was only half as exciting as taking our first gold bar to the bank & receiving dollars into our account.
Building any business always takes longer and costs more that any projection you put down on paper. There are a number of weird & wonderful experiences that the entrepreneur will have along this journey & success will depend on how you handle these experiences. More often than not the success cannot be measured by what you bank.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
After identifying a business opportunity, one of the most significant challenges for entrepreneurs is to raise funds. For investors, their challenge is to identify the correct opportunity for their investments and do it over and over again. As both an entrepreneur and investor, I’m able to gain perspective from both ends.
I became a very early investor in Linqto, Inc. for two reasons. 1. they seemed to have a good business idea and more importantly 2. they have the leadership & talent in their core team to execute against their initial goals. As I mentioned before there will always be challenges and the real skill is seeing past these and doing your very best to succeed.
The idea behind Linqto, Inc. is to create a global platform that would allow investors to choose an investment that was comfortable for them in terms of the stage of the business early ( acorn ) or later (unicorn) allow them to invest a dollar amount that best suited them and allow the investor to span the globe for investable opportunities.
The Linqto, Inc platform allows entrepreneurs to have access to a global marketplace of investors & potential connections and in-country experts. They have created an entire virtual and physical community of thousands of accredited investors from around the world. Needless to say, this type of collaboration is transformational — especially during the current pandemic, where they are able to create virtual forums to continue providing support for their investors and startups whose companies depend on raising funds.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many people who I would like to thank. None of what I do would have been possible without the support of my family in particular and the countless friends and peers I have met along this journey. Networking is Queen but relationship building is King.
Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious about the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
This is indeed an anxious time in our lives particularly because this is a world wide event and effects everyone in this connected space that we live in. The stay in place — isolation strategy — creates a particularly difficult situation where there is no outlet for frustration, anger and sadness. It becomes even worse when many of us have lost our jobs or are in fear of losing our source of income.
A feeling of hopelessness and loneliness are probably the worst two emotions that any friend or family member can experience. Now would be a time to gather our own inner strength , reach out to our loved ones, and express our love, joy and strength of friendship. This can easily done with a phone call, video call or even text. Even though we may not receive immediate feedback from or be acknowledged for this I would encourage a steady gentle show of support & encouragement.
Just as importantly it is vital that you are completely present when loved one reaches out and just wants someone to listen.
As you know the stock market and the economy, in general, have become extremely volatile and uncertain. Many people “dollar cost average” and put aside a monthly sum into a long term savings plan for retirement, college, or a home purchase. If a loved one or a client came to you and said, “I have been saving and investing $500 every month in an S&P 500 index fund. Over the next few months until the dust settles, should I be doing something else with my money?”, what would you say to them?
We always start this response with the following “ we do not have a crystal ball ……….”
In my earlier days as a financial advisor we would always encourage people to set financial goals that they were comfortable with & committed to. In regards to putting away a dollar figure into an investment vehicle: if they have taken care of all outstanding debts — credit card bills, mortgage payments, car payments, which normally carry a high interest rate — and they have put some cash aside for emergency situations, then I would encourage them to look closely at their expenses and try to save more and continue to add to a low cost index fund. As boring as this sounds, the best strategy is to continually find ways to reduce expenses and tuck a little more away.
Eventually, the economy will recover and rebound. Certain sectors, like travel and hospitality, might be hurting for a while. But other sectors, like technology and healthcare, might do very well. If someone wanted to prepare today to take advantage of the future recovery, what would you suggest they do?
Except for professional investors who spend all their time evaluating opportunities, by studying the economy, trends and reading financial news of investable companies making educated predictions is very very difficult. All sectors will go through cycles and the highs & lows in the market will level off to an almost discernible average return. We have to determine our own comfort level of return and invest in a low cost index fund that will hold a mix of companies and industries to reflect that return.
Now this is boring I know and life should not be boring. If you have a little cash that you want to play with, set that aside and pick individual stocks that you can trade. Keeping in mind that this is money you can afford to lose & walk away from the table also know that there are various tax implications to everything you do.
Are there sectors that provide exciting and lucrative investment opportunities today, specifically because of the volatility and uncertainty?
Technology companies that you always wanted to own and found expensive may be more affordable today.
The words attractive and lucrative companies remind me of the photos on brochures displaying exotic gambling locations such as Monte Carlo , Cannes & Monac. Create a budget , put money aside and take a vacation, have fun then come back home after an exciting experience that you will remember fondly.
Are there alternative investments that you think more people should look more deeply at?
Consider impact investments. These are companies that are trying to make a meaningful difference to the way we live in our world today.
If a person in their thirties and forties came to you today and said that they have $10,000 that they want to put away today for a long term investment what would you advise them to do with it?
Split this up into 3 buckets: look around yourself & friends and determine what you are all spending money on , a particular technology, fashion , food identify the company that provides this and buy some shares and evaluate this every year and make a change as necessary.
Ok, thank you! Here is a more general finance question. You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non-intuitive essentials for smart investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
- Read a good well written publication on a regular basis that covers world news, politics , business & culture. — The Economist. Fortune , National Geographic, Scientific American
- Never regret any money you make
- “Luck & timing are always the high order coefficients in the success equation” — Peter Henry
- You will never have all the information
- Always show up
- Go to a library / book store and browse new authors & subjects.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Show up every day as the best person you want to be.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Identify at least two children that are less fortunate and support them with food, education & healthcare. This is a major crisis in most countries and a movement that we can and should all get behind.
Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!