- Blue Mahoe Capital Partners | Early stage investing
- Twitter – @davidmullings | 8200 followers
- Medium Blog | Founder/CEO – Blue Mahoe Capital Partners
I love this man. He’s got exactly what you need in a venture capitalist: Positivity, a can-do attitude, and a networker at heart. If you aren’t following David, you probably should. Our relationship began on Twitter, where I asked David to show me his 50-year-old plan for his life. He was working on it at the time and I wanted to see what he had written down. I was amazed at the thoroughness and thoughtful ideas he had for his 50-year old self and I sent him back some questions and ideas. This type of transparency and willingness to share made me a fan immediately!
In terms of how David got into investing, he was fortunate enough to have a friend who leveraged venture capital in a startup and that experience gave David all the confidence he needed to try his hand at it too. But don’t think it was that easy. David is a hustler. He’s been building since he graduated high school at 14 years old! What I specifically loved was his story about how his parents financed one of his first startups ever, but in reality, he had to work for it. After his friend, Richard cut a large check for his startup, David ended up working for him in the private equity space. This wasn’t enough though, David really wanted to fill in the gap of early-stage and seed-stage companies, something that a lot of private equity funds won’t touch in Jamaica and the Caribbean:
“I love the private equity space, but when I was trying to raise money in Jamaica and the U.S., those investors just aren’t seed-stage investors. I wanted to fill that gap. Blue Mahoe Capital is here to fill that gap of risk capital at the early stage. I don’t want another generation to go through what I went through trying to raise money where nobody is willing to write that first check.”David Mullings | VC Hunting S2E10
In most cases, Angel investors start off as founders (this is my story for sure), and in the Caribbean, there are pretty much only two sources of capital according to David: Wealthy families who have inherited the company, so they didn’t go through the struggle of founding a business, and all they think is investing is up and to the right. Or they’ve made their money doing traditional things like a doctor or lawyer. Most of them just dive into the stock market or real estate and most of them are just not looking for early-stage investments.
Coming from an entrepreneurial family had it’s advantages for David as his father is a medical doctor, his mother is a nurse, his grandmother ran a store, and his grandfather was an insurance salesman. A very industrious family indeed!
“We were raised where money was not just for yourself. If you create wealth, you need to pay it forward. We were raised in the church so we believe in charitable giving as well. My parents made sure that I constantly spent time back in the rural parts of Jamaica where they grew up. My mom used to walk several miles to the nearest bus stop to go to school and had one pair of shoes. My dad had to wake up at four in the morning to milk the cows. They wanted me to understand the value of what they were giving us and the value of one dollar.”David Mullings | VC Hunting S2E10
Humble beginnings for sure! I loved that David’s parents were so instrumental in his upbringing, even asking him the question at 15 years old about what he wanted to be when he grew up. David’s response was very mature and his father was amazed at his answer:
“I want to be a positive role model for young people around the world, especially young males in the Caribbean.”David Mullings | VC Hunting S2E10
It was clear that he had many options at his disposal. One of them was becoming a superstar soccer player and use that for good (didn’t happen), or become an entrepreneur and business owner. I think we’re very happy that he decided to choose business so he can positively impact the world that way… though I suspect that if David was to become a super-star soccer player, he’d probably enjoy that as well.
One of the great things I loved about Davids’s stories was how influential his parents were in his upbringing. Every Christmas David would have to present a business proposal to his parents and they would invest $10,000 into his ideas. What a powerful model to learn about business, finances, and personal responsibility! One of those pitches was for a burning question I had about Random Media LLC and Real Vibes TV from back in 2002. This was way before it’s time and before YouTube! He had pitched the idea to his parents on Christmas of 2001. This was to be a Caribbean MTV on the web so tweens could watch Sean Paul on the internet through his site. This entrepreneurial experience would change his life. Going on tour with famous singers like Sean Paul, striking deals with TV production companies, and getting into movie roles like 2 Fast 2 Furious, it looked like David was about to hockey stick to the moon getting massive attention to his brand and website… until it all came crashing down:
“Within two months we had 1.5M viewers and we went way over bandwidth with over $10,000 in overage charges, so we had to shut down the entire site for 6 months, I went into literal depression, my mom had to come by and bring pizza and open the curtains, all because we focused on growth before investment dollars. We eventually got smart about what we needed to do and shut down the video part of the website and created a media company behind it which is still alive today!”David Mullings | VC Hunting S2E10
It is clear that these types of lessons are the ones where you really learn the most. It is only through failure that one can really understand what they are made of. This is one of the areas that I respect David the most: his willingness to share with the world his experiences and failures. I hope everyone gets an opportunity to hear of the stories behind these failure and disappointment tweets!:
One question I wanted to ask was David’s opinion on #hustleporn. What I realized is that David almost worked himself to death and had to be rushed to the hospital to have emergency surgery. I’ve been here myself, and I’m really happy to have been able to capture this story for our listeners.
“Hustleporn is this idea that you have to hustle and you need to have 6 or 7 streams of income because that is what the wealthy people have. We have this get-rich-quick mentality where everything needs to happen fast, but in reality, you need to work smart and hard. Wealth creation comes from focusing on one or two things and becoming really good and then creating wealth. Then you can have the preservation of wealth by having multiple streams (of income). #HustlePorn and #TeamNoSleep is crazy. You have one body, eat right, sleep, and exercise and you will not burn the candle at both ends.”David Mullings | VC Hunting S2E10
It’s great to see David is recovering from his stint of being a madman, trying to do everything at once and settling down and focusing on what he knows he can be successful at. I certainly wish all the best in his recovery!
“Don’t focus on all of the joneses out there. Focus on your race.”David Mullings | VC Hunting S2E10
We spent some good talking about imposter syndrome and comparing yourself to others. This is something I believe every young blood out there needs to hear. Don’t compare to others. Your race is your race. Also, it’s natural to feel like you may not deserve to be where you are. Remove that from your mind, you earned it. You’re exactly where you are because you made it that way. Empower and arm yourself with this knowledge and you’ll worry less about that which you cannot control!
If you ever find David with imposter syndrome or is feeling bad for himself. Tell him to snap out of it. He’s a hustler and grinder and he’s rubbing shoulders with some of the most successful out there. Frankly, that’s part of his therapy and his self-education!
He recently got the opportunity to really go deep with Michael Lee-Chin, a black billionaire extraordinaire. Michael believes that David could be the guy who helps money get into the Caribbean and Jamaica.
David now speaks once a week with Michael and is well-positioned to do amazing things in the future.
“We want to make it easy for Jamaican’s abroad to re-invest back into Jamaica and the Caribbean. We’re doing this by building up a balance sheet of public and private equities in the Caribbean and we intend to take Blue Mahoe Capital public on the Nasdaq. We’re creating an impact fund that can do early-stage investing. I am very confident that we can find really good deals to support entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and be the investors of choice with the most founder friendly terms you can find.”David Mullings | VC Hunting S2E10
I love interviewing people like David because he’s more than just a venture capitalist and investor. He’s a person who is willing to share the good, the bad, and the real with you. I’ve talked to so many people and interviewed so many people who never tell you the details of their past failures. I just really appreciate David for his willingness to share some of the deeper details of his life experiences. It not only makes him human, but approachable, and humble as well. If you’re a founder or aspiring entrepreneur with an investible-idea, you should probably want to talk to David.
While I usually share the juicy details of the tweets I bring up, but in this case, I won’t. You really should hear David’s story.
Interviewing David was an awesome experience, he’s one of the few interviews that after I got off of the line with him, I immediately wanted to re-listen. It was a great conversation, like most, however, this felt like I was talking to a long-time friend.
I hope for all the best for David, his ventures, and his future. I’m 100% sure we’ll be crossing paths again. You know why? Because we both have something I’ve noticed a lot of VC’s don’t have: hunger. David is hungry and on the hunt.
Enjoy my short retrospective on David Mullings:
David Mullings Social Media
May your aim be true.