Today, we’re talking to Ryan Kulp of the digital fund Fork Equity about building a digital business portfolio.
Ryan has an interesting background spanning New York and Silicon Valley and both building and marketing, with success in this leading to his current portfolio of apps and businesses. This gives him a very well-rounded view on the buy, grow or build question and very practical advice to share.
What do you call yourself?
Ryan talks about absorption mode vs creative mode. You need to build up creative energy and then deploy it.
Sees himself as a creator, but creativity is defined as the combining of not similar ideas into something interesting.
The common thread through his marketing, coder, and investment career is that they hinged on his ability to be empathetic to what people care about and want.
Many coders are actually just great a being empathetic than they realize.
On Fork Equity's Strategy
Fork Equity is Ryan's micro SaaS company.
Fork Equity started when working on Fomo.com, when we started pattern matching by testing different marketing tactics, design changes, etc.
Wondered, what happens if you build up a library of best practices?
He doesn't know everything but now knows a little more than the average person.
You only need to be right once in entrepreneurship.
You only need a slight edge and exploit that, don't need to be Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg level.
Some people call this special knowledge.
I thought, let's be bold, take the assumption of best practices, and see try this process again and again.
It allows us to A) take companies that weren't doing as well, and make them do better and B) start things from scratch.
We have kept refining it, and it continues to work.
Why Micro Acquisitions?
First started out of necessity. Didn't have a lot of funds.
Needed to start small.
Companies start out at different stages.
Small businesses have different problems than bigger businesses.
Comes back to pattern matching, now we can pick companies with a certain size [micro] and add value almost with our eyes closed.
Other stuff in the interview:
Builders vs growers
Ryan's thoughts on bankers ;-)
Tips on sourcing and dealmaking
Building teams for micro SaaS management