Acquisitions. Mergers. Investments. Equity. Terms for the big boys, right? Not according to Greg
Rivera, owner of EntrepZone.com, a website that is taking the business of investing down to the startup and SME societies.
Tired of Saying No
Greg Rivera was tired of saying no. His day job at a private equity firm had him talking to
business owners in need of funding or looking to sell, but as is characteristic of many private equity
firms, the types of businesses they could provide capital to were of a certain size and were used to eight digit US dollar figures.
“I noticed there is still a gap between funding requirements,” Rivera said. “We talk to businesses that need financing and help in setting and achieving growth strategies, but in many instances the company is too small… when they don’t fit our requirements, we tell them we can’t invest, but in the spirit of helping entrepreneurs we tell them we can refer them to our contacts who might be able to help. That’s when I thought: Why not build a platform where you can do it yourself?”
That is what inspired him to create EntrepZone.com, an online marketplace made specially for the sale of businesses and assets that caters to a wide but targeted audience of SMEs, potential investors, advisors, and franchisors. Users can register for free in order to post various ad types on the site which include ‘business for sale / in need of funding’, ‘business wanted’, ‘asset for sale / lease’, ‘asset wanted’, and ‘franchise’ ads.
Be the Jollibee of Financial Advisory
The goal is definitely more than just being able to say yes to smaller fish, in fact, the goal is—in Rivera’s own words—“be the Jollibee of financial advisory.”
More than just being another buy-and-sell site, and definitely intending to be better curated than the two most commonly used by those looking to rid themselves of iPads and automobiles, EntrepZone also has in-house advisers that, for a fee, offer SMEs and startup owners services which include financial advisory, valuation, and financial modeling; services that are currently not easily accessible to smaller scale businesses, especially those outside Metro Manila. Rivera also cited tools being developed within the website that would help SME and startup owners in business loan applications.
The major plus to SME and startup owners is that these services will not be done at an amateur level. Two of EntrepZone.com’s founders are CPAs and have worked in financial advisory, corporate finance, and private equity for years.
Investing in the Challenge
Like many good entrepreneurs, and like a true person from the financial world, Rivera knew better than to go at it alone. He knew that his idea would have to be well executed. It’s a business in which “you have to know what you’re doing,” Rivera says, which is undoubtedly the reason why he chose a former co-worker at Ernst & Young and a friend in tech and advertising to be his partners.
Despite a truly capable team, however, Rivera admits that owning a startup has definitely been a challenge. “It’s been very difficult,” he said. “I try to do everything in the morning or after work, and the whole weekend I am working on the website.” Even with the website fully functioning and beginning to take in advertisements, Rivera knows the challenges will continue, including the ones inside himself, candidly talking about how it took him an hour and about four or five revisions before sending out the email that announced the launch of EntrepZone.com to his colleagues and peers.
The response he has gotten so far has been positive, a great confidence boost, but Rivera knows that’s not all there is to it and that the execution of his big idea is critical more than ever. “I haven’t
proven myself yet,” he says. Though he says it with confidence.