First Cheque, a new podcast by early-stage investors Cheryl Mack and Maxine Minter, explores how founders tackle VC funding

- December 19, 2023 3 MIN READ
Cheryl Mack & Maxine Minter
First Cheque cohosts Cheryl Mack & Maxine Minter
Day One.FM, the podcast network for Australian founders, investors and operators, best known for The History of the Startup Ecosystem podcast and documentary featuring 100+ interviews with key startup leaders has launched a new podcast, First Cheque.

It looks to uncover the inner workings of early-stage investing and share practical knowledge from seasoned, successful investors. 

Cheryl Mack from Aussie Angels and Maxine Minter from Co Ventures are First Cheque’s co-hosts, and they’ve chosen guests with deep experience managing, investing and earning millions through supporting startups from pre-seed to IPO. 

The duo and their guests share their perspectives, decision-making approaches, and the valuable lessons they’ve acquired throughout their journeys. 

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced investor, a founder or an operator, this show aims to inspire and equip listeners with the tools to become a proficient investor in early-stage businesses and understand how investors think. 

In the first episode, Mack and Minter deep dive into their investment history. And their history goes deep. 

Cheryl Mack is the CEO of Aussie Angels, and on a mission to democratise angel investing in Australia and New Zealand.

Mack has years of experience supporting startups and helped build key startup communities in Australia including at StartCon, Stone and Chalk, and Australian Computer Society. She started angel investing after supporting startups through sweat equity and has since made +20 investments and has built a syndicate with +120 investors, and co-runs 361 Angel Club with +400 investors.

Minter started her angel investing journey writing $2,500 cheques into pre-seed startups. After upskilling at universities around the world, she spent time leading angel syndicates in Australia and San Francisco. Minter also runs a high-growth coaching and advisory business Co Lab, a community of executive coaches who coach CEOs and executive teams of the fastest-growing companies in the world. Now Minter is the founder and General Partner of Co Ventures, Australia’s first venture fund led by a solo female GP, as well as the country’s first dedicated pre-seed fund.

The First Cheque co-hosts share their goal for the podcast – to open-source conversations and insights from experienced investors, focusing on understanding risk, distinguishing between betting vs investing, and enhancing decision-making processes.

In their opening episode, titled ‘Your Warm Intro’ shares their own experiences from both sides of the coin as investors and founders.

Mack believes that great investing is a combination of a good decision process and great information. 

“Investing in startups isn’t gambling; it’s strategic. There are factors within your control—use them to your advantage,” she said. 

“Investing in startups is risky, but there are factors you can control and levers you can pull.” 

In the first episode, Minter suggests one key way to prepare when you’re a new angel investor: create a decision making diary where you record your decision making process and record what information you base decisions on. 

“Without some record of what the decision is that you made and how you made it and the facts that you had at the time, it’s really hard to assess the quality of your decision making over time,”  she said, adding that in early-stage investing, it’s important to consider decisions over the long-term and be open to learning lessons along the way.

Timing investments and understanding risk

The co-hosts also discuss the slowing later-stage startup capital market, timing in early-stage investing, and the importance of understanding risks. 

“Being compensated for risk is the variable of return profiles in different asset classes,” Minter said, emphasising the importance of understanding high risk when you’re early-stage investing. 

But Mack talks through how to start small, “Did you know you don’t need hundreds of thousands to invest? Sometimes all it takes is 20 grand. But fair warning, you may lose it all… or potentially make it back and then some on the next sum.” 

Mack and Minter suggest there’s high optimism for early-stage startups and that now is a great time for innovation and for learning about angel investing. 

“Amidst this rising investor optimism, fortune indeed favours the bold. The timing for bold, early-stage investments couldn’t be better,” Minter said. 

First Cheque offers a front row seat to the world of early-stage investing with motivated and ambitious guests dedicated to sharing knowledge.

Later episodes with Jessy Wu from Afterwork Ventures, Daniel Gavel from Black Sheep Capital, Judy Anderson-Firth from Euphemia and Rayn Ong from Archangel Ventures.

Subscribe here for future episodes including guests Rayn Ong and Elaine Stead. 

Listen to the First Cheque episode with co-hosts Cheryl Mack and Maxine Minter here.