"This isn’t a moral judgment. You may or may not like the deal... It’s not a fairness question"
We’ve written about it a few times, but now we have the video!
The moment when David Hornik leapt on stage totally unplanned to defend the startup winners at Pandoland.
For those who weren’t able to join us in Nashville, Pandoland is a different kind of startup competition. The winners don’t just get a cardboard check and a “good luck.” They get a $100,000 equity investment from our judges. That means not only do they get the money but they also get a lifetime of mentorship from some of the smartest investors in the business.
But of course there’s a catch: The winning company has to negotiate the terms of the investment live on stage, in front of the audience of Pandoland attendees.
This year’s winners, Umano, aren’t a tech company so much as they’re a fashion company. That means they know more about the clothing business -- and, as it was revealed during their pitch, the CIA -- than they do about negotiating a venture capital round. That’s one of the reasons why we give each startup their own mentor to help with the negotiation. In the case of Umano, that mentor was Fab and Bezar co-founder Bradford Shellhammer.
But none of us expected what happened once the negotiation got underway. Suddenly August Capital’s David Hornik-- who had been sitting in the audience as an attendee -- rushed onto the stage, grabbed Paul Carr’s mic, and began to negotiate on behalf of Umano. Hornik was a lawyer in a former life and apparently decided that our winners could use a little pro bono advice. And that the judges could use a bit of straight talk.
We only discovered later that, by a huge coincidence, Umano’s Alex and Jonathan Torrey, are huge Hornik fans. They’d spent hours poring over Hornik’s blog to prepare themselves for the potential negotiation should they win. And suddenly there was David appearing on stage, like a guardian angel.
“Wait, that wasn’t the real David Hornik...” they asked me after it was all done. And then: “Ok, obviously you planned this.” I wish I was that good of an event planner.
It was everything we hoped that moment would be.
The whole thing was a master class of term sheet negotiation and, fortunately, was all captured on our live video feed. You can watch the whole thing below, if only to steal some ace talking points-- regardless of whichever side of the great “uncapped note” debate you are on.
A quick epilogue: Hornik’s surprise appearance, and pro-entrepreneur straight talk, was so popular with Pandoland attendees that Paul and I came up with an idea for a new PandoLIVE segment. We’re calling it “David Hornik to the rescue.” Once a month David Hornik will come on the show to solve major problems befuddling the tech world and -- if you’re lucky-- take your calls and emails to solve your problems too. It can be anything from valuation to what to get your wife for your anniversary. If you’d like to write in for our first segment email info(at)Pando.com.
I should note we haven’t actually asked David if he’ll do it yet… but given his eagerness to crash the Pandoland stage and help Umano, I can’t imagine he’ll say no.
Watch the full video: