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December 07, 2023 | Katelyn Keenehan

Executive advice: ‘Investors become your family’

The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center's new series 'In the Room' is focused on high-level business growth and investor issues and opportunities.

“When you take money from an investor, you’re getting married to that person,” Gera Grinberg said earlier this week to a room full of entrepreneurs from all sectors of start-ups.

Gera Grinberg

Grinberg has years of experience working on high-level business growth as an executive and attorney. He founded Grinberg Law Offices in 2007, a full-service practice representing businesses, boards, and individuals.

He shared about working alongside people as successful as Bill Gates, and about his dozens of deals with Fortune 100 companies, mega healthcare firms, and international media companies like Pixar. During his career, he has managed mergers and acquisitions, totaling more than $1,000,000,000,000.

Grinberg’s career has been filled with supporting successful ventures. On the flip side, he has also witnessed his fair share of failures.

KEC launches ‘In the Room’

In the first-ever ‘In the Room’ session through the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC), Grinberg answered questions about finding investors, making deals, and striking success in a competitive market.

His biggest advice to entrepreneurs, founders, and executives is to carefully select the people with whom you do business. He said relationships will be the key to success in nearly every facet of starting and scaling a business.

“How often do you get along with your family? Because these investors will soon become your family,” Grinberg said.

He shared that the biggest failures resulted from rocky relationships between founders and investors. When founders accept money, they are also accepting to be in relationship with the investor until they see a return on investment.

“Do you like this person? Are they mean? What would be their worst-case scenario reaction if your business failed?” Grinberg challenged each entrepreneur in the room to ask all these types of questions before striking a deal with anyone.

The same principle should be applied when hiring new employees, especially at the genesis of a company. Each hire can make or break your company. Can you trust this person? Would they steal your idea if given the opportunity? Will they protect your intellectual property? Grinberg said these are important questions to consider.

This was only the first session in the ‘In the Room’ series featuring Grinberg. KEC said it will be a monthly meeting looking into issue of how to make a deal, francizing, finding investors, scaling, intellectual property, and more.



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