The Silicon Review
Through our investments, we empower inventors who challenge accepted ideas in order to build new economies and opportunities: Jeff Ransdell
Innovation often comes with a hefty price tag. “You have to build the capability to be innovative,” says Michael Hitt, a professor of management at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University,
and co-author of “Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization.” “Whatever is required in your particular industry or for your particular firm to be innovative, you have to invest in it and build it.”
That’s where your business investment strategy comes in; it’s your plan for deciding how and what to invest in to meet your long-term goals. It’s a natural extension of the original company vision you outlined when you wrote your first business plan.
Rokk3r Fuel ExO specializes in early-stage investments in startups. The fund invests in exponential companies and ideas, some of which are funneled to Rokk3r Fuel through Rokk3r Labs, the Rokk3r ecosystem’s co-building platform, in addition to other avenues.
Rokk3r Fuel was incorporated in 2017 and is headquartered in Miami, Florida.
Jeff Ransdell, Rokk3r Fuel ExO Founder/Managing Director, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
We believe technology will bring about an era of global abundance. Each day, new technologies are making our planet more connected, moving us beyond geopolitical borders, challenging traditional models of communication and interaction, which creates a truly global community. At the centre of this movement sits a new breed of an entrepreneur whose successes will have an asymmetrical impact on determining how this new connected world operates. Rokk3r Fuel ExO was created to empower these daring founders in their efforts to take advantage of exponential opportunities and rapidly build companies that have the power to create truly transformative outcomes.
Chiefly, we provide investment capital for companies to move forward in their life cycles and, in tandem, provide our investors with the access to these exponential private companies long before the masses of Wall Street can. This experience has been massively rewarding.
How successful was Rokk3r Fuel’s first project? Share the experience.
Rokk3r Fuel’s first project was seeding the fund – we did so by investing in four exponential organizations: Hyp3r, a marketing-tech startup named the seventh “most innovative company in the world” on Fast Company’s 2018 social media list; Taxfyle, a peer-to-peer tax filing platform with more than 40,000 users; AdMobilize, whose AI/machine learning software, used in 470 cities in 82 countries, is disrupting advertising as we know it, and Rokk3r Inc., a global idea-to-exit ecosystem that provides entrepreneurs and organizations the capabilities and services needed to build exponential companies.
“Earning trust and respect of consumers all around the world is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions.” How do you interpret this statement?
We live in a world today where our patience is at an all-time low, and I’d attribute that lack of patience to the advent of technology. What tech has done for service organizations is that it’s required us all to leverage technologies and really focus on customer service – communication, transparency and results.
About adaptability, how do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this high volatility market?
We are bringing 60 years of liquid market experience at the highest levels of Wall Street to a boutique private equity offering. By implementing the same exact plan, process and disciplines that we used to earn seven to eight percent return from our investments to the venture capital space, where we get a 400 percent return – if not much, much more.
We target companies at the cutting edge of technology that are providing services and products that people don’t even yet know they need, therefore we are helping to propel solutions to problems that have not even been detected, rather than just responding to gaps in the market.
What are the factors that make your brand most innovative and why?
Our fund is focused on serving ultra high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions that serve them. As a result, our fund is innovative from the perspective of our service offering to those very specific groups. We’re taking all that we’ve learned about hedging risk and spotting great companies from within the traditional finance ecosystem but turning it on its head, with modern investment principles focused solely on the private sector of the creative economy. Underlying this fusion of traditional and modern is yet another juxtaposition that makes Rokk3r Fuel ExO unique – the layering of scientific and financial discipline with artistic technology outlook, which broadens our view of the risk versus reward relationship.
The combination is unprecedented and brings the highest possible risk-mitigated returns for our investors.
How does your company contribute to the competitive global economy at large?
We employ 42 technologists in Bogotá, Colombia; we have a company builder in Miami, another in London; offices in Toronto, Mexico City, Guatemala, San Francisco – each piece focused single-mindedly on our goal of discovering exponential technologies. We also have an education portal and a consulting division, both of which serve SMEs all over the world seeking guidance in reaching the next phase of their life cycles. Our organization also strives to provide thought leadership. Rokk3r Fuel ExO General partner Salim Ismail has authored a best-selling book on how the world is changing exponential organizations.
Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
We are in the process of launching an entirely new blockchain ecosystem that we are confident will impact not just how financial transactions occur, but on a larger scale, the overall perception of trust in interactions among humans everywhere.
As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
We will continue to meet the expectations of our investors and create funds that meet their demands. Through that trajectory, our achievements will speak for themselves – conveying the message that we are trustworthy investment managers with a broad overview of the entire world, who can see not just into tomorrow – but far beyond.
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Jeff Ransdell: A Dynamic Leader
Prior to Rokk3r Fuel, Jeff Ransdell served as Merrill Lynch managing director for the Southeast (including Latin America and the Caribbean), one of only six divisions worldwide, and a member of the operating committee at Merrill Lynch. Mr. Ransdell is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three successful startups to date.