Michael Jordaan is one of South Africa’s most respected businessmen, having built FNB into the most innovative bank in the world.

Jordaan is now growing his venture capital business Montegray Capital, and is involved in a number of companies which he has invested in.

When a startup gets the backing of Jordaan, it is more than just a financial investment – his experience and contacts can go a long way to make a new business successful.

It is therefore hardly surprising that he gets many requests from entrepreneurs to meet to discuss their business ideas.

Speaking to MyGrowthFund, Jordaan said the large number of meeting requests forces him to filter these requests based on the information he receives from entrepreneurs via email.

Jordaan looks for certain elements in a prospective businesses before he invests, or agrees to meet with its founders.

These include:

  • A great idea – “Someone who looks at a topic differently from the conventional way of doing things.”
  • A track record of execution – “There is nothing that impresses me more than someone who has got a business idea working.”
  • A working model of the concept – “Has a person taken their concept in a rough format to market and have found people who are willing to use it.”
  • The ability to sell – “If you are the CEO who cannot sell, you are not going to be successful.”
  • Knowing everything about their topic – “They must know more than anyone else.”

There are a few things which can disqualify an entrepreneur who is looking to Jordaan backing, which include:

  • Arriving in a suit to pitch an idea – “They are trying to make up for something else.”
  • People who pay themselves high salaries out of a startup – “Every single startup where the founders pay themselves the same salary as in a corporate will fail.”

Jordaan summarised his views by saying it is not the smartest people who make it, but rather those who can translate an idea into something real.

MyGrowthFund interview with Michael Jordaan