An inside look at the business acumen of Lindsay McCormick
Lindsay McCormick is a broadcaster, journalist, and entrepreneur originally from Houston, Texas. She has hosted live events for the Super Bowl, been a broadcaster for Mayweather/Pacquiao and ESPN’s The Basketball Tournament, and written for the pages of Newsweek, Esquire, and ESPN The Magazine. Lindsay’s entrepreneurial efforts have centered around augmented reality, including a partnership with ePlay Digital Inc., and the launch of Big Shot Basketball, an AR game that allows users to build their fantasy team while taking selfies with their favorite NBA players. She currently is a judge and investor on Season 4 of Entrepreneur’s “Elevator Pitch.” We spoke with Lindsay McCormick to get some insight into her business mindset and methods.
- Which came first, sports or investing? Was business always an interest of yours?
Lindsay McCormick: While my mom’s side of the family was heavily involved in sports, my dad was a true entrepreneur and self-starting businessman. As a young woman, I gravitated much more towards the sports! But as life has progressed, I’ve learned that business and investing isn’t just about numbers and spreadsheets, it’s also about ideas and people.
- How did being a judge on “Elevator Pitch” come about?
LM: After a decade in sports and entertainment, I was looking to expand into other fields. At an event sponsored by Entrepreneur Magazine, I met David Meltzer, and he introduced me to Entrepreneur President Bill Shaw, who felt my experience in investing, sports, and tech was perfect for the show. Then I got cast for “Elevator Pitch!”
- Where do you think “Elevator Pitch” has succeeded where other shows haven’t?
LM: Elevator pitch has succeeded in bringing a wide swath of businesses, personalities, and demographics onto the platform. While our panel of judges has a lot of collective experience, none of us act like we have the Magic 8 Ball predicting a business’ future success. We’re right there along with the viewer in evaluating and anticipating the merit of the concept and entrepreneur.
- Can you share one of your favorite moments from the show?
LM: It’s hard to pick just one! I love when an entrepreneur has put in years of thought to their idea, nails the elevator pitch, and then weeps for joy as they get an opportunity to see their dream realized. It’s really special.
- When it comes to the pitch, do you tend to value the person more, or the product?
LM: I try to weigh both equally. A great product with an entrepreneur who is not experienced and not willing to seek guidance probably won’t go very far. At the same time, a founder can be whip smart and passionate, but the concept may not be quite right. It’s tough to say no to a creative and diligent entrepreneur, but when there are so many factors at play (market size, market situation, etc.) you have to look past the person.
- Do you foresee an all-women panel of investors on an upcoming episode?
LM: We have had several episodes with all female-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, but we have yet to see a female only panel of investors. It could be cool, but I do think it’s great to value investor and entrepreneur diversity rather than homogeneity.
- What would you like the legacy of “Elevator Pitch” to be?
LM: That we, as investors, were helpful in turning ideas into successful businesses, dreams into reality, and that we encouraged a lot of entrepreneurs along the way.
- When considering an investment, what makes you skeptical?
LM: Sometimes entrepreneurs will tout impressive sales numbers, only for us to later find out those sales were over a vast time span. That indicates the product just hasn’t taken off. Another red flag is when the entrepreneur doesn’t seem to know their intended customer. If they think it’s for “everyone,” it’s ostensibly for no one.
- What do you look for/what stands out in an especially positive way for you in business and/or people you want to work with?
LM: I really respond to those who take initiative. Many times this is reflected in previous sales. Sales mean they didn’t simply create a powerpoint slide and hope people would hand them money. It means they actually built out the product and got it into the hands of the customer! Plus, the more money a product has made, the less risk for the investors involved.
- Do you have any specific “rules” you adhere to when it comes to investing?
LM: My financial advisor told me this from Day 1, “Always take the amount you feel comfortable investing, and cut that number in half.”
- Any advice for someone looking to get into the field of investing or business?
LM: In terms of investing, do as much research as possible, formulate your own opinions, and then cast them against the input from those you trust. Also, don’t be afraid to start small. If you find yourself getting swept up in excitement over a potential investment, take the amount you’re thinking of putting in and cut it in half, just like my financial advisor taught me.