I recently caught up with Alex Letichevsky, a member of the Texas Evening MBA class of 2012, to ask about a company that he recently started here in Austin called Lonestar Syndicate.
What is Lonestar Syndicate?
Lonestar Syndicate is an endeavor initially started to allow young professionals to invest in local businesses instead of the general market or real estate. We pool funds and invest in ventures with acceptable risk. Future expansion involves putting our investors onto company boards and eventually providing business consulting services once we gain enough brand recognition as a company.
How did you come up with the idea for Lonestar Syndicate?
I wanted to start my own company but didn’t have a specific idea in mind and nothing really excited me from the many ideas out there to dedicate 60-80 hours of my time per week. I wanted to work with many startups and didn’t really want to dedicate myself to a single startup for two to three years just to see results. I decided the VC route makes a lot of sense as the primary job of a VC is meeting people, screening business ideas, and then investing in profitable opportunities.
Have you always been interested in venture capital?
More and more as I’ve matured personally through my professional, personal, and educational life. It only began crystallizing about 1.5 years into my MBA as I realized I want to be my own boss and was figuring out the way to reach that goal.
Can you talk about some of the projects you are working on?
The project that jumpstarted Lonestar Syndicate, LLC is Bungalow – a new bar opening on Rainey St in approximately a month. Their need for investment capital gave me the chance to utilize my connections (friends and classmates) that were of like mind. We pooled our capital, evaluated the opportunity, and invested for a stake. After this first project, we then found an amazing opportunity with Progress Coffee. Progress is a successful local Austin coffee shop that was looking to grow to new locations. After we had invested capital with Progress, we realized that we had a unique opportunity in the Texas service economy and that we could expand Lonestar Syndicate.
How has being in the Texas Evening MBA program helped you to get the company off the ground?
I’ve made connections with business owners through my classmates and I recruited some TEMBAs to help me with this venture. Five other members of Lonestar are TEMBAs and one of the businesses we’ve invested in has been through a connection made through TEMBA.
How would you describe this experience so far?
Have we encountered stumbling blocks? Yes! Have we learned a great deal? Yes! Will we keep going until we fall flat on our face or succeed? You bet!