Just a few days ago, as I was walking around with one of my younger colleagues at Tidewater, I regaled him with stories about how I did business when I was his age. I told him about my first job, as a “personal banker” in Wachovia, down the street in Jacksonville, where, to meet the bank’s product sales targets (and to play totally with the system), I m ‘was settling in at the WalMart shopping center. , Golden Corral, Piggly Wiggly and wherever else I could find potential clients to sell them on whatever the bank told me to do.
Then I told him about my early days in venture capital in the Triangle region, where I literally walked through all of RTP’s business and office parks, noting the names of the tech companies whose signs adorned the buildings. I would go back to my office to find their websites on AltaVista (ask your parents), then I would go back to their offices to introduce myself and the investment firm I worked for.
I followed these stories with a few others about how I always went out for business. Sure, I had to put in some time in the office and in the office, but the opportunities, the needles in the haystack, the rough diamonds – those deals I had to find.
And then, like a mental cocktail of irony, epiphany, deja vu and Yahtzee, it all came to me.
So before I give you the punchline, I’m going to look back a bit in order to move forward. COVID. The last 14-15 months have been difficult. I understand the important issues with COVID beyond business, but, for the sake of this article, I keep it in context.
When COVID really pissed off collective national nerves in March 2020, our company, like many companies I imagine, entered our virtual war room to examine various worst-case scenarios and Armageddon scenarios. Our main focus, in the midst of all this planning, ended up being communication. How would we stay in touch with our investors, portfolio companies, suppliers, partners, etc. There were emails and phone calls of course, but there was this product called Zoom which seemed like a much better version of Skype.
We have therefore become Zoom warriors – or hostages depending on your point of view – with days marked by encounters with people as close as down the street and as far away as Asia. Granted, it was nice to be able to get out of bed, go down the stairs to my office, and make a Zoom call. I could even drive the 5 minutes to the Tidewater office to make it look more professional on our end. For me, however, it felt like we were cheating. It was easy, but not 100% “good”.
I called it back a few days ago, as I was riding with my colleague from Tidewater, Alex, I started to understand. I wasn’t really cheating or taking the easy way out. I had just done what was warranted in the most unusual circumstances. But as the COVID cloud began to lift and government policy on face-to-face interactions began to ease, I realized it was about time.
It’s time to hit the road again and start seeing people again.
This realization took me back to my early days in banking, basically going wherever I needed to get business going. And I was really excited, this is the way I want to do business. It is the cornerstone of our firm… Our network. Our stakeholders. Our people.
So I’m back in the car and on the planes. Of course, there are always Zoom calls and the like, but there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction. I can already feel the roots of our network connections growing and deepening. I do what I should be doing: go to the market and find the best investors, partners and deals. I am ready to meet anyone who is interested in working with Tidewater. Anytime anywhere.
About Merrette Moore: Merrette Moore is the Managing Partner of Tidewater Investment Company, overseeing the operations of the company. Merrette has over 25 years of experience in finance, business management and innovation. He has been involved in over 50 private investments, acting as the lead investment representative for many of these transactions. Merrette has served on the boards of several private companies as executive chairman, director or observer.
About Tidewater Investment Company: Tidewater Investment Co. is a North Carolina-based investment firm focused on direct investment in small business as well as venture capital in the healthcare industry. Tidewater provides unique access to subordinated debt, small business private equity, growth capital and venture capital investments for high net worth individuals, family offices and small institutional investors. The company’s investment platform offers investors the flexibility to invest on a transaction-to-transaction basis without any initial long-term obligation commitments.
For more information, please visit our website: www.tidewaterinvestco.com.
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