In this series we will provide a quick bio on the Rebel Venture Fund board members. The RVF board consists of local angel investors, attorneys, entrepreneurs, business executives and UNLV faculty who help to oversee our investment process. We are very grateful to all of our board members for the time they spend supporting RVF.
To kick off our RVF “Meet the Board” series we spoke with serial investor and entrepreneur, William “Bill” Botts. Bill is semi-retired and keeps himself active by mentoring, sitting on various boards, working with UNLV, and investing in early stage companies.
Bill got involved with the Rebel Venture Fund through his support and relationship with the UNLV Center for Entrepreneurship, and through his former position as Chairman of the Vegas Valley Angels. “I was excited by the opportunity to help shape the Rebel Venture Fund. This can be a truly amazing opportunity for the community, UNLV and the students”.
Bill started his career following an education in electrical engineering, nuclear engineering and mathematics from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UCLA. He spent the first part of his career with Rockwell International, advancing from engineering and project management to the position of Vice President of the Environmental, Utility and Energy Systems Division in Southern California. “This was a very entrepreneurial role within a large corporation focused on "mining" the company's research labs for technology that could be commercialized. Over several years my group built a $50,000,000 per year business in the nuclear, environments and energy fields” states Bill.
After 19 years with Rockwell, Bill decided a change from big corporate structure was needed. He began investing in early stage companies. “This continued for many years and led to me becoming a serial investor in early stage companies. With the experience of having started companies, raising private funding, venture capital, running many successful companies, taking companies public and tuning up and selling other companies; I found that mentoring and assisting less experienced CEO's was both rewarding and challenging.”
Bill’s favorite companies are consumer products, such as cosmetics. “I very much liked the "marketing" driven environment in which consumer products firms operate. I ran several well-known cosmetics companies and still serve on the board of one”.
His recipe for success? “I learned from every adventure and applied what I learned to the next one thus creating my own set of actions and methods that seemed to fit well to each new assignment.”
I asked Bill what his favorite thing about the Las Vegas community is. “Our community has a huge diversity of business and technology backgrounds represented by its residents, old and young. If we can tap this talent we can truly become an entrepreneurial and startup community”.
Every entrepreneur wants to know what investors advice is to companies raising their first post-friends and family round. Bill’s advice? “Don’t act like a know-it-all who only needs money to succeed, instead try to be credible with your optimism, forecasts and challenges”. I personally agree; some of the best entrepreneurs I’ve met have exhumed confidence without arrogance, and are realistic when it comes to seeking help when faced with challenges.
About the Author
Lucy Cantley is the Director of Operations of the Rebel Venture Fund. She is currently a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) student at UNLV’s Lee Business School. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music and Entertainment Industry Management from the University of Hertfordshire in her homeland, England.
Lucy joined one of RVF’s portfolio companies, KeyIn, as Director of Operations in the Spring of 2016. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and the Las Vegas community. When not working, she enjoys all things food-related, creative projects and travelling.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RVF or UNLV. Thoughts and opinions are subject to change and this article is intended to provide an opinion of the author at the time of writing this article. All data and information is for informational purposes only.