Did you see the gruesome news?
The manager of Harvard's morgue was caught stealing human body parts.
Brains, skin, bones, even entire heads – he stole them all.
Today, I'll explain why he did it...
And explain what he should have been doing instead.
He Brought Them Back to His House
The morgue manager of Harvard Medical School is named Cedric Lodge.
Lodge is 55 years old, and he's from Goffstown, New Hampshire.
From 2018 to early this year, he stole pieces of cadavers that had been donated to the school for purposes of medical research.
Lodge took the body parts – the brains, skin, bones, and heads I mentioned earlier – back to the home he shared with his wife, Denise.
Why on earth would he do such a thing?
"Head Number 7"
As it turns out, there's an active market for human remains.
On the black market, a recently deceased human body can sell for $500,000 to $1 million.
How about a lung ($120k), a head ($1,000), or a face ($600) instead?
Over the years, one of Lodge's steady customers bought human remains worth $37,355.56. One payment included the memo "head number 7." Yikes.
The thing is – beyond being creepy, morally wrong, and a hundred other horrible things – the concept of stealing and selling dead people to make a buck is just silly.
It's far easier to make a profit from people who are still alive.
Let me explain.
A Better Alternative
At Crowdability, we often talk about the importance of "investing in people." But we don't mean you should invest in people's body parts.
Instead, we mean you should invest in startups that have high-quality teams.
You see, any company, private or public, will be more successful with a strong team. But for startups, a strong team is essential.
The fact is, very few startups create significant revenues. These are early-stage enterprises in search of a business model. So the biggest risk to a startup – the existential threat it faces every day – is that it runs out of capital.
That's why we should invest in the startups that have a lower risk of running out of capital.
And as it turns out, one of the best ways to lower this risk is to invest in a strong team...
The Elements of a Strong Team
Specifically, a strong team has the following elements:
- More than one founder. Research has proven that teams with multiple founders make more progress more quickly. In fact, "solo" founders take 3.6 times longer to reach scale compared to founding teams of 2. And being able to get more done more quickly equates to a lower risk of running out of capital.
- Significant domain experience in their industry. In other words, they already know all the ins and outs of their sector. This correlates to a lower risk of running out of capital.
- A strong team is "balanced." Balanced teams have one founder who has a technical background, and one founder who has a business background. Balanced teams: 1) Raise 30% more money; 2) Have 2.9 times more user-growth; 3) Are 19% less likely to scale prematurely. Each of these factors correlates to a lower risk of running out of capital.
- And finally, a strong team is well-educated. Founders who've earned college or advanced degrees are more likely to have critical-thinking skills to help them manage complex situations. Educated founders also tend to have other qualities associated with start-up survival, including commitment, discipline, and motivation. Each of these factors has been shown to improve the growth rate of new ventures, and higher growth is correlated to a lower risk of running out of capital.
So, this summer, I'll be sharing a number of startups that not only have great teams, but are currently raising capital from investors like you.
Until then, keep an eye on your brains, skin, bones – and happy investing!