Interview with Jason Kraus
Founder & CEO @ Prepare 4 VC

Jason Kraus has an extensive background on both the venture capital side and as an entrepreneur. He was an associate for the venture arm of a private family office, reviewing hundreds of pitch deck presentations to filter companies for the investment team. Additionally, he served as a screening committee member for the Boston Harbor Angels and now partners with the CEO of the Boston Harbor Angels group, Ziad Moukheiber, on the EQx Fund. As an entrepreneur, Jason started his own startup consulting firm, Prepare 4 VC, to bring the investor's perspective to startups and help them get funded. Prepare 4 VC helps entrepreneurs create business plans, financial projections, slide deck presentations, and investor pitches to get the funding they need to bring their company to the next level. He has also co-founded several companies in the FinTech space focused on helping connect startups with crowdfunding and crypto investors.
Hi Jason! Could you please introduce your work with Prepare 4 VC and tell us how you developed the company's educational programming for startups?
Hi! I'm Jason Kraus, the founder, and CEO of Prepare 4 VC. Basically, I had a background in the venture capital industry, and with Angel groups like, the Boston Harbor Angels, which I'm still a part of. Now, I'm also a partner on an Angel Fund EQx Fund. Basically, when I started Prepare 4 VC, I had a mission to help startups through the fundraising process, taking what I learned on the investment side, and helping companies connect better with investors. So, a very different process, you know, most entrepreneurs are really comfortable pitching their idea and presenting to their customers and clients, but don't really know what an investor is looking for, how to showcase the size of the market, the opportunity, how to get investors excited about it the same way they can get their clients and customers excited about it. And you know, as an investor, receiving 50 to 100 investment opportunities every month, you know, most VCs are investing in, you know, no more than 4 to 10 deals a year. So, you really have to stand out, and that's sort of been the goal of Prepare 4 VC. As you know, go through the process, and dig in with the client, like, we work directly with the founders to be able to really tell their story in a clear concise way that you know, within 10 minutes of reviewing your deck, or an investment page, an investor is already excited about the possibility of where you can go with your startup. So yeah, that's the basis of some of our consulting work, and you know, leveraging some great people to help them.
What are some of the most successful startups you've partnered with thus far? What sectors do you typically partner with?
I've worked through the variety of startups as a consultant advisor and an investor, you know, some of the biggest examples, like on the consulting side, I worked with a great real estate technology company, EasyKnock, on their deck business plan and investor outrage who's now, you know, started out with them, you know, a few years back and now they've gone through, and raise several rounds of financing, equity financing, as well as a large debt round. I worked with, I advised applications like Pingster and LUHU on how to really get out there, test the market and build a strong customer base, invested in companies like Wasabi, which is a large, basically started by the founder of Carbonite, which I appeared a few years back, and some a large competitor to Amazon Web Services that has a faster cheaper model to companies on the medical side, like Aster site Pharmaceuticals, which has also gone through several rounds of financing, and is creating a solution that can basically cure a stroke, or concussion by stopping all the negative effects, and giving surgeons a longer window to perform operations by slowing down negative or brain deterioration. So yeah, I mean it's amazing, like the different variety of companies I get to work with every day, and really excited and passionate about working with amazing startups.
What makes the Massachusetts startup economy unique?
Massachusetts actually has a long history of being a startup ecosystem. You know, if you look at the top areas for entrepreneurship around the US, we're up to number three now after Silicon Valley in San Francisco, New York, and Boston, those are number three top startup communities on there. So, I think what makes it really unique is, there's both, you know, on the education talent side, we have great universities, research, as well as entrepreneurship programs, coming out of schools like MIT, Harvard, BU Babson, Brandeis. You know, Northeastern and all have great programs. There's a bunch I missed, but you know, there's so many schools in the area producing great incredible talent that just, you know, I've started really over the last few years promoting entrepreneurship, and promoting like the tools and resources necessary to go out and build your own company. Also, on the healthcare biotech side, amazing hospitals in the area like Brigham and Women's, and Mass General that are promoting more, and have their own labs and facilities to really build the next generation of health care analysts in the system, and a lot of the doctors themselves have become really entrepreneurial, and give back to the community. Also startup events, some part of the startup ground organization. We host monthly Fireside Chat networking events, and really throughout the city, there is an event you can go to almost every night of the week to facilitate your connections, and become part of this community and ecosystem.
What are some of the most impactful crypto investor-startup partnerships you've facilitated?
On the crypto side, you know, it was pretty active in the space several years back working with companies, it is still a regulatory challenge for a lot of crypto based startups, and you know, not only in Boston but around the US. So, there's definitely been like a slowdown on that side, but I've seen, you know, great incredible companies coming out in the blockchain sector that aren't necessarily you know like ICO or like pure crypto model in the traditional sense. There's one company we've invested in through that is EQx Fund and Boston Harbor Angels group, called Tunnel. They're creating an amazing platform that facilitates transactions within, basically instantaneously and for a fraction of the cost of a traditional bank to bank transactions, or even traditional crypto payments. It's a lot quicker than a system like bitcoin, or Etherum that can take, you know, it has a relatively long transaction time that isn't scalable for those systems. You know, it wouldn't be a platform like Amazon, for instance, wouldn't be able to use something that isn't instantaneous and scalable. So, like this platform is a Boston based company called Tunnel. Yeah, I really love what they're doing and they created sort of a unique application modeled of a blockchain, but with their own infrastructure that separates them from the rest. So yeah. Look out for them and, you know, great to see innovation.
What's next for your work with Prepare 4 VC and your other partnerships and companies? What are some of the most exciting projects you'll be focusing on in the next year?;
So, my goal here is basically bridging the gap between startups and investors, make it easier for great companies to get found and, you know, not let amazing entrepreneurs slip through the cracks on the investment side, you know, be able to access those amazing deals, find the next big thing, not every company has to be the next Google or Facebook. I think what separates the Boston mindset, from Silicon Valley too is, you know, there´s great companies that, you know, with a smaller amount of capital like, if you can build a company, you know, with two to five million dollars in investment, and make it into hundred, two million dollar, or two hundred million dollar company, that's just as good as incredible amounts of capital, and turn it into a billion dollar business. It's the same return for the Angels, as some of these larger firms are doing on the moonshot, unicorn deals. So really, our goal here is built out some differentiators, and make sure every company finds their fit with an investment group, and every investor finds a company that fits with their goals, and their portfolio needs. So, that's sort of the what's on my plate for the next few years, and you know, excited to see what pivots I make, what works, what doesn't work along the way. And you know, build it from there.