The Singleton Foundation's CEO on what makes a startup fundable

Shelley Miles, Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship CEO joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss Pepperdine's most fundable companies showcase and the importance of financial literacy.

Video Transcript

- The COVID 19 pandemic has ushered in sorts of new startups. And for many of these, funding remains a key roadblock to growth. The Pepperdine Graziadio Business School has brought on the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship as the lead sponsor of the school's 2021 Most Fundable Companies' showcase, which helps connect startups with funding opportunities to promote new business development. For more on this, we're welcoming in Shelley Myles, CEO of the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship. And Shelley, thank you so much for joining us on this topic. Tell us a little bit more about this partnership, and why you chose this sponsorship especially because there has just been so much participation. More than 3,300 companies are applying for this 2021 program.

SHELLEY MILES: Well, hi, Emily. Thanks so much for having me on the show today. We're very excited to be working with Pepperdine on this partnership. This is a very unique competition, and one that really helps startups all over the country with the over 3,300 people that are participating from all 50 states. It's an opportunity for companies to really learn how to get in front of investors. You know, getting funding is very competitive, and it's kind of complex. And with Pepperdine's program, this is not a pitch competition, but this is a competition really based on due diligence and what investors are looking for in new companies.


- OK, Shelly. So if I were one of the 3,300 that have signed up, walk us through what it looks like in real-time, what they're going to go through as part of the showcase.

SHELLEY MILES: Well, Adam, this is very exciting. So most of these companies have all applied starting in April. And they are run through a time-tested and very unique and proprietary set of criteria that Pepperdine has set. And the investors are really looking for companies that have strong business plans, that are going to be experiencing a lot of growth. And as you know, most of the job growth in the United States comes from these startups. And every company that participates gets a report back to give them feedback. So it's an opportunity to educate not only those that are the ones selected, but all the entrepreneurs that joined this wonderful showcase.

- What's that profile that makes a startup or a company be considered most fundable?

SHELLEY MILES: So it's having a strong business plan, getting ready for growth, and showing that they have the customers that are coming, having a problem that they've solved, they've done it in an innovative way that can scale, and that they put the things in their business plan that will actually allow them to be successful. Getting funding is very competitive. So it's important for companies to know what to expect as they start to go through the funding process.

- Let's talk about the Singleton Foundation absent of this Pepperdine program. I, years ago, had the honor of going to Aleron which is a different kind of program, but they help small businesses go to the next level. They surround those businesses with volunteers who come from the corporate world and former board of directors. What does Singleton do in terms of financial literacy for people who are small business entrepreneurs and startups?

SHELLEY MILES: So our program is really for everyone. And we have two sides to our mission. One is to inspire entrepreneurship, and the other one is to make financial literacy engaging and accessible to everyone. And as you can imagine, financial literacy and entrepreneurship really go hand-in-hand. Entrepreneurship is where the jobs come from. And if you don't have the financial skills, how can you start thinking about planning your financial future? Today, most people look up everything on Google, and they get a last minute answer and a flood of information.

But how do you sort through what's credible and what's going to be helpful to you? So we try to make financial literacy-- We take it in a different way. We found that most people think that financial literacy is going to be boring. Or it's going to be complicated, that there's a taboo about talking about money. And it's such a needed thing that we have in the country. We have over half the people in the United States can't answer even basic financial questions.

There's a lot of debt going on, there's jobs are changing at a rapid pace. I think 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't been invented yet, which is where all the new companies are so important. And they don't know who to trust. So we went about taking a different approach to make it very accessible and easy to learn using the power of storytelling and entertainment to ignite a spark in people and try to get their attention.

- All right. Shelly Myles, CEO of the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship, thank you so much.