A Slice on David Paul, Founder of DWP Capital
David Paul followed the traditional American path by going to school. Paul received a B.S. in Human Services from Springfield College but upon graduation, Paul stumbled into entrepreneurship. Despite many obstacles along the way, Paul has been able to find success by wearing many hats within the startup ecosystem. He is now a venture capital and growth equity investor with over ten years of experience in growing and guiding firms. As a self-taught entrepreneur turned coach and investor, he has founded his own family venture capital firm, DWP Capital. To date, Paul has financed more than ten growth companies while sourcing, screening and evaluating approximately 500 deals per year.
Paul remembers jumping into entrepreneurship at the start of his career. “I just executed, it was like I was running into a glass wall every day.” He learned the “language of business” while getting his master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation, but describes going to college as “just something to do”. In his early twenties, Paul set out with a goal to start his own company and sell it within five years.
While living in West Palm Beach, Florida, Paul founded South Florida Home Care, a healthcare service company catering to seniors. In 2011, he built it from the ground up and was able to successfully exit four years later. “I wanted somebody else to find value in this particular entity and buy it from me. That was my goal, to build something and sell it within five years and make it commercially viable. I did that within four, to a national healthcare organization called Homecare Associates.” Paul was able to achieve his five-year goal and moved on to another endeavor, investing. Starting as an associate and dipping his toe into the venture capital world, he spent a year learning the ropes before joining Canal Partners, LLC as a partner.
Paul has had to overcome obstacles just like the next person. He recalls making stupid decisions that cost him millions of dollars, all because of pride, ego, and of course, feelings. “It really, really stung. It takes a toll on you.” While personally, Paul went through some extremely difficult times in his life where he felt “completely and utterly emotionally destroyed.” Paul had to take a step back and reevaluate what drives him on a day-to-day basis. “There were so many things in my life that I wasn’t really happy about. I felt completely burnt out, and I took a break. I honestly felt like my wife was gonna leave me.” Making use of his time and hungry to do something other than allocating capital, Paul decided to take up coaching. He spent about one year coaching companies of all kinds: from technology to lifestyle. “That was me saying, ‘maybe somebody will pay me for what I do, some consulting and coaching,’ and I did that for about a year and had some really great success.”
Forging ahead out of the rough times, Paul has now founded his own family practice, DWP Capital. Paul, having knowledge on both sides (founder and investor), uses his positive experience with South Florida Home Care to help make wise investments. “I definitely see the tunnel vision that I’ve had. When you’re sitting on the opposite side, you see things from a macro perspective. You see so many different types of companies, potential investment decisions and markets moving at a different pace when you’re busy in operations. You get caught up on a lot of tribal knowledge, and oftentimes, that can be kind of blinding.” Paul now invests in early-stage technology companies, using a non-traditional venture capital model. “My investment thesis is a little bit different, I don’t invest in a portfolio of companies in a typical fund structure. I see which ones bubble up and I spend a lot of time and effort on those and hope that one kind outweighs the zeros that happen in a typical fund structure.”
Throughout Paul’s successful career, he’s been fortunate enough to be able to provide advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Nothing ever gets accomplished by just sitting around… Everyone’s in the opinion business.” Paul compares this to “genius baristas,” people that are smart and have extreme potential, but they sit at Starbucks trying to solve the world’s problems. “There’s a big chasm between thinking and doing.” Paul continues to place his bets on the doers, rather than the thinkers.
David Paul successfully exited his first company, South Florida Home Care then made the transition to investor by founding DWP Capital with a focus on early-stage tech companies. He currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and three children. Connect with Paul on LinkedIn.