Angel Investing – Not a Spectator Sport!

Keyboard Illustration "Launch 2013"One of the aspects of angel investing that I enjoy the most, is the ability to become involved with my portfolio companies. Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the “Demo Day” for the 2013 crop of start-ups in TechLaunch NJ, a 16-week technology accelerator program.  As an investor in and mentor to this group of exciting young companies, I had the opportunity to participate in several of their Wednesday evening pitch sessions along with other mentors to provide feedback on the pitch deck that they would be presenting at Demo Day. Each company had 10 minutes to present their company to the audience and each also had an opportunity to network with the attendees and show off their prototypes or services. As I have often advised companies that I am involved with, the goal of a “Demo Day” is to get the next meeting.  It is important that the “10 minute pitch” really captures the audience’s attention and leaves them wanting more information.

The nine companies in this year’s TechLaunch NJ program were as follows:

  • 30 Second Showcase: a mobile app for creative professionals
  • BeautyStat: a search and discovery platform for beauty products
  • Caktus: a hardware/software solution to track hydration
  • Hazarai: an online portal for pop culture enthusiasts
  • Inbox: a new way to manage messaging
  • Invidio: a software platform enabling the viewer to “shop” products from their favorite shows and videos
  • Prospect Predict: a SaaS-based solution delivering predictive analytics to sales reps
  • SeekChange: a personal coaching software solution
  • ShareWatts: a hardware solution to enable sharing of battery power between mobile devices

It was great to see the progress and pivots that all of these companies made since their “launch” back in May. The presentations on Thursday were great and definitely left the audience wanting more information. Congrats to Mario ( or should we say “Super Mario” as he was dubbed by the Hazarai team), Travis and everyone at Team TechLaunch NJ for a great demo day.

Now the next chapter begins for these nine companies as they move from prototype or beta to reaching their target customers. As an “active” investor I look forward to being able to continue to provide help to this very impressive group of companies, whether that be in the form of feedback, connections or maybe sporting the first “bling” version of the Caktus HUG!!!!

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