Category Archives: Accelerators

Angel Investing – Ringing in the New Year 2017

2017 Capodanno Natale 1It’s that time once again to reflect on the prior year and make some resolutions for the next. In last year’s post, I suggested that you:

  • Take a critical look back at portfolio companies that didn’t make it and try to ascertain what really went wrong.
  • Expand your access to quality deal flow
  • Become a mentor to a young entrepreneur

Here are a few of my suggested resolutions for 2017:

Have a plan.  When we meet with entrepreneurs regarding a potential investment in their company, we usually want to know how they “plan” to build their business. As angels, we should go through the same process when deciding how we want to build our portfolio in the coming year. Do you prefer to invest as a solo angel, as part of an organized angel group or perhaps through a fund or online platform. Is there a specific focus or outcome that you want to accomplish through your investment in early stage companies? For me, changing the ratio by increasing the capital flowing to women entrepreneurs continues to be a pivotal part of my investment strategy. In my recent post – Angel Investing – Invest in Women, I have outlined how I hope to execute on this plan going forward.

Approach the process with a positive versus a negative lens. When I attend screenings run by the various angel groups with which I am involved, my goal is to try and find some exciting opportunities in which to invest as opposed to finding a reason to reject every investment opportunity presented. Several years ago, I attended a presentation by Sigal Barsade, a Wharton management professor who studies the influence of emotions on the workplace. She discussed the concept of “emotional contagion” and the influence it could have on group behavior – both positive and negative. I am not advocating not doing rigorous due diligence on investment opportunities, but rather focusing on finding great investment opportunities.

Get involved in the startup ecosytem. Whether through activities sponsored by startup accelerators, universities, or other agencies, get involved – it’s a great way to meet entrepreneurs as well as other early stage investors. You can act as a mentor, help judge a startup competition or participate on a panel addressing topics of importance to both entrepreneurs and investors.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Angel Investing – Ringing in the New Year 2016

New Year 2016 conceptIt’s that time once again to reflect on the prior year and make some resolutions for the next. In last year’s post, I suggested that you develop your own investment strategy, take a closer look at the convertible notes in your portfolio and add some interesting reads to your list. Here are a few of my suggested resolutions for 2016: Continue reading

Angel Investing – Happy New Year 2015

new year designAnother year has passed and it’s time to think about resolutions for the New Year. As an angel investor, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year and then turn your thoughts forward to investment opportunities in 2015. In last year’s New Year’s post, I suggested that you think about knowing your co-investors, getting your investment dox in order and looking at the world through the lens of an entrepreneur. Continue reading

Angel Investing – “Brain Fuel”

Brain Power Gauge Measures Creativity and IntelligenceSomeone asked me recently what I enjoyed the most about being an angel investor and I responded that it was like “brain fuel”. Having the chance to learn about so many creative approaches to solving complex problems and interfacing with passionate and driven entrepreneurs, both young and old, is one of the most fun and intellectually stimulating experiences. Also being part of  Golden Seeds, an active and engaged angel group, provides another avenue for obtaining this precious “brain fuel” as our members bring such a wealth of diverse expertise and perspective to the process of evaluating early stage companies. Whether or not a particular investment opportunity is one that I chose to invest in, I always come away having learned something new and interesting and looking at a problem differently. Continue reading

Angel Investing – Ringing in the New Year 2014

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????Yes, it’s that time of year once again when we  think about resolutions for the New Year. In last year’s New Year’s post, I suggested that you think about the composition of your investment portfolio, taking into consideration the amount you want to commit to this sector overall as well as the diversification goals that make the most sense for you.

Here are my three tips for 2014:

Know your co-investors:

If the three most important criteria in real estate are location, location, location, then the top three for angel investing would be alignment, alignment, alignment. Not only is it important for investors and portfolio company CEOs to have alignment in terms of their vision for the company, it is just as critical for the co-investors to be aligned. When the business needs to shift direction, there is a follow-on round required,  or an exit on the table, having conflicting objectives among your co-investors can be quite problematic. The advent of funding platforms has made knowing who else is in the deal somewhat more challenging. Entrepreneurs will oftentimes do some due diligence on potential angels, I would suggest you do the same on potential co-investors.

Get your investment dox in order:

Whether there is a follow-on round contemplated or a potential exit on the table, it is also very important that you know both your rights and your obligations as an investor. Where did you file those stock certificates? Do you have pre-emptive rights? Know your options and obligations before a follow-on round or a potential exit.

Look at the world through the lens of an entrepreneur:

Whether it’s negotiating a term sheet or evaluating a major strategic shift, it is always helpful to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. When I review a term sheet for a potential investment, first I read it as an investor, then I read it as though I am the CEO receiving the term sheet. I also enjoy reading books and blogs directed at entrepreneurs. Here are a few of my picks:

If you have a great resource, let me know in the comment section below!

Have a very Happy New Year!

Angel Investing – Launching new entrepreneurs

Keyboard Illustration "Launch 2013"Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the official launch of the second annual class of entrepreneurs involved in  TechLaunch, New Jersey’s Technology Accelerator. As an investor in and mentor to this new class of entrepreneurs, it was fun to see the teams, all clad in bright blue t-shirts, provide the audience with the quick preview of their company’s idea. For a glimpse of these exciting new companies, see the recent profile in either NJ Tech Weekly or North Jersey.com. Continue reading