Category Archives: Due Diligence

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 – “Bringing Tech Education to ALL Women”

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????This past weekend, I had the opportunity to invest in a crowd-funding campaign for Bella Minds – whose mission is quite simple – “Bringing Tech Education to ALL Women”.  There is lots of press these days on the lack of women in STEM… so rather than just read/write about the problem, this was an opportunity to participate in an actual solution; yes do something! Continue reading

Angel Investing – Term Sheet Liquidity Provisions

Gold Guys With MoneyIn previous posts, I have described how certain term sheet provisions impact the Economics, Control, and Value Protection in a proposed investment. In this final post on Term Sheets, I will discuss some provisions that impact the Liquidity of the investment. Continue reading

Angel Investing – Term Sheets and Value Protection

Accountant With Giant Golden CalculatorThis is the fourth post on Term Sheets and how they impact returns to investors. In addition to economics and control, term sheets also contain provisions that impact how as investors we can add some level of protection for the value of our investment. Although there are a number of provisions in the term sheet addressing this, the three most important to me are:

Angel Investing – It’s all about the Execution!

Crackers jump 1This past week I had the opportunity to spend the week with my daughter Charlotte, watching her compete at a horse show. Charlotte, now an adult, has been riding and competing for a number of years and I never cease to be amazed by the strength and beauty of these incredible horses and how the riders can control such powerful animals. In much the same way I feel that being an angel investor enables me to be a “vicarious entrepreneur”, being a “HorseShowMom” allows me to imagine myself in the saddle. Now, in terms of full disclosure, I did take some riding lessons early in my daughter’s riding career which were quickly ended when I flew over the jump (without the horse!) and decided at that point that I was best suited for ground crew! Continue reading

Angel Investing – Inside the Brain of an Angel

Power Of The MindIn a recent post, I published an excerpt from a new book called “What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know” by Brian S. Cohen and John Kador.

I had the opportunity to read the book en route to the Angel Capital Association (ACA) Summit and would highly recommend it to both entrepreneurs and angel investors alike. Written in the first person and filled with anecdotes, war stories and wisdom gained from Brian’s many years of angel investing, this book is both a fun and insightful read.

Having started investing in this space back in the late 90’s (yes I was only 14 at the time!!), I have learned that when all is said and done, for me angel investing is all about investing in great people and helping them build great companies.

Thank you Brian for sharing your wisdom and insights in your new book! I am looking forward to the next one!

Angel Investing – Term Sheet Economics

RechenschieberIn my last post, I listed four areas that Term Sheets cover. This week, I thought I would focus on some of the “Economic” terms. The terms below apply to Convertible Preferred Stock, although there are clearly other types of securities used to fund early stage companies.  These “economic” terms outline who gets what and cover such concepts as:

Valuation: For a Preferred Stock Offering, this represents the per-share price that you will be paying for the investment as well as the “pre-money” company valuation that this price implies. In addition, the term sheet will typically indicate the “post-money” valuation which includes in the company valuation the new funds being invested. Continue reading