Someone 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
Posted in Accelerators, Angel Groups, Angel Investing, Opinion, Uncategorized
Tagged Angel Investing, Angel Investor, Brain Fuel, Early Stage Company Valuation, Entrepreneurs Roundtable, Golden Seeds, New York City, positive energy, Startups
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!
Posted in Accelerators, Angel Groups, Angel Investing, CrowdFunding, Golden Seeds, Opinion, Term Sheets, Uncategorized
Tagged Alley Watch, Angel Capital Association, Angel Investing, Angel Investor, Brad Feld, Brian S Cohen, Co-investors, Exit, Follow-on Rounds, Golden Seeds, Investment Dox, New York Angels, New York City, Startups, Women in Angel Investing, Women Investor
In their soon to be released book – What Every Angel Investor Wants You To Know – An Insider Reveals How To Raise Smart Money For Your Billion Dollar Idea (McGraw Hill, 2013), Brian Cohen, Chairman of New York Angels, and John Kador, demystify the process of Angel investing.
Of particular interest to me is Brian’s experience with investing in early stage companies that are either founded by women or where women serve on the senior leadership team. There is lots of buzz these days on how women should or should not position themselves to excel in the corporate ranks. In the excerpt from his book below, Brian provides us with some great DATA as well as opinion on the case for investing in women. Continue reading
Posted in Angel Groups, Angel Investing, Golden Seeds, Opinion, Uncategorized, Venture Capital
Tagged Angel Investing, Angel Investor, Brian Cohen, Female Investors, Golden Seeds, Investing in Women, New York Angels, New York City, Women Angels, Women at the Wheel, Women Entrepreneurs, Women in Angel Investing, Women Investor, Women's Economic Power
So you just wrote the check! Now what?
There is a perception out there that angel investors and venture capitalists are only focused on monetary gain and don’t work to support the success of their companies post-investment. Angels are making investments with the hope of a successful exit and unfortunately the statistics on the failure of startups are quite sobering. According to Shikhar Ghosh, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, the failure rate of startups is 30-40%. ( Source: HBS Working Knowledge Article by Carmen Nobel). But in addition to the potential investment returns, angel investing provides a unique platform for engaging with the companies in your portfolio, which is not the case when investing in the public markets.
Posted in Angel Investing, Golden Seeds, Opinion, Uncategorized, Venture Capital
Tagged 500 Startups, Angel Investor, Angel Investor Training, Check, Checks, Corporate Justice Blog, Dave McClure, Digital, Digital Rolodex, Education, Equity, Exit, Exit Strategy, Exiting, Exits, Faculty, Failure, Female Angels, Female Investors, Ghosh, Golden Seeds, Golden Seeds Angel Investor Training, Gotham Gal, Greed, Harvard Business School, Harvard Faculty, HBS, Investing, Investment, Investments, Investor, Mentorship, Money, New York, New York City, NYC, Perception, Perceptions, Portfolio, Portfolio Company, Portfolios, Rolodex, Rolodexes, Shikar, Shikar Ghosh, Start Up, Start Up Failure, Start Ups, Startup, Startup Failure, Startups, Stereotype, Stereotypes, Strategies, Strategy, Valuation, Viewpoint, Viewpoints, Woman, Women, Women Angels, Women in Angel Investing, Women Investor, Write, Writing, Writing Checks