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:

  • Take a critical look back at portfolio companies that didn’t make it in 2015 and try to ascertain what really went wrong. As angels, we all are aware of the sobering stats on the failure rate of early stage companies. With the wisdom of hindsight, perhaps we may be able to avoid repeating at least some of the same investment mistakes going forward. As Albert Einstein said “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
  • Expand your access to quality dealflow. I am quite spoiled by being a member of three angel groups – Golden Seeds, New York Angels and the Wharton Alumni Angel Network– all of which provide me with access to great investment opportunities. As a member of each, it is also my responsibility to help source these investment opportunities which can then be shared with other members. Get involved in the ecosystem where you live. For New Yorkers, Founders Institute put together a great list of the Startup Resources in NYC. Also consider getting involved in the entrepreneurial activities/programs at your alma mater.
  • Become a mentor to a young entrepreneur. There is nothing more invigorating than spending time with young entrepreneurs; their energy is infectious and their perspectives on the world force you to question your own views/opinions. One such young person for me has been Katlyn Grasso, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Wharton Venture Award finals presentation in 2014. Katlyn is the Founder and CEO of GenHERation®a female empowerment network for millennial girls. I have followed her incredible progress, provided advice and counsel when needed and have been able to celebrate her victories including winning the prestigious President’s Engagement Prize at the University of Pennsylvania. Her energy is truly contagious and I feel very privileged to be her mentor.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Angel Investing – Twelve Days of Christmas 2015

12 days of christmas: 12 Snowflakes

On the first day of Christmas
a founder shared with me:
A Term Sheet for Series B Continue reading

Angel Investing – Make way for the Crowd

This past Friday, just a day shy of Halloween, the SEC finally voted on Title III of the JOBs Act, the “Crowdfunding” provision enabling individuals who do not meet the definition of “accredited investor” to participate as investors in online portals investing in the start-up space. This “democratization” of capital formation will be done through funding portals that will need to register with the SEC and become a member of a national securities association. Continue reading

Wharton Venture Award: A Judge’s Perspective

Note: This was originally posted on the Wharton Entrepreneurship Blog 3/31/ 2015

This year was my second opportunity to serve as a judge for the Wharton Venture Awards.  In addition to working with a great team of fellow judges to select the award recipients, I also have the opportunity to continue to follow the progress of the students. After last year’s program, I was able to act as a mentor to one of the recipients, Katlyn Grasso, CEO and Founder of GenHERation. The progress she has made on GenHeration is amazing and I was thrilled to learn that Katlyn had recently been awarded the University’s “President’s Engagement Prize” which not only validates her business proposal but also provides funding to help her actually build her business. As an active angel investor, supporting young entrepreneurs and celebrating their successes is one of the most rewarding aspects of being involved in the early-stage ecosystem. 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 – Twelve Days of Christmas 2014

12 days of christmas: 12 Snowflakes

On the first day of Christmas
a founder sent to me:
A Financial Model error free Continue reading

Angel Investing – Financial Projections – “Cash is King”

Cash is King Shopping Money Vs Credit Buy Power CurrencyAs an angel investor, I see lots of financial models, which range from the very simple to the extremely complex. I am often asked why I insist on seeing the actual model ( yes the excel not the pdf version) as it all based on layers of assumptions. In response, the financial model is nothing more than a quantitative expression of the business model and in fact what is most important to me are the assumptions that underlie the numbers. Continue reading