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How VCs structure a syndicate and recruit coinvestors

When I meet with other VCs, family offices, and other institutional investors, the most common question I get is: “What are the highest-potential companies in your portfolio which are raising now?”  I thought it might be helpful to provide transparency on how we and many of our VC peers think about [...continue reading]

A trial balloon: How large corporates can coinvest with their employees’ angel investing

Many large corporations face three seemingly disconnected challenges; they want: -       Better returns on their balance sheet and underfunded pensions; -       Access to the innovation economy to stay on top of the early-stage companies attacking their business; and -       Unique employee [...continue reading]

How long before venture capitalists (and angel investors) get liquidity?

It’s fascinating to be an angel investor, but do most angels actually make positive returns?  And even more important, how long until they get liquidity? The theoretical returns look extremely attractive; we’ve identified 12 different studies showing annual returns of 18-54%.  But the bad news: [...continue reading]

How and why to be an angel investor

Dave Kerpen, founder and CEO of Likeable Local, just published an interview with me on Linkedin, which I've included below .  (He's the #1 LinkedIn Influencer of all time in page views, ahead of Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Mark Cuban, and President Barack Obama.  Incidentally, this is a great example of [...continue reading]

HBS Alumni Angels NY accomplishments to date, and our new Chairman

 I’m happy to announce that Jason E. Klein, CEO of On Grid Ventures, will serve as the new Chairman of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater NY.  Jason is an experienced angel and company builder.  I’m shifting to “Chairman Emeritus” (an overly polysyllabic title).  I'll still be an [...continue reading]

Convertible Note or Equity? Practicing Law Institute Webinar

The Practising Law Institute hosted Dror Futter of SorinRand and me for a webinar last week on “Before Series A – Convertible Note and Series Seed Funding for Startups”.  I’ve embedded the slide deck below, and you can listen to the webinar ($129) here. (Dror is a lawyer and I’m not, so you can [...continue reading]

Why are venture capitalists (76% white men) ignoring the future?

Why do so many venture capitalists ignore the single best predictor of the future: demographics? Paul Graham, cofounder of Y Combinator, observes, “Many suspect that venture capital firms are biased against female founders. This would be easy to detect: among their portfolio companies, do startups [...continue reading]

Helping women and minorities raise angel capital

In early 2012, my HBS Alumni Angels colleagues and I launched the Venture Capital Access Program (VCAP), an initiative to help women and minority-led businesses to raise capital from the Harvard alumni angel community.  This is a partnership between HBS Alumni Angels of Greater NY (HBSAANY) and the [...continue reading]

How to Judge an Investment Proposal (especially at Pitch Contests)

I periodically serve as a judge at pitch events for companies raising funding. In every case, I'm assessing each company against our standard criteria for investing. You can see a video of a recent pitch contest where I served as a judge here. For some of the new employees at our firm, I put [...continue reading]

How an Indiana Accelerator Helps Its Companies to Succeed

I met some time ago with Brad Wisler, co-Founder of SproutBox, and shared with him our research on portfolio value creation by venture capitalists.  He wrote a thoughtful note, which I’ve shared below, with permission: David, Thanks for sharing this paper with me. I love the title, which [...continue reading]

High Returns On A Small Fund Challenge Low Returns On A Big Fund

I previously posted this on Techcrunch. Let’s say you decide to invest in a VC fund.  Congratulations: you’re now supporting the least unpopular part of the investing industry.  That said, how do you avoid suffering the poor median returns the industry is known for? Assuming you have a large [...continue reading]

A Closer Look At The Quality Of Angel Returns Data

I previously published this at Techcrunch.    The good news for Techcrunch readers: Every major study conducted to date has placed angel investors’ IRR between 18 and 54 percent, as summarized by my Partner John Frankel and Professor Robert Wiltbank in prior Techcrunch articles.  The bad news: [...continue reading]

October 18, CT: HBS Panel on VC in Connecticut

I’ll be a panelist at a HBS Club of Connecticut/HBS Angels Venture Capital in Connecticut Panel Discussion and Cocktail Reception on October 18. The event will be held at the recently-established Stamford Innovation Center, of which fellow panelist Barry Schwimmer is Founder and Managing Partner. [...continue reading]

Washington, DC May 24: HBS Angels/VCs and Creating Portfolio Company Value

I hope you can join me in Washington, DC, on Thursday, May 24, 2012, 5:30 PM To 8:30 PM for a talk and event sponsored by the HBS Club of Washington, DC.  RSVP required; No money can be taken at door As I've previously blogged, I will soon publish the first formal study of best practices of VCs [...continue reading]

Venture Capital Access Program launches to aid women and diverse entrepreneurs

We are in the midst of two great disruptions to American business: the internet’s ongoing disruption of most traditional industries: finance, healthcare, retail, finance, fashion, etc. the shift of America to a majority minority country by 2050. Any company that aspires to maintain a [...continue reading]

How to Scale Early-Stage Investing

Before making the decision to join ff Venture Capital, I did some research on early-stage tech investing as an asset class and how it’s evolving. What was striking was what an attractive asset class it was. Although any given early-stage company is quite risky, when aggregated across a large [...continue reading]

The reality of Profitably raising money from angels and VCs in New York

Adam Neary wrote an unusually open post about his experience raising $1.1m for Profitably, a provider of small business analytics. (Disclosure: I'm a Mentor for Founder Institute. Adam was one of our star students from the first class in New York, when Profitably was just Adam, a Powerpoint, and a [...continue reading]

Launch of Harvard Business School Angels of New York

Back in December, Richard Kane, President, Harvard Business School Club of New York, asked me if I'd like to chair the newly-formed Harvard Business School Angels of New York. I was honored to be asked, and we've now launched our organization and are accepting applications from early-stage [...continue reading]