Origin Story: In a couple sentences, how would you describe your path to becoming an investor?
As a founder I am often approached by people asking for advise and help, particularly in the early stages of their company. Some of these companies and teams I have really admired and therefore wanted to take a more active role in helping them get off the ground and grow.
Investment Approach: What are the key factors you consider when evaluating a founding team?
I look for passion, grit, and overall "athletic" abilities. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster and so you need to the passion for what you are doing as well as the grit not only to get you through the lows but to enjoy getting back up to the top. If you can't find excitement and enjoyment in all the challenges you'll never make it through. Startups can also take unexpected twists and turns. While expertise in a specific area is good ability to pivot when necessary, fill any and all roles in the company requires athleticism.
What's your style and approach when it comes to working with founders post-investment? What are the characteristics of founders you've worked well with?
I want to be as helpful as possible to founders post investment. For some, that means letting them do their jobs and be hands off. For others, I am very involved in helping them talk through challenges, making introductions, helping with hires and reviewing marketing plans. As an operator first I try to approach investments as a colleague as opposed to just an investor too as I am able to truly put myself in their shoes. I have found founders who are good at communicating what they need and what they don't tend to have better working relationships with investors.
If I'm coming to pitch to you or your firm, what's the one piece of advice you'd give me?
Have as many assumptions verified as possible. If you are building a product don't just assume what it will cost- go through the motions of finding a producer and pricing it out. You are going to have to do that anyways so better to have that information upfront so you really know how much money it will take to get your company off the ground.
As an angel investor, how many deals do you aim to do each year?
How would you describe your own personal mission and values, and how do they impact the way you invest?
Over the past few years I have tried to simplify as much as possible (not just mindlessly consume), invest in wellness for me and my family, and support companies that can make a difference in the world. Plus, as a working mom of two kids anything that can make my life easier I am a huge fan of! It is hard not to let your personal needs and values drive investment decisions and so instead of fighting that I lean into it. I like to invest in companies that make life easier, products that are more effective and companies that either give back or the product itself enhances our world instead of further deteriorates it.
What do you like best about investing in NYC, and what’s your outlook on the future of NYC tech?
I have lived in NY my whole life and love how quickly things always change- you can see that first hand by the different startups that are always popping up. I believe that will never go away and NYC tech will continue to grow. While we may see a wider representation of other cities being hubs as remote work becomes more of a reality I believe that NY will continue to draw amazing talent and companies.