The Seraf Compass

Will Anyone Care? Building an Exit Strategy

The Seraf Compass

Early stage investors might not view it this way, but… until a company has some form of financial exit (e.g. acquisition or IPO), you are really more like a donor than an investor!

Every Team Needs A Coach: Managing the Deal Process

The Seraf Compass

Not everyone is cut out to lead a deal. In our experience, it takes a certain temperament and set of people skills to lead a bunch of peer volunteers. There are many successful investors who cringe at the phrase, “managing the process.” Managing is the last thing they see themselves doing.

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The Importance of Investing Human Capital

The Seraf Compass

When you combine great leadership with a strong board of directors, the likelihood of a successful outcome for a business increases by an order of magnitude. Legally, directors are required to provide governance and oversight.

Seraf Toolbox: Exit Planning for CEOs and the Board of Directors

The Seraf Compass

As a director on an early stage company board, how do you deliver on your main responsibility as a board member - maximizing shareholder value? And, what do you do to make sure the CEO is doing her job in increasing the value of your investment in the company?

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Reaching Unreachable Candidates

Speaker: Patrick Dempsey and Andrew Erpelding of ZoomInfo

What is ZoomInfo for Recruiters? Find and connect with the right talent to fill roles fast with more data, basic search, advanced search, candidate and company profiles, and export results. Watch this On-Demand Webinar today to see how ZoomInfo for Recruiters can work to get your talented candidates results.

Seraf Compass Milestones

The Seraf Compass

As we celebrate the seventh anniversary of The Seraf Compass, created to demystify and professionalize early stage investing, we wanted to acknowledge a number of related milestones achieved in 2021

Early Stage Investment Syndication: Key Issues

The Seraf Compass

A very common practice in the investment world is syndication. Syndication allows multiple investors -- whether they be individuals, angel groups, VC funds, etc. -- to join together and provide the funding resources needed by one company.

How to Avoid the Closing Package from Hell

The Seraf Compass

The moment of truth has arrived: it is time to close the round. The deal lead and founders worked hard together to line up investors, negotiate terms, work through deal documents and disclosure schedules, and track down every last detail of cap tables.

Why Early Exits Are So Critical to an Angel Portfolio

The Seraf Compass

It all comes down to making money… Early exits are an important part of the financial reward needed to turn a very risky portfolio of angel investments into an asset that provides an excellent risk/reward profile for you, the investor.

Many Hands, Light Work: The Team Approach to Processing Deals

The Seraf Compass

Do you remember the first time you became excited about investing in an early stage technology company? You were impressed by the CEO and you loved the market opportunity. But, you knew you had to dig deep to find out whether there was a real winner in the making.

Going to Market Smarter in the New Economy

In 2021, as companies continue to move more functions online, employees will take a more virtual -- and flexible -- mindset and lifestyle in parallel to the digitization of businesses. To succeed, you must change the way you conceive and build new products as a digital business. Download the report today to discover more!

Leaders Wanted - Assessing Leadership Teams

The Seraf Compass

Great ideas are a dime a dozen. For example, living in the Boston/Cambridge area, we are surrounded by some of the most innovative researchers in the world working at institutions like MIT and Harvard.

Stones Unturned: An Investor’s Guide to Due Diligence in Early Stage Companies

The Seraf Compass

Some investors will tell you after spending 60 minutes with an entrepreneur they know in their gut whether to make an investment. They rely on their instincts and sometimes their ability to “pattern match” with successful opportunities and entrepreneurs they worked with in their past.

Knife to a Gunfight - Startup Technology & IP

The Seraf Compass

We all love toys, new ideas, shiny new baubles. Part of the fun of investing in early stage companies relates to the joy we get in trying out new products or imagining how the world will be a better place when a new medical device comes to market. But you have to look beyond the prototype, ignore the flashy product demo, and really dig into the technology before you write that check

Seraf Toolbox: Impact Investing Due Diligence Checklist

The Seraf Compass

We have written quite a bit about the importance of a thorough, professional due diligence process. These best practices apply equally to both traditional early stage investing and impact-oriented investment opportunities.

The Forrester Wave™: B2B Marketing Data Providers, Q2 2021

In our 24-criterion evaluation of B2B marketing data providers, we identified the 11 most significant vendors — Data Axle, Dun & Bradstreet, Enlyft, Global Database, InsideView, Leadspace, Oracle, SMARTe, Spiceworks Ziff Davis, TechTarget, and ZoomInfo Technologies — and researched, analyzed, and scored them. This report shows how each provider measures up and helps B2B marketing professionals select the right one for their needs.

7 Key Risks in Early Stage Due Diligence

The Seraf Compass

Risk is impossible to avoid in business - it is an inherent part, and necessary ingredient, in all successful undertakings. You shouldn’t be afraid of risk and allow it to turn you away from great investment opportunities. Instead, you should focus on understanding what critical risks are involved with an early stage company and the degree to which they have been mitigated with resources, smart planning and preparation

Big Enough To Be Interesting - Market Size & Opportunity

The Seraf Compass

Market Opportunity is an important metric for estimating the long-term potential for an early stage company. Typically, we invest in companies that are going after market sizes of at least $100M. At that size, a market is large enough to support a $25M+ company. Many early stage companies are opening up new markets, so determining overall market size is not easy. We recommend attacking this problem from several angles

Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of the Way - The Art and Science of Deal Leadership

The Seraf Compass

Active deal leadership is one of the essential elements of success in early stage investing. As legendary investor Fred Wilson observed, every round needs a lead investor. Being a great deal lead takes experience, or the guidance of a great process.

Angel Investing in Challenging Times

The Seraf Compass

It’s amazing how the world economic situation changed seemingly overnight with Covid-19. One moment we were enjoying a healthy economy with a robust outlook on the future. Suddenly, a pandemic crisis sweeps over the globe creating uncertainty in all aspects of our lives.

4 AI Hacks to Make Sales Teams More Efficient

Over the last two years, there’s been a 76 percent increase in AI adoption across sales organizations. For sales teams, AI opens up a world of new possibilities, including automating outreach, identifying best-fit buyers, and keeping CRMs flush with fresh data. Read on to learn the four AI hacks sales teams need to improve their performance. Download the eBook today!

Seraf Toolbox: What You Need and Where You Will Find Key Data to Track Your Early Stage Investments

The Seraf Compass

As active early stage investors and directors of Launchpad Venture Group, we are asked frequently about how we track our portfolio of investments and how we stay on top of the financial performance of each company.

Fine Print: Understanding Key Deal Terms and How They Can Affect Your Returns

The Seraf Compass

It’s exciting news! The CEO of one of your investments tells you that a buyer expressed serious interest in acquiring her company for $30M.

Staging Capital: Angel Follow-on Theory

The Seraf Compass

Most startup companies have a continuous need for funds to help grow the business. You will hear the term “Follow-on” as a frequent catchphrase for this type of investing. For example, it’s common to hear one investor say to another, are you planning on “following-on” in this round?

Stock Warrants: Sweetening the Deal for Angel Investors

The Seraf Compass

? One of the less understood and seldom used instruments in angel investing is the stock warrant. Warrants are essentially the same as the more familiar stock option. Both are a contractual right to buy a certain amount of stock at some point in the future, at a price agreed upon now

How to Overcome the Pain Points of Your CRM

CRM software is a powerful tool when used correctly, yet another obstacle to a sales team’s efficiency when it’s not. Leveraging research and commentary from industry analysts, this eBook explores how your sales team can get back valuable time by overcoming some pain points with your CRM, such as low adoption rates, integrations, and data quality.

Convertible Notes: Good or Evil?

The Seraf Compass

One of the most controversial topics in the startup community relates to the issue of investing through convertible notes vs. investing through preferred stock. Much has been written about this topic for the past decade, and the debate continues to rage in the blogosphere even today.

Rule #1 in Angel Investing - It’s All About the Team

The Seraf Compass

Great ideas are a dime a dozen. Living in the Boston/Cambridge area, we are surrounded by some of the most innovative researchers in the world working at institutions like MIT and Harvard. I’m pretty confident when I say, in Boston, hardly a day goes by when some graduate student or professor doesn’t invent a new product, discover a new molecule or create a cool app. Unfortunately, without a great team behind that new product, it’s doubtful that a great company will result

Not My Cup of Tea - Some Business Types Are A Better Fit for Angels

The Seraf Compass

Why do web and software businesses seem to get investment traction while real, down-to-earth business and manufacturing-intensive companies flounder to raise capital? It has to do with the type of investor model involved. The investor model has to match the type of company

Key US Federal Tax Issues for Angel Investors

The Seraf Compass

As we all know, the United States IRS tax code is extremely complex. Because the code includes some provisions directly affecting angel investing, understanding the tax rules is important for US-based angel investors. There are significant tax savings for angel investors who understand the rules

4 Data-Driven Steps To Drive Successful B2B Demand Generation

Fact: Good data lives at the core of every successful B2B demand generation strategy. Without quality data, it’s nearly impossible to identify and segment your target audience and create messaging that speaks to their values and interests. Whether you’re stepping into a new position or you’re new to demand generation, learning the tricks of the trade can be, well, tricky. In this eBook, you’ll discover how to improve your demand generation program—and your bottom line.

Impact Investing: Best Reads and Podcasts

The Seraf Compass

Whether you are an experienced impact investor or just starting to explore the space, reading and listening to experts' perspectives can help expand your knowledge and provide new insights.

Oxygen, Aspirin or Jewelry: Which Makes a Better Investment?

The Seraf Compass

Entrepreneurs fall in love with their products. It’s no surprise… their product is their idea and as they nurture it, it becomes like a child to them, and who doesn’t love their child!?

Seraf Founders Receive National Award for Changing the Landscape of Angel Investing

The Seraf Compass

In recognition of their incredible contribution to angel investing, Seraf Founders Ham Lord and Christopher Mirabile were awarded the 2021 Hans Severiens award by the Angel Capital Association, the largest professional angel investor development organization in the world

What's Your Core Investing Philosophy?

The Seraf Compass

Seraf Co-Founder Christopher Mirabile interviews several experienced angel investors from around the country to ask: What's Your Core Investing Philosophy? Learn what these influential angels have to say about why they invest in early stage companies, how they determine which sectors to invest in, and how they ultimately find great companies. . . Video Transcript. Mirabile: What's your core investing philosophy? 00:00:06

The Modern Customer Success Playbook

The evolution of every high-functioning, effective customer success strategy centers around three C’s: connected experiences, an engaging customer journey, and a culture built on customer-centricity. Satisfaction won’t cut it. Quarterbacking your customers to long-term success and growth is proven to combat churn and transform customer success teams into revenue-drivers. But where do you start? Download the playbook today!

A Letter to CEOs: Encouragement and Advice

The Seraf Compass

As a follow-up to our message on Angel Investing in Challenging Times, Christopher and I tasked Raza with putting together an update and perspective piece for the CEOs of our portfolio companies. The letter outlines our thoughts on some of the challenges they will face in the near term.

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