The Seraf Compass

Getting On The Same Page - Verifying Goal Alignment

The Seraf Compass

Have you ever been disappointed by someone or by some product that you purchased? Nine times out of ten it’s due to not having the right expectations for one reason or another. Investments are no different from other purchases.

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!

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The Fine Print - Deal Terms and Payoff

The Seraf Compass

As the diligence process proceeds towards conclusion, thoughts naturally turn to the terms of the deal. Regardless of whether there is an existing term sheet to review, or a need to negotiate and establish a set of terms for the deal, thought needs to be given to the terms of the deal.

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.

100 Pipeline Plays: The Modern Sales Playbook

For the first time, we’re sharing the winning plays that took us from scrappy startup to a publicly traded company. Use our proven data-driven plays to grow your pipeline and crush your revenue targets.

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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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.

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.

Fund Investor Profile Series: Steven Wamathai, FrontEnd Ventures

The Seraf Compass

This profile is the second in a series of interviews highlighting the work of interesting small funds.

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.

Your Guide to Using Conversational Marketing to Drive Demand Generation

What is conversational marketing really about? This guide will examine the market forces at play, shifting buyer trends, how to leverage conversation marketing, and the tactics involved in adopting it for a B2B demand generation strategy.

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.

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.

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.

LinkedIn + ZoomInfo Recruiter: Better Data for Better Candidates

Check out our latest ebook for a guide to the in-depth, wide-ranging candidate and company data offered by ZoomInfo Recruiter — and make your next round of candidate searches faster, more efficient, and ultimately more successful.

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.

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.

Late Comers Need to Stand Out

The Seraf Compass

Before investing in a startup company, early stage investors constantly ask a key question, “Are enough customers ready and willing to try this new product or service?” Ken Rainin, an inspiring serial entrepreneur, successfully confronted this “Is our customer ready?” question time and time again.

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

A Recruiter’s Guide To Hiring In 2021

With vaccination rates rising, consumers spending more money, and people returning to offices, the job market is going through a period of unprecedented adjustment. As the New York Times observed, “It’s a weird moment for the American economy.” And recruiting professionals are caught in the middle. To make the most of this disruption, you need to understand the economic drivers, develop a strong strategy for unearthing valuable talent, and use the latest tech tools to get the job done. Read this guide to get your recruiting practice ready to thrive in the new normal.

Family Office Investor Profile Series: Shehbaz Hussain, Associate VP, Conconi Growth Partners

The Seraf Compass

This profile is the first in a series of interviews highlighting the work of interesting family offices. Shehbaz Hussain is an Associate Vice President at Conconi Growth Partners, a family investment office based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Impact Investor Profile Series: Naava Mashiah, CEO, ME LINKS

The Seraf Compass

This profile is the first in a series of interviews highlighting the work of interesting impact investors. Naava Mashiah is a Geneva Switzerland based wealth manager and business development consultant focused on impact investments in the Middle East.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Going to Market Smarter in the New Economy

In 2022, 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!

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.

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

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

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

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 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.

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