The Seraf Compass

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?

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.

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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!?

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.

State of MENA Startups 2019, Report

MAGNiTT and 500 Startups jointly launch first 'State of MENA Startups 2019" report. Survey findings reveal insights on trends in fundraising exercise, exit opportunities, hiring, and growth optimization.

Angel 201: 4 Critical Skills Every Angel Investor Should Master

The Seraf Compass

Angel investing started to break into the mainstream in popular American culture in the early 2000s. It started with stories of individuals striking it rich from investments in companies like eBay, Yahoo, PayPal and Google.

Top Early Stage Investing Articles of 2019

The Seraf Compass

We have an annual tradition of bringing you the best early stage investing articles of the year, handpicked by our Co-Founders Hambleton Lord and Christopher Mirabile. Here are a few of our favorite, most interesting and informative pieces we read in 2019, in no particular order.

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?

Spade Work: How Early Stage Board Directors Add Value

The Seraf Compass

Over the past few years, there has been much talk about the importance of investing both financial and human capital into the rapidly expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem. From our perspective, human capital is as important as financial capital in driving the long term success of startup companies.

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Read This First - An Entrepreneur’s Library

The Seraf Compass

Investing in early-stage companies is investing in entrepreneurs. Understanding how they measure up is partly a function of understanding how they think, or should think. Entrepreneurship has come a long way toward being a better-understood and accessible way of life.

The Startup Funding Gap

This resource discusses the gap between early funding from friends/family and the more substantial rounds from angel groups and VCs. Why does this gap exist and what can be done about it?

Look Before You Leap - The Importance of Due Diligence In Angel Investing

The Seraf Compass

? There are as many different approaches to angel investing as there are investors. Some investors will tell you they invest based on their gut. After a 30 minute meeting with the entrepreneur, they are either in or out.

How to Apply the 3 P's to Selecting Angel Investments

The Seraf Compass

The first approach we recommend for selecting investable companies is to screen each company by examining the Team, Market Opportunity and Product. That’s a great way to sift through hundreds of companies to find the few diamonds in the rough. But for serious angels with more solid prospects than they can possibly invest in, a second filter is needed

Angel Investing War Stories: Roller Coaster Rides and Lessons Learned

The Seraf Compass

One of the best parts about angel investing is all the great stories you gather over the years.

Key Risks of Angel Investing

The Seraf Compass

? Early stage investing is an inherently risky way to invest. The list of high level risks is long and includes financing risk, technical risk, and market risk. As angel investors, you need to be aware of the key risks you are taking with your investment

Seismic Forces Driving The Growth of Angel Investing

The Seraf Compass

It feels like there is more written about angel investing lately than ever before. This form of early-stage investing seems to be having its 15 minutes of fame. Is it a passing fad? I don’t think so.

Impact Investing Conferences: 2020 Preview, Plus Full 2019 Review

The Seraf Compass

Impact investing is still a nascent, rapidly evolving field—which means professionals have to work extra hard to stay on top of best practices, news, and trends. One of the best ways to do this is to attend an industry conference.

Apples, Oranges and Rotten Tomatoes: Owning A Diverse Portfolio

The Seraf Compass

I believe building a diverse portfolio is critical to success as an angel investor. But when I first sat down to write an article on diversification of angel investments, I knew right away I was facing a serious challenge. Numerous articles have been written on aspects of this topic

Paper Chase - Tips and Hacks For Dealing with Angel Investing Paperwork and Communications

The Seraf Compass

Before Christopher joined the world of angel investing, he spent much of his early career as a corporate lawyer working in-house for a NASDAQ listed enterprise software company. The pace of customer and strategic deals and corporate housekeeping activities was unrelenting.

Preparing for the Inevitable: Angel Investors, Death & Taxes

The Seraf Compass

Things don’t always go exactly as planned in life or in angel investing. And just as in life, with angel investing, it pays to be prepared. So here are some thoughts on planning for the inevitable, and how to prevent catastrophes by fitting your angel investments into your estate plan from the beginning

When Money is Not Enough: Angel Roles & Human Capital

The Seraf Compass

? When entrepreneurs seek out angel investors, the majority are looking for financial capital. Very few entrepreneurs understand the importance of finding smart investors who will invest both Financial and Human Capital. Read on for a look at what roles angel investors can perform for a startup company

Can You Help Me With This? Advising On Pitch Decks

The Seraf Compass

Can you help me make it better?” You have to admit that is a fair question from an entrepreneur who’s deck you’ve just criticized. So it’s not a bad idea to have an answer ready.

Meeting with Entrepreneurs: How the Best Ones Communicate their Vision

The Seraf Compass

When meeting with angel investors, entrepreneurs often struggle with the best way to deliver the large scope of their vision while demonstrating that they are tightly focused on a realistic, near term, go-to-market strategy

I’ll Be Brief: Why Angels Should Insist on a One-Pager

The Seraf Compass

Entrepreneurs seeking to engage with investors usually offer up written materials. Usually they offer whatever they have on hand. Smart investors should insist on a crisp “one-pager” executive summary.

Congratulations On Your VC Round!

The Seraf Compass

What happens when an entrepreneur meets with success and closes their first round? This heartfelt letter from a professor to his former student provides advice on how to proceed after achieving her first raise. First and foremost: spend it extremely wisely and judiciously

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Chemistry Experiment: Recruiting A New Director

The Seraf Compass

In previous posts we have addressed how Board Directors can add value, communicate effectively with CEOs, and prepare for successful board meetings, but how should entrepreneurs go about recruiting one?

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Stitch in Time Saves 9: A Guide to Start-up Board Prep

The Seraf Compass

In previous posts we discussed the important role board directors can play in early stage, private companies. As an angel investor serving as a director, it is critical to know how to prepare for a meeting.

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25 Frogs: How to Avoid the Key Sins of Angel Investors

The Seraf Compass

The greatest investors tend to end up in the best deals over time. Why this happens is no mystery: other investors want them in their deals because of the value they add to companies and CEOs, and the really smart entrepreneurs seek them out because they understand the value of great investors.

Can You Hear Me Now? Building Great Director-CEO Communication

The Seraf Compass

In our previous article Spade Work: How Early Stage Board Directors Add Value, we discussed some best practices which we gathered from both our personal experience of sitting on company boards, and from some very successful VCs, angel investors, and advisors.

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Size Matters…How Big is Your Market?

The Seraf Compass

So if we can all agree that the team is the critical factor in company success, what else do we need to look at? We believe that market opportunity and product have a similar weighting in our company evaluation scale.

Information Flow: Essentials of Venture Capital Fund Reporting [Part II]

The Seraf Compass

In Part I of this article we discussed the importance of reporting for early stage funds and what information a fund manager needs to properly track performance.

Information Flow: Essentials of Venture Capital Fund Reporting [Part III]

The Seraf Compass

In Part I of this article we discussed the importance of reporting for early stage funds and what information a fund manager needs to properly track performance.

Board Dynamics - Fixing Interpersonal Problems With the Nuclear Approach

The Seraf Compass

The need for an expression like “hacking the board” reflects the fact that for startups, dealing with a board is about making the best of a situation the founder did not create and cannot fully control.

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Can't Afford Not To; Key Patent Issues For Angel Investors

The Seraf Compass

Startups, particularly in complex technology fields, often rely on the exclusivity granted by patents to build competitive advantage in the marketplace. Unfortunately, the average time an applicant waits to receive a first Office Action from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is about 19 months from submission of the patent application. Even worse, the total time until the patent is allowed is actually about 27.5

What's Your Point? Or How to Run a Great Board Meeting

The Seraf Compass

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ve probably read some of our other articles about what every early stage company board director should know. In this post we’ve outlined not only the attributes of a great board meeting vs. a poor one, but also some learning and best practices

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Seraf Toolbox: Venture Fund Economics Modeling Tool

The Seraf Compass

This Venture Fund Economics Modeling Tool is designed to help you understand compensation for a venture fund's General Partners. The overall structure of the worksheet is quite simple.

big ideas 2020: a vision for the future of innovation and entrepreneurship

Venture Well

To kick off the new year—and new decade—we’d like to draw attention to four big ideas that will be of great importance in 2020 and in years to come. The post big ideas 2020: a vision for the future of innovation and entrepreneurship appeared first on VentureWell.

industry and university collaboration: how partnership drives innovation

Venture Well

Industry and university collaboration produces groundbreaking research and innovation that solves complex problems, drives economic growth, and creates a more skilled workforce. The post industry and university collaboration: how partnership drives innovation appeared first on VentureWell.

Lighting the torch of change: Youth volunteering in Haiti

Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative

By Elise Kemp. As a part of the YLAI Network’s mission, community involvement in fostering development is critical. Hearing about the impact that our networkmembers are making in their own communities is a real privilege and helps us see how impactful it can be to volunteer locally.

Salon Owner Chelle Neff Talks Scaling, Sustainability and Success

Entrepreneurs' Organization

At the start of 2020, Chelle Neff is wrapping up a decade of considerable success, growth and innovation. In addition to developing Urban Betty , a successful salon with two locations, Neff also created an app for stylists , produced a book about homes in Austin, Texas, and even reached the Inc.