Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

10TH July 2013

Angel investing - Timely - Uncategorized - Venture Capital

Angel investing for Family Offices: What if you knew ‘Zuck… back then.


After a few years of hanging around (and learning a lot), Angelo Robles from Family Office Association asked me to host a panel on angel investing. It was based on the Angel investing White-paper I wrote about for the FOA awhile back- still relevant btw! Here’ s a brief summary on who is on the panel, and how to participate.

Our first question will certainly be… So here a brash college kid in front of you, a geek savant with zero social skills. Peddling a social network… Do you touch it? And just say you fronted the money; how many ways do you get a screwed along the way? Done right, angel is a beautiful thing. But every success you hear about has a dozen (or more) orphaned peers.

<Note after> This became an interesting discussion. Everyone on the panel admitted to probably not having the guts to back ‘Zuck at the time. Unlike Peter Thiel, who failed with Friendster immediately prior, no-one had the domain expertise to feel comfortable. But it got really interesting when presented with this hypothetical: what if you saw ten ‘Zucks in the next five years… now that’s a field bet if I ever saw one! Pick a number that won’t hurt and do them all.. was the consensus. Exactly.

So let’s learn from a few that have figured out how to do it right. You can follow the debate on Twitter under hashtag #AngelFOA or read more on topic at www.milesspencer.com/FOA

Our Angel Panel

Mike Crowe, Principal. Sachem Investments, Boston, MA

Michael is the Co-Founder and current CEO of The Advocator Group, LLC. Widely regarded as an insurance tech innovator, Mike Co-Founded and sold Crowe Paradis Services Corporation to Verisk and Crowe Paradis Holdings to Brown & Brown, both in 2010.

Michael invests through his family office, Sachem Investments, in angel/seed stage companies ranging from craft beer to mobile, digital advertising to cloud media. Michael is a member of the Boston chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). He completed the EO/MIT Entrepreneurial Masters program in June 2010 and has a passion for starting and growing new businesses.

Brandon Laughren, CIO. The Laughren Group, Darien, CT and New York, NY

Brandon is the Co-Founder of this single family office. After a career in Mergers & Acquisitions on Wall Street at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, UBS, Salomon Brothers and Citigroup, Mr. Laughren began to invest directly in private equity on behalf of his family.

After the sale of a majority owned asset, ScreenVision, a family office was formed and his focus shifted to investing across the spectrum of asset classes. He recently began to explore Angel investing for his family’s portfolio, including addressing a variety of unique challenges common to this asset class. Mr. Laughren earned his BA and MBA from Columbia University.

Douglas Feirstein, Principal (tentative). Feirstein Family Partners, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Doug Feirstein is a serial entrepreneur and active angel investor.

Doug paved the way for “home-shoring”, founding LiveOps.com which now hosts the largest at-home call center community of over 20,000 independent agents, answering over 100mm calls per year. LiveOps has been featured in two New York Times Best-Selling business books, “Drive” and “The 4-Hour Workweek”, and has received over 50mm in capital from Menlo Ventures and Benchmark.

Doug has also co-founded uSell.com, the Kayak.com for re-commercing, and Developer Auction, the auction site for tech talent. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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