Musings

Ben Littauer can be an opinionated fellow.  Here he shares some of those opinions for discussion.

Five Years as an Angel

I woke up recently to the realization that I started doing this angel investing thing five years ago to the month. Motivation back then was to build a network and find a C-level position in an exciting startup. I did that dance with a couple of companies, but realized that I really didn't want to invest all my time in one highly risky endeavor, and also that, gee, that was a boatload of work!

Investment Update July 2012

I see that I haven't posted since the end of last year, and quite a bit has happened in my world of angel investing, so time for an update. Top line is that my gambling habit remains out of control, but I am reining it in for a bit while I catch my breath, and hope for a couple more positive exits.

TCN Minute to Win It

I had the privilege of being one of a dozen or so judges at a breakfast pitch competition co-sponsored by Launchpad Venture Group (where I'm a member) and The Capital Network (TCN, where I'm on the advisory board). Called "Minute to Win It", this was a set on one-on-one speed pitches - elevator pitches, in the parlance - by a dozen or so entrepreneurs, each doing a timed, one minute pitch to one investor, then receiving three minutes of feedback, then repeat with three more investors.

Babson Big Idea

I was one of three judges at the Babson Big Idea Competition on November 12. We saw five companies each give three minute pitches followed by three minutes of Q&A. I have to admit that two of them left me cool, with a distinct feeling that there was plenty of competition in their space, and they had undistinguished offerings. …

Tungle.me and SEO ... and virality

As an Angel Investor I work out of whatever place I'm at. Since I've been spending some time marketing myself I get a lot of meeting requests. Some of these are scheduled externally, and we often use the absolutely wonderful, free tool called Doodle (http://www.doodle.com

Secure Email Irony

I recently had a wonderful (?) experience with secure email that I just have to share.

As some of you may know, I'm something of an expert on the subject of secure email, having worked as a Technology Strategist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and as a Technical Consultant for the MAssachusetts Health Data Consortium. …

The Value of Customer Service

Two recent experiences have highlighted for me, yet again, the immense value of top-notch customer service.

First, I'm working with a new photo scanning company, GoPhoto.com, and in the process of trying out their service I discovered a few things worth mentioning to management. …

Companies in the News

It's been a good couple of weeks for portfolio or "advisee" companies. 

Jeremy Levine of StarStreet, the sports star stock market, was one of the featured entrepreneurs at Angel Boot Camp. He provided some insights as to what he was looking for from his investors (in my case, just money, since I'm not a fantasy sports jock).

Mass Challenge Update

I attended the Mass Challenge finalist announcement event today along with my Harvard Law School classmate, Deval Patrick. In all seriousness, I am thoroughly grateful for what his administration is doing to help support the innovation economy in Massachusetts.

Latest Professional Happenings

I am continuing to deal with a plethora of young companies in  variety of roles, ranging from the old standby of Angel Investor, but I'm continuing to mentor entrepreneurs and their new firms, and have recently gotten involved with a couple of competitions -

More Investment News

My gambling habit is out of hand, but I'm pretty happy with bets I've made recently.

I've put bets this year on all three companies I mentioned in an earlier post, Pixability, StarStreet (renamed), and Brand-Yourself. In addition I've invested in Localytics

Shameless self-promotion

I've been asked to help out with a few panels recently, which I find enjoyable and usually enlightening. Besides, it gets my face out before entrepreneurs and thus increases my deal flow.

I was a member of a panel on angel investing with a number of my colleagues from different groups.…

Another Angel Update

To lead off, Dibert has captured how I often feel about myself and my colleagues:

Dilbert.com

OK, on to more serious stuff, though I have to say that I'm having too much fun to take things completely seriously.

I've added another company to the portfolio, Vizibility. …

Pivot

I was attending a diligence meeting on a company we had seen at Walnut Ventures, and during the discussion the word "pivot" came up several times, as in "the company had to pivot to respond to market conditions." 

There was a little discussion of the prevalence of this word in investment circles these days, and I thought it amusing, hence this post. …

Aisle Buyer & Incentive Targeting

Here are two very different companies in related areas. Both are involved with retail sales and both have coupon systems, but after that they are very different.

Incentive Targeting is a coupon program management system for supermarket chains. Sounds like a solved problem, right? …

Long time, no muse

It's been a while since I've posted here, so I thought I'd give a little update on what's been happening with me on the professional side.

Mostly, what's been keeping me busy has been the angel investing stuff. As a member of two groups, and a regular guest of a third,

Angel Investing Update

I've recently joined another angel group, Walnut Venture Associates. I'd been attending many of their meetings as a guest, really enjoyed working with the folks there on a couple of deals, and decided that I should ante up with them as well as Boston Harbor Angels

Arrows

I was at a restaurant recently that had a set of puzzles on the place mats. One of these was the classic arrow optical illusion:

Which of the two line segments is longer?

arrows

Now, we've all seen this one, so we readily answer, "they're both the same", of course.

Angel Investing Update: One Year In

It's about a year ago that I joined Boston Harbor Angels, and I have found the experience to be rewarding as well as tremendously educational. 

Over the course of the year I've placed small bets on three companies: Emerginvest, StylePath, and Nomir Medical

Yiddish? Policeman?

I've recently finished a novel by Michael Chabon called The Yiddish Policeman's Union.  Set in the Jewish territory established in the 1930's on Baranof Island in Alaska, it's a hard-boiled detective novel.  Yeah, right.  Actually, it's one of the best books I've read in recent years and I'm telling so many people about it, I'm certain I'm getting annoying.


Copyright 1997-2013, Ben Littauer (alternate email littauer@gmail.com)