Musings

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

Call Me Petty - Stupid EV Tricks

The other night we were driving off to dinner in Burlington in our Nissan LEAF electric vehicle (EV).  At a red light we came alongside a bright yellow Audi with a lowered suspension and resonators on the exhaust, driven by a young man.

When the light changed, I took off as usual and quietly left the Audi behind. …

Old Tech For Entrepreneurs

I received a pointer to an interesting blog post in my email today. 

http://davidafields.com/consultants/blog/more-clients-more-time/

While this particular post is aimed at sales people and consultants, it turns out that it is at least as applicable to entrepreneurs. 

Live Linking Photos With Mosaic

OK, this is pretty cool. 

Portfolio company Mosaic Archive has just released the latest version of their Lightroom photo synch software. Still allowing viewing of photos and editing of  stars & flags on IOS devices, it now uses Google Drive for infrastructure. …

Convertible Debt

As a “foolish” seed-stage investor I often find myself investing in convertible debt instead of a priced, preferred equity purchase (which are more generally used by angels groups and venture capitalists). I have learned some of the ins and out and “gotchas” of these, so I often speak about them at events for

Great Contact Email

As an angel investor I meet dozens of new folks weekly, each of whom is sure that they have a fabulous business idea for which I can help them get funding. I meet them at networking events, after presentations, as guests at angel group meetings, through referrals from my own network, and any number of other ways. …

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? …


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