Sunday, March 31, 2013

First of the Month Roundup for April: Angels win NAVCA Award; Micro Housing in SF, Seattle, NY, Boston; Cambridge Red Line Improvements

For the first time ever, the North American Venture Capital Assn. (NAVCA) has presented its top award to… angel  group? Speaking from the podium during the champagne and caviar toast at the Rainbow Room, NAVCA President Jacob Marley recognized the  Lake Wobegon Angels, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all their investment returns are above the median. I hear their franks, beans, and brown bread angel dinners in the church basement are a very great success. We can all learn a lot from these angels,” he said, before digging into his soufflĂ©.
The History Channel series on the Bible sparked a vigorous exchange at Angel & Demon Capital Assn. (ADCA) dinner last month.  Asking “why aren’t there more women angels,”  Seamus G. of the Uncommon Angels stated “because most angels trace back to Moses, they see the Promised Land, but they never really get there.”  Jeannie H. of Garden Seeds opined that women trace back a generation further than Moses. “During the recent recession, angels more closely resembled the Pharaoh’s daughter, who managed to save a little prophet from the rushes on the bank.”
Micro housing developments for young technologists are now planned for San Francisco, with Boston, New York, and Seattle following. In an effort to help high tech entrepreneurs to find affordable housing downtown, these cities are planning to allow micro unit housing, with units consisting of 300 sq. feet or less. In San Francisco, they call them the Alcatraz Apartments.  “People ask me if they chose the name because the units will have a view of the island of Alcatraz,” said Chronicle Columnist Herb Caen. “I reply that it will show them the view from inside Alcatraz.”

 “We’ll name ours the ‘Sacco and Vanzetti Apartments,’” said a Boston Mayoral spokesperson.  “They spent seven years in similar housing not far from here (before going off to visit ‘Old Sparky’).”  Young entrepreneurs can rent one now for only $2K to $3K per month.” New York will name its units after tenement reformer Jacob Riis.

“They don’t really need to put kitchens in those units," says T. Row Row,  founder of the Cambridge Inn Ovation Center, noting that the ribs of his lean startup tenants were starting to show, so he added a soup kitchen to his Venture Cafe.  "They were having a hard time living on just the free coffee and beer", said Row Row, "Plus, we were tired of losing all the engineers to Google, just for the free food.  We expect them to be lean, but not that lean. Maybe the Salvation Army could locate a soup kitchen in the Innovation District. We would applaud that.”

(Note to our readers:  the Ovation Center was designed as a safe place for politicians and public officials to announce expensive new programs to rounds of ringing applause. The Ovation Center is located near the TechMoons Excelerator, an organization founded to drill young entrepreneurs in the excessive use of Excel spreadsheets.)
Sic Transit in Cambridge/Boston. America’s Technology Subway, Boston’s Red Line, is about to undergo some face lifting to support the Innovation Economy.  Here is the revised lineup of stops heading outbound from Boston to Cambridge.

Whitey Bulger (formerly Broadway).  New landscaping will include an equestrian statue of the man himself.  
Innovation District. Rumor has it that this will be renamed Thomas Menino once the mayor for life actually  leaves office in favor of startup guru Matt Lauzon.
Filene’s Basement (formerly Downtown Crossing).
Park Street.
Charles Street.
Central Square.
Haavard Yaahd.
Porter Square.
No Barneys (in Somerville).
Smith College/U. Mass.
Lake Woebegon
Santa Clara
Los Gatos
Larry Ellison (Hawaiian Islands)

Note that one popular stop is missing.  MIT and the City of Cambridge have requested the removal of the Kendall Square stop. “We want to encourage alternative transportation,” says MIT President Olivier Smoot.  First, we got the cars out of the square, now we’ll remove the pedestrians.”  Presumably remaining will be Segways, unicycles, and pogo sticks.  An alternative would be to name the stop after the F&T Diner, the place where all the real innovation took place 50 years ago.

“Originally we were going to repair the track and order new trains, but that costs money, so we starting this rebranding instead,” says MBTA senior system planner Maurits C. Escher.
 In the interest of promoting even greater cooperation between the Angel and Venture Capital communities, the Coughingman Foundation is requiring both groups to participate in a new musical production to open on Broadway in the Fall.

The Angel and the VC Should be Friends

(Tune from Oklahoma: “The Farmer and the Cowman Should be Friends.”  To view the video of the tune, the costumes, the dance steps, and the brawl click right here.)

The Angel and the VC should be friends,
Oh, the Angel and the VC should be friends,
One guy helps a firm to grow, the other tries to grab the dough,
But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends.

Funding folks should stick together,
Funding folks should all be pals,
Angels dance with the VC’s daughters,
VCs dance with the Angel gals.

The Angel is a good and thrifty citizen,
No matter what the VC says or thinks,
You’ll seldom see her drinking in a barroom,
--Unless somebody else is buying drinks.

But the Angel and the VC should be friends,
Oh, the Angel and the VC should be friends,
The Angel spreads his funds about,
The VC might dilute him out,
But that’s no reason why they can’t be friends.

I’d like to say a word for the VC,
Investing other’s money is his skill,
He could have left a small bit on the table,
But thinks if he don’t grab it,  Judd Fry will.

Funding folks should stick together,
Funding folks should all be pals,
Angels dance with the VC’s daughters,
VCs dance with the Angel’s pals.

I’d like to say a word for the Angel,
Negotiating deals has made her canny,
That VC talking with her in the corner,
Will find out quick that she’s no Ado Annie.

Funding folks should stick together
Funding folks should all be pals
Angels dance with the VC’s daughters
VCs dance with the Angel gals.

Funding folks will stick together,
Funding folks will all be friends,
Everyone will dance together,
That’s the way this story ends.

     -----     ------
We modestly describe this effort as after composer Richard Rogers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, but we suspect that they’ll be after us once they learn about it.

Prima Aprilis.  To the delight of our editors, this publication circulates worldwide, and rapidly.  Here in New England, April 1 is celebrated as April Fools’ Day, a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on one another. We wish a very merry April Fools Day to you, our readers, wherever ye may be.   

Kendall Square in the Golden Age of Innovation, 1961 - 1973


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Friday, March 29, 2013

Foley Hoag offering a free Tech Calendar App introducing their Technology & Entrepreneurship Collaborative in Boston

Three new items offered by the Foley Hoag law firm this month include their comprehensive Calendar App, their latest report on Seed, Series A and Later Round Financings in New England, and TEC@FoleyHoag) – a new collaborative located in the heart of Boston’s Innovation District focusing on providing educational and informational resources to  tech companies, entrepreneurs and investors.

Download the App

For technology entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, business leaders, and state employees, networking events provide access to invaluable contacts that can help turn brilliant ideas into blossoming businesses. That’s why Foley Hoag LLP this month unveiled a new calendar app that will help Boston’s burgeoning technology startup community identify and track relevant educational and networking events.

The free app, called TEC Calendar, offers users the convenience of Metro Boston's most comprehensive and up-to-date calendar for technology-related business educational and networking events, in an easily accessible mobile format. The app is available for the iPhone®, iPad®, BlackBerry® and Android devices.

For downloading links and instructions click right here. 

The underlying technology for the TEC Calendar was developed by Hard Data Factory, the second venture of Johnny Monsarrat, founder and first CEO of Turbine, Inc. With two patents for collecting data from public websites, Hard Data Factory is also developing the world's largest arts calendar.

Monsarrat had described his calendar technology (but not the Foley Hoag connection) at the EntreTech  Forum recently. When you start a company,” Monsarrat said, “incremental growth is not good enough. You need to find an ally with the power to jumpstart your business. The TEC Calendar app lets you find not just some event, but the event you need for your business to leap forward.”


The launch of the TEC Calendar app coincides with the launch event for Foley Hoag’s Technology & Entrepreneurship Collaborative (TEC@FoleyHoag) – a new collaborative located in the heart of Boston’s Innovation District that is focused on providing educational and informational resources to  tech companies, entrepreneurs and investors.

“Foley Hoag has been a leader in the Boston entrepreneur community for more than 40 years, providing first class legal counsel on everything from setting up a corporation and securing venture capital, to building business partnerships, all the way to successful exits,” said Gil Arie, Co-Chair of the firm’s Technology Industry Practice and TEC@FoleyHoag. “Between the TEC Calendar app and the TEC@FoleyHoag series of networking events, we are taking our efforts a natural step further by supporting the industry with our own events and offering a virtual ear to the ground on other events they should know about in our community.”

Venture Perspectives - New England Edition: Fourth Quarter and Year 2012

Earlier this week, Foley Hoag released a Quarterly Review of Seed, Series A and Series B/Later Round Financings prepared under the direction of David Pierson, a partner in the Business Department who chairs the firm’s Venture Capital/Emerging Companies Practice Group.

This report draws on data provided by the usual suspects (1). Consequently, most angel investments are not included in the report and the number of seed financings in the region is very much understated. The report is clearly much more valuable in analyzing latter stage transactions.

Download the report from here.

1.    the Pricewaterhouse Coopers/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree TM Report, Thomson Reuters, the National Venture Capital Association, and DowJones VentureSource. 


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Arch Angels report a record year, investing $5.6 million in 16 companies

Saint Louis, MO.  The recently expanded Arch Angels network invested $5.6 million in 16 new and existing startups in 2012, the largest number of companies the Arch Angels has ever funded in a single year. This additional funding brings the total investments the network has made in its eight-year history to more than $31.5 million in 37 companies. 

In 2012, the Arch Angels invested $3.3 million in nine new early-stage companies hailing from the life sciences and technology industries. They invested an additional $2.3 million in seven companies they had previously funded.

 The Arch Angels network also saw an increase in membership in 2012, growing its base by nearly 43 percent from the prior year, from 47 members in 2011 to 67 today, creating a more robust source of funds for emerging entrepreneurs. This growth is due, in part, to a merger with local financial services technology angel investing group FinServe Tech Angels. The two organizations joined forces on Sept. 1 to further strengthen angel investing in the St. Louis region. 

 “The growth of our organization and in the number of investments we’ve made over the past year have been reflective of the growing support for the entrepreneurial base in our region,” noted Gil Bickel, chairman of the St. Louis Arch Angels. “We continue to see new high-quality investment opportunities and previously funded companies maturing and advancing their business models, contributing to the record number of investments this past year and catapulting us past the $30 million mark.”

“We have much to be proud of as a group,” notes Bickel. “We have helped to create ground-breaking technology in multiple fields and, together, have helped strengthen angel investing and entrepreneurial activity in the St. Louis region. I see a bright future for startups and investors, alike, as we continue to come together to offer the support and resources necessary for these companies to move forward.”

Year  2013 is off to a great start for the Arch Angels, according to Bickel. They have invested a little over $2 million in 7 deals so far this year. Four of those are new companies while the other three are follow on investments.


The St. Louis Arch Angels network was founded in January, 2005, as an independent 510c(6) not-for-profit corporation. Arch Angel members, business leaders from the St. Louis region, provide seed and early-stage capital in the range of $250K-$1M, an investment range not generally served by venture capitalists.
Startups backed in 2012 include the following: Bonfyre, Elemental Enzymes, Euclises Pharmaceuticals, JBara Software, Kypha, LockerDome, NeuroLutions, NewLeaf, Symbiotics, and Systematic Revenue.