What I Do
I am a true angel investor who makes pre-seed and seed investments and actively partners with great founders from day zero. I am comfortable writing a first check and my preference is to invest before any institutional capital.
My industry background is platform and developer businesses at Microsoft, VMware, and other companies. I have hands-on experience running a SaaS business and wrestling with cloud economics.
My investments are primarily in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest because it is much easier to help in person (even in the Zoom era). I consider investing in other geographies when I have a prior connection or in companies that are an exceptional fit for my interests and experience.
I am or have been an investor, advisor and/or board member for Algorithmia (acquired by DataRobot), AppSheet (acquired by Google), Appuri (acquired by DocuSign), atsu.io, Azuqua (acquired by Okta), Battlesnake (acquired by DevCycle), Blockstream, buuteeq (acquired by Priceline), CoinLab, Directed Machines, Exponential Entertainment, Hedgehog, Hyperbotic Labs, Indix (acquired by Avalara), LeadMethod (acquired by Revalize), LendingRobot (acquired by Lend Core), LockStep (acquired by Sage), MergeVR, Mystery, OfferUp, Outreach, Puzzazz, Railway, Rec Room, Rigado, RIPL, Shippable (acquired by JFrog), Silene Biotech (acquired by NanoSurface Biomedical), STOKE Space, TrustedKey (acquired by Workday), Uh-Oh Labs, Upbound and Voodle.
What I Look For
As an angel, I am interested in new ideas that I haven’t already read about on TechCrunch and have the potential to be big businesses. I have a set of themes I’m interested in (see below) but invest beyond those themes.
I like to see innovation in both product and go-to-market, and expect you can tell me how you’re going to win.
How I Help
You get my help as well as my money, in particular:
Positioning and Strategy: I believe positioning is paramount for startups. It is critical to be able to precisely articulate your point of view, what problem you solve and for who, and the market you hope to create or transform. I enjoy helping mold raw product and technology into the narrative and strategy that becomes a company and a category.
Platform Dynamics: Most of my career has been spent building and nurturing different ecosystems.
Getting to Series A: I want to invest in companies that can go on to raise additional capital from top tier venture firms (though I’d also be delighted if you didn’t need to). My portfolio of investments have raised from a broad array of top tier venture firms, and part of my job is to help you raise the next round.
Dealing with Serendipity: No company gets built without both seizing upon and coping with the unexpected. I’ll help you interpret the signals and figure out what they mean.
What I’m Interested In
The core of my portfolio are platform/infrastructure/developer companies. I’m always interested in new ideas in this space, particularly ones that have business model hypotheses that can survive the overwhelming gravitational pull of the hyper-scale cloud providers.
My bar is going up for SaaS companies (see SaaS Sprawl). Opportunities are getting smaller while requiring ever deeper domain expertise, even as later stage investors treat them as purely a numbers game. Why you are different? Are you going after the original wave of SaaS companies as they settle into middle age? Perhaps you are solving some of the problems created by large portfolios of SaaS apps?
Other current topics of interest:
- Serverless, edge computing and WASM
- If Kubernetes is a means, what is the end?
- SGML : Kubernetes :: HTML : ???
- Metaverse platforms (since well before 2021)
- Privacy and personal/self-sovereign key management
- Decentralized systems
- Bitcoin-based infrastructure, e.g. Layer 2. My bar for alt-coins and “blockchain” is extraordinarily high.
- Brain-computer interfaces
- 7G wireless (feel free to tell me what it is)
- The new electric grid
- Orbital laser battlestations and data centers
- Abundant energy
How to Reach Me
As is the norm, a warm introduction is the best way to get in contact with me. I tend to ignore cold emails that show no signs of any research as to why I might be a good fit for your startup.