By Dennis Clemente
How many times have you seen investors make actual Powerpoint presentations? Another question, how many of them have you seen present in front of a big audience in an engaging way—smiling at that? Even more pointedly, when did you last get a great handshake, smiling again and with steady eye contact?
In a job that requires lots of patience, it’s refreshing to see angel investor Jason E. Klein do all these in front of all the aspiring entrepreneurs at the ERA Roundtable last September 18 at Microsoft. Last time this blogger met a smiling investor it was Fred Wilson.
In the grand scheme of things, of course, you wouldn’t probably care if they were stone-faced and taciturn as long as your startup gets funded. Still, it certainly works for Klein and his investments.
Klein is founder and CEO of On Grid Ventures LLC, an advisory and investment firm in digital media, marketing and information. He also is chairman of the Harvard Business School (HBS) Alumni Angels of Greater New York, a member of New York Angels ad several NYC-based incubators.
Klein was at the ERA Roundtable meetup to give his feedback to the startup presenters who can also learn a thing or two about presenting with a PowerPoint deck, even just to show the landing page and twitter handles of their startups—the better to promote them and engage attendees.
Klein talked more in behalf of the HBS Alumni Angels, explaining how its members invest on their own individual accord:
• They invest in what they know
• They seek ROI
• They do diligence (20 hours of work, background check)
• They build a portfolio. They want to build a range of investments
• They want to add value
More important perhaps for startups is what HBS Alumni Angels looks for when investing in a startup. Here’s what Klein outlined:
A game changer, preferably. If not, then a key piece of a game changer that could be a part of a greater solution.
Competitive edge. Why you will win vs. your competition? Assuming the competition wakes up, how do you defend your turf?
Angel and entrepreneur-friendly terms. There are sample term sheets at gust.com. The valuation should be realistic, given the stage need for additional rounds of capital, and potential exit scenarios.
The CEO. It looks for vision, leadership qualities, uncanny drive, intelligence, smarts, results-focus, and high professional standards and ethics
Value added. Having overseen and grown companies, it wants to help grow yours. Respecting your time and full plate, your involvement will vary over time based on circumstances. A New York City metro area location is preferred. To apply, visit https://gust.com/organizations/hbs-new-york/apply
“Typically, I or more investors become investors,” he said, clarifying again that the HBSAANY as a group makes no recommendations for investment.
In the presentation of the startups, Sailo stood among the other three presenters with a simple but very promising idea—rent a boat from the owner. It makes sense when you think about how many boats supposedly sit idle: 95 percent.
Before you worry about who’s going to steer the ship, Sailo is offering what others have left out: Having a captain of your choice for your peace of mind.
“You need someone who actually knows what he is doing—the captain,” said co-founder Delphine Braas who is looking to raise $500,000 to expand. “We also vet the boats and the insurance.”
Braas assured that Sailo can cover a trip up to a million dollars. If you list your boat, an insurance provider will look into it. Captains have to upload their license.”
Klein was receptive to the idea, suggesting partnering with Active Captain and asking how she is going to scale the business. “We are looking forward to doing a lot of marketing…offering loyalty perks and more.”
Sailo is available in the tri-state area with plans to launch Florida in the Fall.
The other presenters were Hello Fang, Kidklass and CthruNutrition.