TechU Angels 2017 Investment Thesis

In annual tradition, I am sharing our investment thesis for 2017. I find the process of articulating our thesis allows us to envision the opportunities we find most compelling, and also to communicate in a transparent manner our goals and objectives to entrepreneurs before they reach out so they can assess fit.

Thesis: We invest in hard tech startups led by exceptional founders that solve real problems in key markets.

What it means in more detail:

  • Hard tech – the following TechCrunch article (from Nov 2016) does a great job of explaining hard tech. This has been our focus since we launched and we’ve been doing it way before it became popular. Just look at our portfolio companies if you would like some good examples. I would also add that we typically look to see if your technology incorporates some type of ‘secret sauce.’ What do you know that others don’t and what makes your technology novel and difficult to replicate by others?
  • Exceptional founders – we back folks with visionary leadership tendencies, strong technical expertise, and with an innate ability to attract world class talent to their team. Additionally, they are effective communicators, with high integrity, and culture oriented. We invest in people we like (and who are liked by others) and those who value teamwork and camaraderie.
  • Solve real problems in key markets – your startup needs to be solving a problem that other people or companies are having a hard time grappling with. You need to do it better, faster, and more efficiently than existing solutions and the target market needs to be compelling.

In terms of stage, we have primarily focused on investing at the seed and angel stage which is our sweet spot — although from time-to-time we will consider series A opportunities we find enticing because we really like the founders, feel we can help them in a unique way, or find the opportunity too compelling to pass up.

Some themes that we find exciting in 2017, include (non comprehensive list):

  1. Automation – robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision
  2. Personal healthcare personalized medicine, supplements, and beauty care
  3. Wearables – performance gear and sensor integrated “smart” clothing and devices
  4. Education – personalized, affordable, scalable education for the masses
  5. IoT – internet connected devices and tools
  6. Financial services -generally openminded about this space
  7. Space technologies – generally openminded about this space
  8. Food tech – tech-enabled synthetic or natural foods which are healthier, more sustainable, and can be mass produced

If you would like to reach out to get the conversation going, I suggest first exploring your network to find common connections who can make a personal introduction. Another viable option is to reach out using our online form: I personally check each submission daily and circle back promptly to provide our assessment about potential next steps.

I’m always happy to receive feedback or learn from others. If there is something you think we missed or can articulate better please let me know. Also feel free to reach out with any questions or any other suggestions.

Back to work!