In the Arms of an Angel

Are Party Rounds Turning the Tech Business Into a Lamer Studio 54?

Swap Ryan Philippe for @aplusk, of course. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Let’s face it: There’s a reason clubs will pay reality stars just to come hang out. People are more intrigued by a famous face. Silicon Valley might think itself above crass fame-whoring, but that doesn’t mean tech folk are immune to the siren song of social proof. Witness, for example, the rise of the so-called “party round.”

Today TechCrunch takes on the topic of these early-stage “family-style” rounds, where angel investors and VC firms pony up a bit of cash (often as a kind of option for later investments), but no one quite leads the pack. The process is compared to–what else?–high school: Read More

NYC VC

“NY Angels Should Grow a Set and Stop Playing it Safe”

Aaron Sylvan

This post is taken from a lengthy comment by local techie Aaron Sylvan on a recent Betabeat story on NY Angels. We felt the comment was in depth and deserved its own forum.

Boy am I gonna get chewed out for this one… I hope my comments are useful to someone, because I expect to be flamed for this commentary. Hopefully I don’t burn any bridges by presenting a somewhat unpopular view.

The NY Angels is a great group, but I agree that the business model around “Angel” investing has changed considerably. Read More

The Third Degree

Buddy Media’s Mike Lazerow on Perpetual Pivots and a Start-Up for Six-Toed Women

mike-lazerow-of-buddy-media

Mike Lazerow is an industry vet who managed to create profitable content sites in the dot-com era before transitioning into the social media age. First came University Wire, a sort of Associated Press for college newspapers, and then Golf.com which he sold to Time Warner in 2006. As the founder and CEO of Buddy Media, he runs the largest third party platform for marketing on Facebook, with eight out of the top ten global advertisers among his clients. In 2011 he launched Lazerow Ventures, a $10 million family partnership and co-investment fund and has quickly become one of the city’s most active and sought after angels.

You always remember the ones that got away. Tell us about the start-up you regret passing on the most.

Well I bought into Facebook pretty early, but looking back, I had the chance to get in much sooner. They were pre-revenue and the valuation seemed high, so I passed. Zynga is like that too. Mark Pincus is a board member of Buddy Media and was at the time he was founding Zynga. I could certainly have been more vocal, could have pushed harder, to be an early investor in that, but at the time I didn’t really see it. Veterans like Fred Wilson or Brad Feld, who can separate the signal from the noise, they looked at Zynga and saw a company with a proven founder entering a wide open space with a huge market. I saw an online poker app.  Read More