A Little Ditty About Jack and Diane
New York Angels, a loose affiliation of angel investors that hear pitches and conduct diligence together, just announced that vice chairman Brian Cohen will take over as chairman. He replaces David Rose, founder of the group that has invested more than $45 million in the last ten years.
Mr. Cohen is heavily involved in running the organization’s small staff and coordinating the Angels’ monthly meetings. As chairman, he will “focus on making the New York Angels the hallmark mentor organization to the exploding startup community in New York City,” according to a press release. He also plans to expand the group’s presence outside of New York.
Pinterest, the only hockey-stick startup with the distinction of being embraced by women and Mormons, gets the full New York Times treatment today with a profile by Jenna Wortham, well-timed to the
clusterfuck hullabaloo currently underway in Austin. While other startups clamor over themselves to preach to the choir and woo early-adopters, Pinterest user base began in Des Moines, Iowa, where cofounder Ben Silbermann grew up.
While the startup’s hearting-the-heartland approach has caused “some headscratching” at SXSW, its also infected investors with a wicked case of envy. “It defies the mold that you have to build something for New York and San Francisco and then spread it out from there,” Chris Dixon, who is slated to interview Mr. Silbermann on stage tomorrow, told the Times, adding, “Everyone’s envious. I’m envious. I wish I was an investor. I wish I’d created the site.”
One investor who may be immune? New York Angels founder Brian Cohen, who also has the distinction of being Pinterest’s very first investor.
Betabeat moseyed up to Murat Aktihanoglu, the accented managing director of Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, after the program’s demo day this morning in a basement auditorium at NYU’s Stern School of Business. He had the overwhelmed, flushed face of a proud parent. “Oh, it was amazing,” he said, eyes widening. ERA put its ten startups through 1,500 meetings, he had calculated, and all the companies have users and 80 percent have revenue. One of them had just signed up 35 cities and two Dubai landmarks: the biggest mall in the world, which serves 47 million visitors, and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
A little over two months ago Betabeat weighed in on the state of NY Angels, a group that gained a lot of visibility and respect for backing tech projects during the dark years following the dot-com bust. Every so often a media outlet will cover a NY Angels event or interview one of their executives. The latest is from Xconomy, which is ramping up its coverage of the local tech scene.
Xconomy’s Arlene Weintraub sat down NY Angels vice chairman Brian Cohen. When we last spoke with Cohen, we asked why the group’s portfolio, which has its own page on the website, didn’t show any investments after 2009. “We are building a new website, so check back in 60 days,” Mr. Cohen told us.
Well, it’s been 100 days, and the site looks exactly the same.
Last week Adam Neary, founder of the startup Profitably, laid out the saga of finding funding for his company over the past year. In the post, he threw some digs at the venerable investing group, the New York Angels.
After 13 weeks and a commitment from one member to lead the round, Mr. Neary ended up with nothing when the investor missed his closing deadline. “No doubt, there are a handful of credibly amazing investors who attend their meetings, but from my perspective, clearly the New York Angels process is broken.”