About JKNews

Jason E. Klein is an experienced media CEO and builder of digital and traditional businesses who has led two successful turnarounds. He is founder and CEO of On Grid Ventures, an advisory and investment firm in digital media, marketing, and information; a member of New York Angels and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels; and a mentor at several NYC-area “incubators.”

Crash! NYC Angel/Seed Funding Down 25% in 2017

2017 was a down year for angel/seed funding in NYC!  Despite the continued growth in NYC’s startup ecosystem, particularly from eager first-time entrepreneurs, the number of seed deal funded in 2017 declined to 235 from 328 in 2016, a decline of 28%, according to AlleyWatch.







Seed stage funding in NYC declined to $361 million in 2017, from $483 million in 2016, a decline of 25%.

While the data from other markets has not been assembled, I don’t expect NYC is an outlier:  2017 was the year of me-too startups, with companies piling on and overhyping areas like AI and Big Data.  Investors saw through the clutter to be more selective in 2017.  Median round size increased to $1.25 million, up 25% from $1 million, a sign that investors were more confident concentrating more money in fewer deals.

23 New Geo Big Data Sets for Smart Cities

The universe of geographically-tagged big data is growing exponentially.  From Brookings, here are 23 public and private sectors generating data 24/7 across the globe.  The possibilities are vast.

Top 15 New York-Based Venture Capital-Backed Exits 2012 – 2017

The Top 15 New York-Based Venture Capital-Backed Exits 2012 – 2017

As the NY early stage and VC community grow, so do the number of larger exits.  From CB Insights, here are the top 17 NY VC-backed exits for the past five years, with Yext at number five with its April 13, 2017, IPO.



The 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Presenting to Angel Investors

By Anthony Gellert

Pitching to investors is scary, and your deck isn’t the only thing that will make or break your pitch. Getting an angel investment can be the difference between your company failing and getting the money it needs to become a big success. Presenting to investors is, obviously, the make it or break it moment for you and your company. That’s a lot of pressure. But don’t worry! Here are the 6 do’s and 6 don’ts that will make sure you make the most out of your precious seconds in front of the people that can make your business explode.

6 Do’s

1. Pick your angels carefully

You need money, of course, and the thought of limiting your pitches to certain angels probably seems counter-intuitive. However, you don’t have unlimited time. In addition to fundraising, you are still running a business and you can’t afford to miss a step. After all, part of the value of your new company is its head start on the competition, and you don’t want to lose that head start by wasting your time on angel pitches that won’t get you any money.

choose angel investor nyc article

Your biggest risk with picking the wrong angel targets is a lengthy due diligence process with only a small amount of money at the end of the rainbow. That is why angel clubs offer a better alternative. You pitch once to a large audience. You answer each question once. And, if all goes well, multiple cheques come in. That’s the type of efficiency that you want.

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2. Make sure the product/site works

Embarrassing moments regarding the quality of a product or website has happened more than you might think. The product has even failed directly in front of our audience. Please don’t pitch until the product works. You will make the most out of your pitch if your product is fully functional and can impress us.

angel investor

If your product is internet-based, make sure that your website is running. If it’s a travel site for example, we’re all going to boot up your site and type in “New York City” while we watch your pitch. Make sure the results make sense and support the image that you’re painting in your presentation. Giving a strong impression of you and your company will greatly improve your chances of getting an investment.


3. Start with the pain point

The pain point that your business is solving is the most important thing for us to know, because it shows us that you understand that people want what your business has to offer, and you’re not grasping at straws.

“We have developed a platform to commoditize the aggregate on demand car service capacity of any given city by geolocated ten block regions.”

Bad. We see a lot of pitches and digest a lot of buzz words. Keep it simple! This sentence tells me nothing outside of you memorizing the buzz words that you want associated with your business.

“Don’t you hate when you can’t get a cab right when you really, really need one? Our app solves this problem.”

Good! This tells me exactly what your app is trying to do and what pain point it’s trying to solve, because most people have had exactly that problem. By starting with the pain point that you’re solving, the rest of your pitch will follow one cohesive message, and we will better understand your business.


4. Practice setting up your equipment

I am a member of two of the most active angel groups in New York City, HBS Angels of Greater New York and NY Angels. In both cases, for our entrepreneur meetings, we borrow a conference room from a law firm (big thanks to each of them). The IT support is uncertain since we are not a paying tenant and we are there after hours in some cases.

Plugging In Hdmi Cable To Laptop

Wherever you pitch, make sure you have all the different cords and dongles that you could possibly need to connect your computer to a TV monitor. Your chances of getting an investment once your presentation looks unprofessional to the investors is very low. If we all have to crowd around a laptop to see your presentation, it’s over.


5. Leave a lot of time for questions

Every angel has their own opinion as to the key qualities or key issues that define whether or not you and your business are a good investment. Such, you should expect that the question and answer sessions with the angel groups will go on longer than you may think, while each angel follows their own favorite line of questioning. It will take time and occasionally feel redundant, but leaving enough time and answering each series of questions will broaden your potential horizons and give you the best chance of getting an investment from an angel investor.

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6. Solidify a long term plan

I know that you are focused on a ton of near term issues (like keeping the lights on), but take a little time before your angel pitches to map out your future, beyond just the hockey stick revenue projections. What products or features or upgrades get rolled out, and when? Which hires are proactive (needed before some big fund raise or rollout) and reactive (likely come after some big fund raise or revenue milestone)?

long term plan

We ask because rolling everything out and hiring everyone now is fiscal suicide and growing organically off of only your net income will take forever. Showing a long term plan demonstrates to the angel investors that your business has long term growth potential and that you will spend their money wisely.

6 Don’ts

1. Don’t treat us like a nuisance

Yes, we take up your time, ask follow up questions, ask for information that isn’t already included in your prepared information packet. Yes, it’s time consuming. I know. But others down the line will likely ask for the same information. And a great angel, once they invest in you, can advise you, introduce you to VCs, and help you grow. An angel investor can be the turning point in your business.

angel investor

But you will never get an angel investment in the first place if you treat angels like nuisances! A mix of respect for the investors and passion for your business is the ideal combination, but one without the other and that angel investment will never come.


2. Don’t lead with the org chart

We’ve all heard it. “I invest in the jockey, not the horse.” But that’s bunk. Ron Turcotte couldn’t have ridden my neighbor’s horse, Pocco, to the Triple Crown. Secretariat had major a role. After all, it’s the jockey that lifts the trophy, but the horse that won it. Your business is more important than the people behind it, and we want to know about it first.

angel investor presentation org chart advice nyc

The resume of you and your team is important and should of course be included in your presentation, but it should not be the first slide. Prior stints at Apple or Google or Amazon are certainly impressive. We’re looking for experienced management, since the future is always rocky and uncertain no matter how good the idea. But, your business model matters more, and it should be your opener.


3. No S.A.F.E. notes

I can only speak for the two angel clubs in which I am a member, but S.A.F.E. Notes are a non­starter. So much so, that the moment they are mentioned in a presentation, the whole room starts ranting at the entrepreneur and stops listening to the presentation. Yes, really. I see it all the time.


4. Don’t puff your resume

We’re already taking a leap of faith in you. This is not a Goldman Sachs interview. Pedigree is not our first priority. We care far more about your business, your business model, and your future plans for the business should you get an investment. As I’ve mentioned before, having a good jockey is nice, but it’s the horse that wins the race.

angel investor pitch advice nyc

Exaggerating your credentials is not a way to stand out. It’s lying. Great angel clubs do their homework and they will likely find out. Don’t ruin your chances by cutting corners and being dishonest.


5. Don’t embed a video into your presentation

It never works. Maybe it’s the WiFi in our conference room. Maybe it’s the communal computer we make you use. Maybe it Murphy’s Law. But waiting for a blank slide to load and then watching it crash makes you look low tech, even if the slideshow went off without a hitch a hundred times before.

video powerpoint

The worst part is it’s not your fault, but think twice before embedding video into a presentation. The potential advantages it gives you in terms of illustrating what your company does doesn’t outweigh the disadvantage you put yourself at if your slideshow crashes. After all, we’d much rather hear you say what the video would than the video say it. You’re the person I’m investing in, not the people who are in the video.


6. Don’t give up on an angel group

A rejection by an angel investor or group of investors is not final. It just means that at the current iteration of the company, it’s not an investment fit for us. If you end up finding other angels to invest, great. They saw something we didn’t. Agree to disagree. But if you end up pivoting significantly, you should revisit all the angels that rejected you in the past.

angel investment

Burning bridges is never a good strategy when it comes to investors. Don’t take a rejection by an angel group to be a statement on you as a businessperson. In fact, they could like you a lot but think that an investment in your venture would be unwise at the moment.

Read this article for a look at what could become the next Bitcoin.


Keep these tips in mind as you look to bring on angel investment for your business, and you could be well on your way.

Contributed By

Anthony Gellert, Harvard College AB ’91, Harvard Business School MBA ’97 – Treasurer of HBS Alumni Angels of Greater New York

Anthony is the President and Founder of Livingston Capital Management, an investment partnership based in New York City. Prior to his founding of Livingston Capital, he covered healthcare services and industrial services at Cobalt Capital Management and before that was an analyst at Kingdon Capital Management. Anthony has participated in 13 angel investments over the past year.

GeoDisrupting Commerce: IoT, Beacons, Robots

GeoDisrupting Commerce: Iot, Beacons, Robots



These are the top companies bridging the physical and digital worlds, based on CB Insights.

Company Chart

Retail IoT Company List
Company Category Select Investors
Hiku At-Home Shopping Buttons Otter Rock Capital, Plug and Play Accelerator, Firsthand Technology Value Fund
Kwik At-Home Shopping Buttons Norwest Venture Partners, NFX Guild
Crowder Beacon Analytics And Marketing Wearable IoT World Labs
Estimote Beacon Analytics And Marketing Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors
Footmarks Beacon Analytics And Marketing Commerce.Innovated
Freedom Smart Labs Beacon Analytics And Marketing Kapil Goel
Kimetric Beacon Analytics And Marketing Microsoft Ventures Accelerator
Minodes Beacon Analytics And Marketing MarketTech
Monolith Beacon Analytics And Marketing Startup Wise Guys
Movvo Beacon Analytics And Marketing Caixa Capital
Proxidyne Beacon Analytics And Marketing Undisclosed
Radius Networks Beacon Analytics And Marketing Core Capital Partners, Contour Venture Partners
Resun8 Beacon Analytics And Marketing Undisclosed
Sensorberg Beacon Analytics And Marketing WestTech Ventures, Berlin Technologie Holdings
Swirl Networks Beacon Analytics And Marketing Twitter Ventures, Longworth Venture Partners, Softbank Capital
Euclid Analytics Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Harrison Metal, NEA, Benchmark
Innorange Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Undisclosed
Measurence Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Undisclosed
RetailNext Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics August Capital, Commerce Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, StarVest Partners
Scanalytics Inc. Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Wearable IoT World Labs
Tamecco Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Yume no Machi SoZo Iinkai
Torch Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Target Accelerator Program
VideoMining Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Viewsy Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Qualcomm Ventures, Kima Ventures
Walkbase Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics SBT Venture Capital
Aislelabs Beacon-Based Marketing Salesforce Ventures, Rho Ventures
Beabloo Beacon-Based Marketing Baozun
Bfonics Beacon-Based Marketing Undisclosed
Blue Bite Beacon-Based Marketing Undisclosed
ConnectQuest (CQ) Beacon-Based Marketing Undisclosed
Ebizu Beacon-Based Marketing Cradle Fund
Ifinity Beacon-Based Marketing SpeedUp Venture Capital Group
Shelfbucks Beacon-Based Marketing Capital Factory
Aisle411 Indoor Mapping Cultivian Ventures, St. Louis Arch Angels
Cartogram Indoor Mapping Undisclosed
Indoora Indoor Mapping Startupbootcamp Smart Transportation & Energy
Cosy Inventory Tracking 500 Accelerator
QueueHop Inventory Tracking Y Combinator
Carttronics Loss Prevention Undisclosed
Gatekeeper Systems Loss Prevention Undisclosed
Fellow Robots Service Robots HAX, Crowdfunder
Simbe Robotics Service Robots HAX
Oak Labs Smart Dressing Rooms Wing Venture Capital, R/GA Accelerator


Use the NYC #6 Subway to Convert Fahrenheit to Celsius

Yes, you can do it.  Each stop on the 6 train converts to a round 5 degree temperature in Celsius.  Mostly, at least.  86th Street:  86°F = 30°C.  And on down after that, with 14th Street 14F = -10C.



28th Street?  Just ignore it.

Coast Guard Plans To Block Hudson River Between Haverstraw and Montrose

The Coast Guard has outlined 10 anchorages for hazardous barges on the Hudson River which will disrupt river traffic, including sailors and other recreational vessels.  The Montrose site, shown here, will cover 127 acres of open water, and will impede boating at Stony Point and Haverstraw.Montrose

The Coast Guard is asking for public feedback on the plan by September 7.  The full list of anchorages is here.

Opponents to the plan include Dutchess County, which says the anchorages increase risks for oil spills and pollution, and spoil the river’s natural beauty. Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano says the proposal “will lead to the re-industrialization of our pristine Hudson riverfront.”

These anchorages do not belong on the scenic Hudson River.  Please contact Craig Lapiejklo of the Coast Guard First District (Craig.d.lapiejko@uscg.mil) and your local elected officials to express your concern.

For updates, follow @JKNews.

The Knowledge LUMAscape

LUMA Partners debuts a useful map of the knowledge players in the digital world.  A helpful guide surely to be updated.2016-4-15-Knowledge-LUMAscape_v3


What I Look for in an Entrepreneur

scott_cookThere are books and research studies on the qualities of successful entrepreneurs. After you are done reading them, or if you are time pinched, here is my short list on the qualities I look for in an entrepreneur.  And the picture on the right is one entrepreneur I admire who embodied most, if not all, of these qualities when he started his company.

  • Uncanny drive in a clear direction. Conviction.
  • An entrepreneur is by definition comfortable with risk; but the best ones seek to minimize risk
  • Complete integrity.  His/her past decisions and actions should be evidence of this.
  • Knows his/her companies secret sauce and guards it, grows it.
  • Manages leanly.  Avoids waste.  Manages time and money well.
  • Builds and inspires his/her village: employees, investors, advisors
  • Of course all the usual qualities of successful business people are important
    • Intelligence
    • Decision making skills
    • Time management
    • Organization
    • Leadership
    • Motivating and managing people
    • Education (of note, First Round reviewed their 10 year history, and found that their portfolio companies with one or more founders with a degree from an Ivy League School, Stanford, MIT, or Caltech, performed 220% better than other teams).
 Red flags
  • A cavalier attitude to failure. Failure has no value and is the worst outcome for investors.
  • A lack of relevant experience and skills, especially without a “village” to compensate.

NYC Startup Studio Looking for HBS Alumni Founders

HBSA LogoHarvard Business School is launching the permanent location of its new Startup Studio in NYC on April 1, 2016. This is an amazing opportunity for HBS alumni founders and their teams to join the inaugural group of companies to use the space. Occupancy will be available on April 1, 2016.

The Startup Studio is located in Union Square at 33 Irving Place.

Startup Studio teams will enjoy a host of amenities, including:

  • Subsidized space for teams (1-7 desks per team) at a cost of $400 per desk.
  • Collaboration and community building with other HBS alumni founders in NYC.
  • Access to HBS-only programs and events for founders, investors, and other entrepreneurial-focused HBS alumni.

The deadline to apply is March 15th, but mention this post and you might have another week!  Apply here.