Passionate about the future of technology?
Our Investment Philosophy
We’re living in an amazing time of rapid change.
As in several prior pivotal times in history, the convergence of new technologies are allowing innovators to introduce novel, yet simple to use solutions to age old real-world problems across all industries. New tech, or combinations or new tech allow for improvement in almost any and all aspects of life and business, large and small.
We’re seeking out and investing in these companies, as well as those which are inventing the next generation of new technologies.
80/20 split: We are targeting an approximate 80% companies using current tech to solve/improve existing problems or processes, vs 20% invention of the next generation of new technologies (i.e. true deep tech).
Diversified, carefully curated portfolio with one check
Emerging Ventures Fund 1 made 26 investments in approx. 18 months, and is closed.
Fund 2 is live as of 4/1/2021, and targets to invest in 60 -75+ companies during the 3-year investment period. Median check-size is targeted at $150k, with most, in the $100k-$250k range. Typically investing into pre-seed, seed, or seed+, and Series-A rounds where the company is raising $500k-$3MM+, and there are solid commitments from other VC firms and angel investors with whom we are co-investing. Focus on Southern CA, however we have deal flow from, and have funded companies throughout the US, Canada, and Israel. Over 50% of Fund 1’s portfolio are outside of CA.
We invest into startups which we believe are “venture back-able”. Where we see strong possibility of them raising a large institutional venture backed round in 12-24 months at a significantly higher valuation.
“Ideas are cheap and all founders are smart.” is my one profound take-away from seeing thousands of startup pitches. As I see it, It all comes down to execution.
Another quote attributed to a famous leader, which I whole-heartedly agree with and is one of my guiding lights in startup funding selection is: “I’d take an “A” team with a “B” strategy anyway over a “B” team with an “A” strategy”. Most startups will pivot several times before they figure it out. I’m much less concerned with the current business model than the team, their process, and the way they operate and think.
“Early-stage” is not R&D or “idea” stage, but solid companies with “real” product and some form of traction. In most cases they have actual revenue, and therefore, have proven “product/market fit”.
Our goal is to provide funding to budding “venture back-able” start-ups so they can scale and reach the milestones to raise a large venture funding round at significantly higher valuation within 12-24 months.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TECH STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
There are more university (and non-university sponsored) research labs, start-up accelerators and incubators in Southern California than there are in Northern California, and likely more than any other region in the US, but they garner much less attention than their counterparts in the north, particularly in deep/emerging tech.
By focusing time and attention on the Southern California programs, monitoring the research, and talking to the members of each cohort of program companies, we maintain a pipeline of prospective start-ups, into which we can invest at the right time – once they show some traction and have a solid business plan with product.
Prior to his current career in venture capital, Mr. Mandel built, operated and exited 4 different successful businesses in the Insurance and Finance industries over a 28-year period.
Much of the success of these businesses is attributed to his logical systems thinking, aided by his technical training and advanced Mathematics and Computer Science education, which he used to create and evolve unique perspective and, and models for underwriting, pricing, risk selection, etc., while always taking a fresh outsider’s approach to each venture.
While Mr. Mandel has been a life-long investor, starting in 2014 he took a strong interest in the technology start-up ecosystem, and is now applying his thinking to this endeavor.
Mr. Mandel is a very active angel investor. To date, he has invested in over 500 early-stage technology start-ups. He is an active member of several prominent angels groups, a frequent judge and panelist at start-up pitch events, and is considered a thought leader. Follow Mr. Mandel’s Blog at DavidMandel.Blog and on Social Media.
Mr. Cole is a 30-year financial services industry veteran with extensive experience in investment banking, capital markets, and investment management.
After founding the investment banking firm FalconBridge Capital Markets, LLC in 2005, Bennett oversaw the organization’s activities for more than 15 years and guided it to several top national rankings in its sectors of expertise. Previously, he held leadership positions and sat on management committees at CSG Investments, Inc. (an $8 billion AUM investment management company), Raymond James & Associates, Wells Fargo Securities, and Bank of America Securities.
As a technology investor, Mr. Cole has been involved in myriad start-up investments and acted as a limited partner in several venture capital and private equity funds over the past decade. In addition, Bennett serves as an advisor to technology-focused angel funds and seed-stage investment clubs.
Mr. Cole is a graduate of the Kenan Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BS) and the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University (MBA).
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For Start Ups
Our funds are actively investing in early-stage Emerging Tech startups based in the USA, Canada and Israel.
We do not currently invest in any other geographies.
Note – we do NOT invest in ideas! We invest in “real companies” with at least an MVP and some solid initial traction.
Please do not submit ideas or projects.
We are looking for technical teams using the convergence of current cutting edge technologies to solve real-world problems, or improve business processes, as well as some deep tech – those inventing the next-generation of emerging technologies.
See our portfolio companies page for examples of what we have funded in the past.
If you are represent an innovative startup creating or using emerging technologies to solve real-world problems, have an MVP, and some solid initial traction, then you may be a fit for our portfolio, and we’d love the opportunity to review.
As former operators, we are always founder-friendly, respectful, and responsive.
Please submit your full pitch deck for review.
You will receive an email reply within a few days and a possible request for a follow-up call/meeting.