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.
We’re seeking out and investing in these companies.
- IoT (Internet of Things)
- Ubiquous embedded sensors
- ML/AI (Machine Learning)
- 5G (fast wireless internet )
- Battery technology (large and small)
- Material science innovations
- Ag-tech (Agriculture)
- Space Tech
- Autonomous Vehicles
- Clean-Tech (water/power)
Early-stage start-ups that are creating or using emerging technologies to provide better solutions that were previously not possible. Our goal is to provide funding to these already proven but budding “venture back-able” start-ups so they can scale and reach the milestones to raise a large venture funding round a significantly higher valuation within 12/24 months.
We are primarily focused on early-stage (pre-seed and seed fundraising) companies with “real” products and some form of traction. In most cases, have actual revenue (paid pilots, live Beta, etc.). We are not looking to fund ideas or moonshots. That is the role of University Labs, Federally Funded Research Programs, Grants, Non-Profit Labs, Incubators, and other programs and funds.
Our “Goldilocks” company is one with a team of extremely bright and mission-driven founders, who have executed incredibly fast on building an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) and have recruited high-value early customers who love the product.
Early-stage start-ups that are creating or using emerging technologies to provide better solutions that were previously not possible. The “Early” stage is not R&D or the “idea” stage, but companies with “real” products and some form of traction. In most cases, they have actual revenue, and therefore, have proven “product/market fit.” We are not looking to fund ideas or moonshots from this fund. That’s the role of Non-Profit Labs, Incubators, and other programs and funds.
“Ideas are cheap, and all founders are smart” is my favorite saying, and it is indeed the reality, as I see it. It all comes down to execution.
DIVERSIFIED PORTFOLIO OF EARLY STAGE EMERGING TECH STARTUPS
This fund targets to invest in approximately 25 companies over the course of 18-24 months. The 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 that company is raising $500k-$3MM, and there are solid commitments from other VC firms and angel investors with whom we are co-investing.
These investments are either prices preferred shares, or a convertible debt instrument designed to convert at the next priced round at a discount.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TECH STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
Southern California’s start-up ecosystem is booming. While there are more and more funds focusing on early stage investing in Southern California, many are chasing social, entertain- ment, enterprise, or consumer brands, which are mainly concentrated in the “Silicon Beach” area (i.e. Santa Monica, Venice)
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.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR
- We look for teams of smart, gritty founders. Ideally a 2-3 co-founder team consisting of a technical co-founder partnered with a savvy business co-founder, and a strong marketing/sales co-founder.
- They should be using the convergence of emerging technologies to solve problems in a clean simple way which is only now possible using the new tech.
- In some cases they are investing new tech. In most cases there is novel application of new tech to old problems.
- We particularly like businesses with recurring revenue, whether SAAS models, or licensing.
- We also like those companies that have had significant non-dilutive funding (i.e. grants), assuming they have used that money efficientlyand can now show traction or ability to commercialize.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR
- Early stage start-ups creating or using emerging technologies to provide better solutions which were previously not possible.
- “Early Stage” is not R&D or “idea” stage, but solid companied with “real” product and some form of traction. In most cases they have actual revenue, and therefore, have proven “product/market fit”.
- We are not looking to fund ideas or moonshots from this fund. That’s the role of non-profit labs, incubators, and other programs and fund.
- “Ideas ore cheep and all founders are smart.” is my favorite saying, and is truly the reality, as I see it. It all comes down to execution.
- Ourgoal is to provide funding to these already proven but budding “venture back-able” start-ups so they can scale and each the milestones to raise a large venture funding round at significantly higher valuation within 12-24 months.
Emerging Teich fields
Current Emerging Technologies include (but are not limited to) the fields of:
- Ag-tech (agriculture)
- Icy (Internet of Things)
- Autonomous vehicle tech
- Al/ML (Machine Learning)
- YR/AR (Virtual and Augmented reality)
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.
Current fund portfolio companies.
An electric vehicle (EV) charging software platform that manages all EV charging operations for property managers in a way that makes the chargers profitable instead of a cost center. Smart, gritty, and fast-moving co-founders. Significant IP including patents on proprietary algorithms. In the LACI (Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator) program and has multiple active paying customers
Genecis patented technologies convert food waste into biodegradable plastics and other high value materials. Amazing smart Canadian team. Total full time team of 15, including several PhD’s. Co-invested in competitive seed-round. Founded in 2017, now on second, much larger Pilot and with $55MM in LOI’s, the deal is much de-risked, and a great valuation.
The Iowa-based startup developed SmartGuard, a farrowing platform for swine houses that monitors all things pregnancy and piglet related. The company’s technology is designed to monitor and analyze data around sow health and to identify any signs that trouble is brewing with her impending brood. This could be anything from a flux in temperature to signs that labor is imminent.
Open Platform Video Surveillance And Cybersecurity Products. Opportunity to invest at a very reasonable valuation into a later stage (series C preferred shares) of a more mature technology company with top tier corporate and government clients. Company has gone thorugh some recent restructuring and is raising a round to enable the next stage of growth
Real-time surface monitoring, machine learning, and AI for process optimization of membrane-based water treatment (for large industrial and municipal water treatment plants). Proprietary technology developed at UCLA. Highly experienced executive team. Great testimonials from large municipal clients. SAAS model (recurring revenue on 1-3 year contracts) $500k in 2019 revenue, solid pipeline projecting $3.5MM in 2020 revenue.
World’s first unmanned warehouse inventory drones. GP co-invested with another angel investor a small amount in late 2018 in the seed round. Company has made tremendous progress, and is preparing for a large series-A later in the year. To accelerate growth, they are raising a seed-extension at this time. The valuation is just slightly above the 2018 seed round, despite the progress which de-risks the investment, and has favorable conversion terms into the next priced round.
The first and only Cargo Drone built on AI. Operate in places that are hard to reach Danger to people Costly transportation High-volume logistics needs Fully functional, fully autonomous, contract with US air force and major corporations, over $1MM in revenue. Opportunity to invest in small round prior to larger A-round planned for later this year, at steep discount and favorable terms.
Aptivio Intelligent Market Monitor for Sales creates a simple dynamic digital sales playbook from billions of buying signals. Maximizing CRM investment, we provide the missing link that fuels efficient growth.
Saasuma lets you search across your clouds and devices from a single search box on web, mobile and desktop app.
Process Bots for the CFO organization Opportunity to invest in early round at very attractive initial valuation of a startup which is gaining amazing traction with enterprise clients in a competitive space of process automation. World-class founding team and product, as evidenced by the initial traction. Tremendous potential to grow to a very large company really fast. This one could be a “rocket ship”!
“One platform for all your online orders” The Your Fare platform helps manage all 3rd party delivery services. Integrates all the orders into one simple user friendly platform. Mr. Mandel invested in prior round. Company was preparing to raise a larger series A later this year, however due to COVID-19 and the lockdown, sales pipeline overflowed and they decided to raise a quick and aggressively priced bridge round to hire sales and implementation staff to deal with the demand surge. We took the opportunity to participate.
A platform for next-gen mobile games, Artie’s technology serves high-quality, Unity-made games from the cloud and them as the edge on players’ phones inside of apps like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Top-flight mobile games can now circumvent app stores and their 30% fees and be delivered directly to consumers where they naturally discover content. Our platform enables optional next-gen gameplay features – voice, texting, and camera input – to drive deeper emotional engagement than ever before and to blur the lines between players and games. Our team includes AI scientists, engineers, and interactive storytellers from Activision/Blizzard, Infinity Ward, Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Snap, Mozilla, and Facebook. Early Investors (including Emerging Ventures) include Scooter Braun’s Raised in Space, WnderCo, Founders Fund, Warner Music Group, Shrug Capital, Chad Hurley, Cyan Bannister, and executives from Twitter, Amazon, and Square.
Authenticate offers a unified authentication experience for enterprises by providing a complete all-inclusive solution. Our products include a smart door reader, a smartphone app, security software, and an administrative portal. Local So-Cal distributed team, base on eight years of post-doc work including research at the MIT Lincoln labs, by Ph.D. founder, Chad Spensky, as an expert on Smart-Phone based computer security. He holds patents for the underlying tech he developer, and them builts to commercialize the product.
At YBVR, we deliver where it matters! We provide premium quality CR 360 video streams of your LIVE events in REAL-TIME over any bandwidth! We invested in a bridge round along-side Verizon ventures. They have contracts in place with NBA teams, The Australian Open, and others. While YBVR officially lists itself as a “Silicon Valley” business, the team is actually in Spain, with significantly lower labor costs, and has made extraordinary progress on a much tighter budget than many other A/R and V/R startups, which have raised and burned significantly more money from investors to accomplish less.
Homebound is the first homebuilder to overhaul the building process and create a new experience that is designed entirely around the customer. We personally advocate for our homeowners at every step of the process, bringing together everything you’ll need to build under one roof and leveraging modern technology to make building a custom home dramatically simpler, more transparent, and human.
Get in touch
For Start Ups
Our fund is actively investing in early-stage Emerging Tech startups.
If you are a co-founder of 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.
Verticals we invest in include but are not limited to:
- Ag-tech (agriculture)
- IoT (Internet of Things/ sensors)
- Autonomous vehicle tech
- AI/ML (Machine Learning)
- VR/AR (Virtual and Augmented reality)
As former operators, we are always founder-friendly, respectful, and responsive.
You may use the inquiry form to submit your current pitch deck for review and consideration.
You will receive an email reply within a few days and a possible request for a follow-up call/meeting.