Our Family Angel Funding Program

10/9/19 edit: VMware has acquired Carbon Black for $2.1 billion. So, we will increase the number of startups we will back.


After Carbon Black went public, Mrs. T. and I had some discussions. What should we do with my personal winnings (I co-led the first institutional round when it was called Bit9; details here and here)?

I’m excited to announce that our family will take all of those winnings and invest them in startups. We also will donate 100% of any gains to charities.

Why do this? First, we want to back entrepreneurs.

I have a low-income and immigrant background (more here). I am fortunate to have stumbled into the Innovation Economy. Giving back is the right thing to do.

Second, generating capital for our charities is massively motivating. We love Nomi Network, for example, and their work battling sex trafficking.

And, last, we like finding reasons for the family to work together. Many of our children now are adults, and I think it is good to show them how a piece of the Innovation Economy works.

Here is our current game plan:

  • Goal: Invest in 50 80 entrepreneurs over five eight years. Leverage capitalism for altruism
  • Turnaround time: We are fast. We nearly always make a decision after just one meeting
  • Our value-add: We know a lot of people and enjoy making connections. I’ve been a GP in venture capital for 20+ years
  • Current portfolio: Link here
  • Geography: USA
  • Security: Flexible. Either a note or equity is fine
  • Stage and sector: Flexible, as long as you’re doing something innovative
  • Board seats: None. I will be a passive investor
  • Setting terms: We won’t
  • Follow-on rounds: Unlikely. The goal is to help as many entrepreneurs as possible
  • Avoiding conflicts: There won’t be overlap with the Kepha funds. To make sure, Eric must OK every investment
  • Signaling risk: There won’t be. The Kepha funds already are fully committed
  • Best way to reach us: A warm intro via someone who can say with high conviction that they know and trust you
  • Process: To keep friction low for both sides, here are some questions. We prefer a single closing date or closing when you’ve circled upon a critical mass of capital

So, we view this as an experiment and one worth doing. Capital can help people do great things, regardless of their background, race, gender identity, education or social standing.

It’s why I’ve always loved VC. It can have social impact and be a force for good. It can be enabling and help good folks win.

6 thoughts on “Our Family Angel Funding Program

  1. Hi Jo,

    I am happy to hear about your angel investing pursuits. I met you several years ago when you advised John Bettinelli and I along with several others on SIGNUM which John continues to run. I currently have a self funded (thisclosetorevenue mvp) start up in app tech and exploring investment. I’d like the opportunity to brief you on it to see if there’s interest. I think it would be something you as a parent and your children would be interested in. Regards, Paul Goyette

  2. Hi Jo,

    Congrats on the announcement! Just tried filling out the form to get some material in front of you. Ran into two glitches when filling it out. Took two screenshots of the issues if you want them. Also not sure whether my form went through or not.

    Look forward to hearing back,

    Pat

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