AoA Member Spotlight – Jim Reed

Jim Reed is an experienced C-level Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. He’s skilled in Equity Research, Asset Management, Equities, Capital Markets and Venture Capital. Strong business development professional with a BA focused in Political Science & Far Eastern Area Studies from Sophia University.

1. How did you get into angel investing? Jim-Reed-500x500

My first angel investment was in 1985. It was a successful investment but it took seven years to get an exit (8x). I didn’t like the return so I focused on the stock market. I retired as an investment banker in 2011 and had to reinvent myself. I became an active angel investor in 2012. To date I have made 80 angel investments including angel funds.

2. What types of companies or missions inspire you to invest in them?

I am industry agnostic. Anything that can make money I am interested in.

3. Is there anything you would advise new entrepreneurs to do when they pitch their idea?

My pet peeve is when a new entrepreneur says “to be honest.” I expect you to be honest. Do your homework. Know your audience. Check out linkedin if you are pitching to an individual. If you do not know the answer – don’t ad lib. We will see through your bull****. Just say, I don’t have the answer, but I will get it for you asap. Follow up. If you don’t reply within 24 hours I will drop you because you are wasting my time.

 4. What has made the biggest difference among your successful investments?

My personal due diligence. Most due diligence reports are 90% air and 10% substance. There are five criteria I base my investments on. 1) I must like the CEO 2) The business model must be easy to understand 3) How competitive is the space? 4) Do you have an active Board of Directors. 5) Is the Entrepreneur coachable? If I do not like the entrepreneur I will not invest. It could have the best product but I will walk away.

5. What is something interesting and unexpected that people would be surprised to learn about you?

Almost all of my angel investments are based on my gut feel. If I like a company during the pitch I would decide right there I will invest. I will make a verbal commitment. It will be between $25K ~ $50K. I have never reneged on a verbal commitment. Any amount larger requires due diligence.

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