’22 Summer Update @ Koa Labs
It’s been a great 7+ months @ Koa as we’ve written our last checks for Fund 2 which consists of $7.5M+ invested in 40 fantastic startups & mission driven entrepreneurs. We’ve increased our commitment to investing indirectly in startups through other “affiliate” funds — we now have committed approximately $5M to more than a dozen early stage institutional funds.
You can see our portfolio of companies as well as affiliate funds here.
As a reminder — our investment focus at Koa has been :
- First time founders with technical/scientific background
- Our founders usually represent an underserved community — women, immigrants, founders of color…
- Our average check size is ≈ $150K
- We never invest alone — always with another seed fund and usually with one of our affiliate seed funds and more often than not Founder Collective.
- We generally focus on HealthTech/MedTech/eHealth — but also invest in other areas — especially those related to AI, Data and Software Engineering
- Most of our investments are in Cambridge/Boston but occasionally in New York, Austin, Bay Area, Portland ME & Seattle.
The affiliate funds in which we invest share a mix of these same interests.
The highlight of 1H 2022 at Koa for me was the opportunity to work with Yordana Gerdzhikova — truly an exceptional young woman. Yordana’s background is incredible — originally from Bulgaria she studied at Oxford/UK and most recently @ Bowdoin — she already has so many amazing life experiences. Yordana did it all @ Koa this past summer — from evaluating potential investments to helping existing companies to writing blog posts and modeling all kinds of investments. Most importantly, her attitude was truly entrepreneurial — outcome focused and succinct in her communications she was always fun to work with. I truly hope that I have the opportunity to work directly with Yordana again in the near future. I know that she is capable of accomplishing anything to which she puts her mind.
I’m also incredibly proud of Harrison Pellerin who has been my partner @ Koa for the past 2+ years. Harry made it possible for me to focus on my real job @ Tamr while he ensured that Koa continued to function effectively. Harry recently joined one of our new portfolio companies that is still in stealth mode. Not only has Harry done a fantastic job over the past 2+ years — cleaning up many of my mistakes and creating tremendous value our portfolio but he is truly one of the good guys — his values, his interpersonal style and his great sense of humor are core ingredients that make him a pleasure to work with. Harry is truly a superstar.
Back-filling for Harry (as if that’s possible) I’m excited to welcome our newest addition to the Koa crew — Laura Sceppa. Laura is a great fit for the next phase of Koa — with an incredible eye for detail — she’s having a huge impact on the disciplined management of our portfolio going forward. Laura came to us via one of the Founders we LOVE — Anna Mongayt Counselman — as usual — the best people usually come from with in the network and Laura is no exception. Anna — I owe you big time — again :)
A few more thoughts as the summer ends:
As I wrote in a previous post about investment meetings, the key KPIs that matter for founders are time to decision, and dollars invested per hour of interaction. When you’re building a company from the ground up, time is king. While many investors continue to take meetings even if they are not actively writing checks, I believe that the right thing to do for founders is to be up front and direct. With that in mind, I am not currently directly writing new checks into startups, but rather I am focused on investing indirectly through our affiliate funds — primarily Founder Collective.
I continue to measure my long term professional success in terms of the number of entrepreneurs who I’ve helped start on their entrepreneurial journey as they build their companies. I am especially enthusiastic about the number of entrepreneurs that we have backed/sponsored who are from traditionally under-served communities (now over 40+).
We truly believe that some of the best companies are started during difficult times, and this last year is no exception. Founders who start companies during unclear economic times are more likely to be mission driven and capital efficiency is often baked into the company’s DNA. Capital efficiency is something that I value deeply and one of the many things that aligns me with my trusted colleagues at Founder Collective — reference here.
As always, when not busy at Tamr, I am happy to meet at Henrietta’s with talented founders looking for feedback or networking, but if you’re looking to fill out a round, first and foremost consider our amazing affiliate funds — especially Founder Collective.