The TAF

10 Years of Early-stage Investing

About Us
Since 1997, The Angels’ Forum (TAF) has been investing in, mentoring and advising Silicon Valley startups from the seed stage all the way through a meaningful exit. We are a diverse group of 25 high net worth private investors, all of whom have been CEO’s, founders or senior executives of successful entrepreneurial ventures.  We have the capital, time, experience, skills and passion to work with other entrepreneurs to build disruptive companies.
 
Investment Focus
Our focus is on seed and early stage companies in a wide range of industry sectors (see below).  We limit our investments to companies headquartered within 50 miles of Mountain View, CA. In the earliest, most fragile stages of a venture, proximity is important.  As a result, our resources are close by when entrepreneurs need them most.

Life Sciences
We evaluate and invest in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and therapeutics. We understand the challenges associated with developing these businesses and have the expertise to improve the chances of success.

Technology
We consider both enterprise and consumer products in the SaaS, mobile, IT and internet spaces. In addition we are also interested in evaluating new capital efficient clean technologies.

Consumer Products
We are unique in that we invest in consumer product companies. From a children's clothing company to a chain of organic restauraunts, we focus on capital efficient companies that are worthy of acquisition or IPO.
 
Investment Guidelines
1. Management: Thou shalt invest in good management that demonstrates an ability to execute the business plan rapidly, provide sound cash management, raise additional cash, lead the organization, and adjust the business plan when necessary. Thou shalt seek leaders with industry expertise who are driven and charismatic.

2. Board of Directors: Thou shalt invest only in companies where the majority of the Board of Directors is comprised of strong outsiders, who possess solid business experience in the industry and/or stage of the company. Said Directors shall push the company to rapidly execute the business plan within cash constraints and shall also have the ability to recognize the need for a CEO change and act swiftly in implementing it. Thou Shalt seek Directors with good contacts for initial customers and/or for raising capital.

3. Business Plan: Thou shalt seek business plans that effectively address the technology, customer acquisition, and competitive challenges to establishing the business with realistic gross margins, unit volume, and return on capital invested.

4. Access to Capital: Thou shalt identify and establish relationship with sources of capital with a history of investing in like kinds of businesses in the amounts needed for the company. Thou shalt work with these co-investors for the betterment of the company and all investors.

5. Product Need: Thou shalt invest in companies that have an in-depth knowledge of its customers (through to the end user) usage habits and needs. Thou shalt forsake all those "nice to have" products or services and save thy resources for "must have."

6. Sustainable Differentiation: Thou shalt invest in companies that have advantages such as patents, first mover advantage, world-class technologists, proprietary process, and/or key customers under contract.

7. Market Size and Trajectory: Thou shalt invest in companies that have large and/or rapidly growing markets or can realistically create such a market. Thou shalt invest in companies with a low risk of market loss to alternative technologies.

8. Technology Risk: Thou shalt have sufficient technical expertise at the table, or through thy’s trusted contacts, to evaluate all product and technology claims before committing thy’s resources.

9. Investment Execution Risk: Thou shalt have established the ability to influence key company decisions, create and link milestone to capital rounds, and seek early customer learning such as through use of prototypes. Thou shalt receive a fair valuation on thy investments and not release investment funds until the full round is raised. Thou shalt stay involved and work with companies to assist – aggressively if necessary - in their success. Thou shalt invest only in those companies that provide a clear exit strategy for thy investment.

10. Investment Evaluation Risk: Thou shalt ask tough questions of the company, listen to the market and discuss the company with other investors. Thou shalt always speak truth with thy fellow Members and be loyal in voicing any opposition or apprehensions, now and forever and ever.
 
The Angels' Forum Management Company, LLC