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Phil Nadel: Invest in Companies Solving Significant Pain Points in a Unique or Differentiated Way

We invest in high-growth, revenue-generating, early-stage companies led by amazing founders. And then we do everything we can to stack the deck in their favor.

Tell us about yourself?

I was a serial entrepreneur for many years. I founded and exited several businesses. Friends and relatives began asking me for help with their startups, including investing in them. I did that for a while and it worked out well. Then about 15 years ago, I expanded the scope of my activities and began venture investing full time. I love helping founders build meaningful, sustainable companies. And I love learning about innovative solutions to all kinds of problems.

If you could give one piece of advice to other investors, what would it be?

Invest in companies solving significant pain points in a unique or differentiated way for large addressable markets.

If you could give one piece of advice to startup founders looking to get funding from you, what would you say?

Show me that you are solving a significant pain point in a unique or differentiated way for a large addressable market and that the company is post-revenue.

What do you look for in the founding team of the startups you invest in?

Cross-discipline expertise. Diversity in terms of skill sets. The ideal founding team will have expertise across several key functions including technical, sales/marketing and finance. Relevant industry experience is also a real plus.

Is there a trait you have noticed predicts success in your investments?

Investing in companies led by founders who have personally experienced a problem or pain point and have a burning desire to solve it.

How has COVID impacted your investment strategy and existing investments?

COVID has impacted how we interact with companies (e.g. via Zoom vs. in person), but has had less of an impact on our investment strategy. We have paused investing is a few sectors most affected by COVID, like travel, but generally our strategy has not changed. Of course, COVID has impacted our portfolio companies in various ways–some have benefitted while others have not. We have been very pleased with how the founders of our portfolio companies have managed their businesses throughout this crisis.

What do you see as the emerging areas of technology that you are looking to invest in?

We are looking for smart applications of artificial intelligence, augmented reality and blockchain. Not companies that are just throwing those terms around or where the technologies are not central to their core mission. We are focused on smart applications of these technologies, where they enable companies to provide the best possible solution to a problem.

How do you source new investment opportunities?

We are fortunate to have relationships with many top VC firms with whom we share deal flow. Many of our syndicate members and founders of portfolio companies also refer deals to us. And we welcome direct inquiries (even cold ones) from founders.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We encourage founders of startups that meet our criteria (https://www.forefrontvp.com/thesis) to contact us and send us their deck. We also welcome angel investors who want curated deal flow of thoroughly vetted startups to our syndicate (https://angel.co/s/forefront-venture-partners/wZ43h).

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