Episode 33 - Angel Investments

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Terri and her producer Jacqueline sit down over some champagne to talk about how she made her first angel investment in MyHealthTeams and realized after her second, third and fourth investments (Sandstone Diagnostics, Zum and TomboyX) that her investment thesis was to invest in companies with products or services that improve people’s lives. Now she is focused exclusively on digital health which is a narrowing of her original thesis. 

Show Highlights

  • Terri makes the intro as to the topic and why this week she is talking about her angel investments
  • Terri is going to be on a medtech angels panel at RESI in San Francisco this week and will be focused on her investment interest area of digital health while the other panelists will most likely be focused on
  • Terri talks about the need to leverage data and technology to flip healthcare on its head and put information in the hands of patients
  • Terri talks about how optimistic she is about Apple’s approach to changing healthcare versus how disappointed she is with Google and Verily and her experience with Project Baseline
  • Terri’s first angel investment was in: MyHealthTeams: social networks for millions of people living with chronic illnesses. They currently have 28 conditions including MS, Lupus, HIV, diabetes, Parkinsons. Female co-founder based in San Francisco. Terri has doubled down on this company in their Series B and Series C raises.
  • Jacqueline asked what an investment thesis is and Terri responded that she sees it as the criteria under which she chooses in her investments. Her investment thesis is to invest in companies that have products or services that improve people’s lives.
  • Terri talks about not actively looking for diverse founding teams but gravitating towards
  • Sandstone Diagnostics: home sperm count device and kit with an application for men to monitor their sperm count from home with guidance for improving the count from the application. The product is Trak and is FDA cleared. Founder was male but they brought in a new CEO, Karen Drexler shortly after Terri’s first investment (she’s tripled down on this one). They are based Livermore, CA.
  • Zum: on demand and scheduled rides and care for kids ages 5 and up. Terri has tripled down on her investment with them. Female CEO and co-founder. If this had existed when her kids were little, her husband could have continued to work. Sequoia led a $5M Series A in early 2017 which is a good signal.
  • Jacqueline asks Terri how she decides to invest in a company. Her response:
    • She listens to her gut
    • It has to be something that the world needs
    • She has to believe the management team is going to take the company far
    • There has to be a big enough market opportunity
    • The company needs to have a big enough opportunity that a VC will invest to help the startup grow
    • It has to make sense and be reasonable and rational
    • She looks for revenue opportunities and the possibility of getting profitable
  • Terri is an EIR (advisor) with Tech Futures Group and sees a lot of people looking for angel investors to invest in their research projects. This doesn’t resonate well with Terri; she needs to be able to see a path to revenue.
  • TomboyX: underwear, swimwear, socks and hats designed for people regardless of where they fit into the size or gender spectrum. Terri knows many women who have been buying men’s underwear that doesn’t quite fit them. The female co-founders saw this as an opportunity and have created a fabulous brand and product. Terri’s daughter and one of Jacqueline’s daughters loves their underwear. Terri has tripled down on this one. They are based in Seattle, WA. Terri loves the brand play and sees them as an early exit to a company like Calvin Klein, Nordstrom, Fruit of the Loom, or Hanes.
  • Terri talks about the shift in demographics and how women would much rather buy, and pay a premium, for products made for them.
  • Jacqueline asked why Terri invested in TomboyX again. Terri continued to believe in what they were doing, was impressed with their growth, and she wanted to continue to support them as they encountered cash crunches due to their growth. Terri is frustrated by the lack of funding opportunities for some of these companies.
  • Terri was asked to contribute an essay for a book that Jenn LeBlanc is writing about supporting female founders. Terri is determined to work with other like-minded women looking to invest in some of the overlooked opportunities by creating a mesh network of investors across the country and around the world.
  • Tactical Haptics: tactical feedback controller, initially for VR. Long term, medical training. All male team based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Terri believes that women need to take bigger financial risks to achieve the rewards that men are able to achieve.
  • Terri was looking at between 250-500 deals a month between January and August 2017 and didn’t feel the need to invest in any of them.
  • Tueo Health: digital health solution to improve the monitoring and management of children’s’ asthma. Female CEO/Co-Founder: Bronwyn Harris…she is totally kick ass. They are based in San Francisco.
  • Terri talked about the importance of having healthcare solutions for kids that make the lives of parents better as most of the impact is on the mom. It’s also important to get ahead of the diseases because they turn into more significant issues when the kids become adults.
  • Magnetic Insight: they are bringing clinical imaging into the 21st century. They do magnetic particle imagining which is a new ultrasensitive high resolution molecular imaging approach that detects nanoparticles in the body over a great length of time. Female CEO and Co-Founder; based in Alameda, CA.


Call to Action

Get outside of your comfort zone. Take a risk. And share with me your mini-adventure at PilotingYourLife@gmail.com.


References in the Podcast



You can follow Jacqueline on Twitter at @jacquelineStee or find her on her website at www.jacquelinesteenhuis.com.

You can follow Terri on Twitter at @terrihansonmead or go to her website at www.terrihansonmead.com or on Medium:  https://medium.com/@terrihansonmead

Feel free to email Terri at PilotingYourLife@gmail.com.

To continue the conversation, go to Twitter at @PilotingLife and use hashtag #PilotingYourLife.