37 ANGELS TALKS WITH MONICA LOGANI
Monica Logani is an Angel Investor and Strategic and Financial Advisor. After a long career on Wall Street, she jumped into the startup world and has not looked back. Her experience working with entrepreneurs to get their vision off the ground compliments her investment experience as she analyzes early-stage companies as part of the 37 Angels network. You can connect with Monica here.
AS AN INVESTOR
How did you get into angel investing?
Angel investing was a natural extension for me. I spent much of my career as a sell-side and buy-side research analyst covering small-cap emerging growth companies. I enjoyed the thrill of finding undiscovered publicly traded companies that were on the cusp of explosive growth. Later, I worked at two startups and learned how to execute a vision. I quickly realized how exciting this asset class was compared to publicly traded companies. After that experience, I decided to take what I learned and became an angel investor.
What inspired you to become a member of 37 Angels?
I was looking for better access to deal flow as well as a supportive community of like-minded investors. 37 Angels has given me that and so much more. The deal flow is highly curated, and the women in the group are very interesting with such diverse backgrounds. I've learned so much from them. 37 Angels is also a great platform to launch yourself in the world of early-stage investing. I've attended a boot camp on angel investing, a deep-dive seminar on the cap table, a few Accelerator Demo Days with 37 Angel mentors, and a hackathon of women developers and entrepreneurs all in the last couple of months. 37 Angels gives you access to so many educational opportunities and events - it's all yours for the taking.
What are some of the key characteristics you look for when investing?
I look for a large market opportunity, a meaningful barrier to entry, and a strong team that I believe can execute on their vision. I love companies that are "game changers" in their industry.
What types of traits do you look for in founders?
I like founders that have domain expertise, have executed on a vision before, and are focused on customer development. Humility is something I've learned to appreciate recently as overconfidence leads to sub-par decision-making.
What mistakes do entrepreneurs make when pitching to angel investors?
They don't have a clear customer acquisition or monetization strategy.
What sectors are you most interested in investing in?
Education technology, marketplaces, cybersecurity, and virtual reality.
What advice would you give to women who are interested in angel investing but haven't taken the leap?
I think some women who are interested in angel investing but haven't taken the leap feel overwhelmed by all the advancements in technology and think they may not understand what tech startups do. Others may not understand valuation, how dilution works, or another aspect of angel investing. My advice is to take the leap as you will learn very quickly - it's a very steep learning curve. Once you start listening to companies present and start analyzing their businesses, everything will start to come together. Angel groups are a great launching pad.
What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned as an angel investor?
Do your due diligence on the business, competitive landscape, and founding members. Talk to customers as well as experts in the field and prior investors. The best way to validate a business model is to get out and talk to people who have more knowledge of the space than you. Once you've decided to invest, review the legal documents and make sure you understand how the deal is structured.
What do you feel are some characteristics an angel investor should possess?
Being open-minded and intellectually curious.
AS AN INDIVIDUAL
What does success mean for you?
Spending your days doing things you feel really passionate about and having balance in your life.
What's the biggest risk you've taken?
Moving to India for a year to work for an eCommerce startup.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
My children and I started a non-profit organization called Immortal Soles, which brings athletic footwear to impoverished children all over the world who engage in organized sports as a vehicle to better their lives. To speak to Gen Z'ers, we post a picture of every child who receives a pair of athletic shoes on Instagram and tag the donor. We are currently working with a sports-for-development organization in Haiti called GoalsHaiti. It has been one of the most gratifying experiences.
Where have you traveled that's most impressed you?
India impresses me on so many different levels. Although so much of the population lives in poverty, the spirit of these people is remarkable; they are happy, sociable people with an optimistic outlook. While I lived in India, my children and I volunteered in the slum teaching impoverished children how to play tennis. We were very impressed by these children and their enthusiasm to better themselves. India also impresses me because of its rich history, natural beauty, and diversity - from the architecture to the cuisine to the people to even the wildlife.
What super power do you wish you had?
I wish I didn't need sleep.
What super power do you have?
It's not a super power, but I compose music on the piano. It's a great creative outlet. I'm working on my first album to be released later this year.
What's your favorite cuisine?
What's your favorite film(s)?
Wedding Crashers and Dinner for Schmucks. I can watch them over and over and still laugh hysterically every time. I also love A Beautiful Mind and Slumdog Millionaire.
What's your favorite book(s)?
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
What's your favorite app and why?
Dark Sky. It's a new type of weather app that uses state-of-the-art technology to predict when it will rain or snow - down to the minute - at your exact location. It's been a lifesaver during my kids' outdoor sports games. It will start raining and you think the game is a washout and the Dark Sky app tells you that it will only last 11 minutes. It's always right!
Favorite New York moment:
Waking up in the middle of the night on the day I moved to New York City right after college. The view from my high-rise apartment in Midtown was just breathtaking, and I was completely in awe of the city.