“Wantrepreneurs Live On Hopium,” says NY Angels’ Chair Brian Cohen


“I love angel investing. I’ve been doing it since it was called ‘stupid investing’” said Brian Cohen, Chairman of the New York Angels, as he attempted to fill the information from his most recent book, What Every Angel Investor Wants You To Know: In Insider Reveals How To Raise Money For Your Billion-Dollar Idea, into his 20-minute keynote at the NY Founder Institute First Look Showcase of their latest class of startups.



The Founder Institute is an early-stage four-month accelerator program where participants are not required to quit their day jobs. FI has helped launch over 565 companies across 28 cities, 13 countries, and five continents – making it the world’s largest startup accelerator.

Cohen has been investing in startups in New York for 40 years, he said, preferring this coast to the other, as he sees New York entrepreneurs as being more willing to help each other.

“California has an alpha-dog mentality,” he maintained.

Some of our favorite sound bites/pearls of wisdom from the publisher (Information Week) turned publicist (TSI Communications) turned Angel Investor/Entrepreneur Mentor/Technology Marketing Strategist/Author:

“Do you know the difference between Angels and VCs? Angels spend their own money. VCs spend other people’s money.”

“M&A make up 90% of all exits. The average time for an exit is nine years.”

“There are 30,000 serious Angels in the US… which make your chances of getting funded 400:1 – and it’s getting worse.”

“VCs want to know how big is your market. They’re driven by large market potential. Period.”

“Ever hear the term ‘wantrepreneurs’? Wantrepreneurs live on hopium.”

“Don’t let ego, greed or fear be part of your business plan… When you’re pitching to investors, they don’t want to hear ‘I think’ or ‘I hope.’ They want to hear ‘revolutionary’ and ‘unique.’

“When you’re meeting with investors, use the time wisely. Ask them, ‘tell me who you wrote checks to and why.’ Investors don’t like to say ‘no,’ because they’re afraid of missing out on the next big thing. Get to ‘no’ as quickly as possible.”

For a full transcript. Oh, wait, there is no full transcript available. You’ll just have to read the book.

And now, your First Look at FI’s latest group of startups:

emozia is “revolutionizing the way we communicate emotion – in real time,” said founder Aleksandar Vukasinovic. Communicating emotion to our apps and devices is almost impossible. And that’s exactly what emozia is about. The company has developed technology that determines how you feel and empowers you to share that information with your friends, devices and apps. Imagine if Songza knew what kind of mood you were in – and could suggest music for it, or to counteract it. Uber is currently testing this technology.

Inkwell empowers authors to take control of the publishing process. Through crowd-funding, social tools, and a support network, authors can raise the funds they need to produce their books, and readers/supporters get a first look to see if they’d like to read more – and make it happen

HelpSource is a digital hub for behavioral health providers and consumers. According to co-founder Mavis Baird, People can get the help they need either online, or by reaching out nationally or locally. Revenue is derived through the company’s booking engine.

Builder Buzz “is an online home improvement marketplace where contractors come to you – Snap, Post, Hire, Done!” explained founder Michael Lisovetsky. You post your project and can compare contractors by looking at their profiles, work history, and reviews from previous customers. You decide who to speak to and get quotes from. Of course, it’s also a great platform for contractors to find their next job.

Viewsafar Ok, so you have your big screen HDTV and it’s taking up a lot of real estate, considering that it’s most likely not on 24/7. Viewsafar co-founder Michael Su wants to change that, by providing ambient videos that can run in the background. Wish you were at the beach? Imagine being able to look at the rolling tides in the comfort of your home, and not having to deal with all of that bothersome sand getting all over the carpeting.

One + Love is a social networking app for the LGBTQ community, connecting users to local safe spaces, supportive online community, entertainment, and news. Get a map that takes you right to advocates, hotlines, hospitals, and LGBTQ-friendly organizations and businesses. You’re not alone; One + Love connects you.

Pathgather is an enterprise learning application that helps employees discover learning content, track their progress, and connect with coworkers around professional development. Employees learn more when they learn together. On Pathgather, employees share learning achievements, set public goals, and recommend helpful resources. The end result is a social learning environment that motivates and accelerates personal development – and workplace training.

For full coverage of startup events in New York, visit The Watch.

About the author: Bonnie Halper

Bonnie Halper curates the StartupOneStop.com newsletter, which focuses on startups and entrepreneurs, and is currently being read in 50+ countries around the world.

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