An Angel in New York – Tom Nicholson of Arc Angel Fund



Armed with degrees in design and architecture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and the University of Detroit Mercy, Tom Nicholson foresaw the need for digital design and consultancy services as early as the late 1980s.  He launched Nicholson NY in New York City just in time to become the go-to-guy for the likes of IBM, HarperCollins and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The success of the firm led to its acquisition by Sweden’s IconMediaLab AB in 1999.  The resultant IconNicholson became a multinational digital agency that coined the term “social retailing” and was ranked by Advertising Age as one of the top creative agencies in the world in 1999.

Nicholson continued with IconNicholson as CEO and president until 2009.  He then relaunched Nicholson NY, which focuses on marketing solutions that engage users through digital and mobile technology.

He turned his focus to seed and early-stage investments in 2010 as a founding member of ARC Angel Fund.  The fund makes investments between $50,000-$250,000 in companies in and around New York, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Angel Fund:

Founding Member at ARC Angel Fund (Founded in 2010)

Sector Focus:

Software, IT, Tech-Enabled Services, Business Services, Digital Media, Mobile, Healthcare.

Selected Investments:

Uptown Network
Human Demand
NuLabel Technologies, Inc.


RoboInvest sold to Pennaluna & Company for an undisclosed amount


Art.sy, Advisor
University of Detroit Mercy, College of Liberal Arts and Education Dean’s Advisory Council, Member

Expertise Areas:

Design, Architecture, Digital Media, Marketing Solutions, Startups.

Blogs, Twitter & Website:


Memorable Quotes:

On relaunching Nicholson NY:  “We need a new kind of thinking about marketing and about how the agency model operates as the Internet moves into its next phase.”

On designing the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website:  “The Met is a business that exemplifies what true e-business relationships are all about for people.  It’s not just about selling widgets.  It’s about establishing overall relationships with your audience.”

Discussing the architect and designer Charles Eames:  “He was a role model to me from whom I learned about exhibition design, where you are communicating a topic using physical artifacts, space and environments.”


About the author: Kamakshi Ayyar

Kamakshi Ayyar is a freelance journalist based in New York. She studied law at Mumbai University, India and received her Master’s in Journalism from Columbia University. She has written for Business India, Roosevelt Island’s Main Street Wire and The Villager.

You are seconds away from signing up for the hottest list in New York Tech!

Join the millions and keep up with the stories shaping entrepreneurship. Sign up today.