As Thomas Wisniewski himself would describe it, it’s been one leap after another in life to get to where he is today as an early stage investor and advisor.
The first leap was working as a programmer for Morgan Stanley after earning his BA in physics, philosophy and math from Clark University in 1987. Usually those subjects don’t go together, right? When he grew bored with programing after a few years, he jumped into investment banking. After a few years, he left banking to attend the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth, where he earned his MBA in 1993 and headed down the adventurous path of the entrepreneur.
After considering jobs at a few large companies, Tom instead helped found the Mitchell Madison Group, a startup management consulting firm, that grew to over 1000 professionals in 1999 when it was sold to a high flying “dot-com,” MarchFirst. Tom jumped ship in early 2000 to join Walker Digital, an early “internet incubator” led by Jay Walker, billionaire founder of Priceline.com. Six months later MarchFirst “flamed-out spectacularly, a victim of the dot.com bust,” in Tom’s words, and the firm eventually went completely out of business in 2001. “It was a wild ride. I learned a lot and I was lucky to leave when I did.”
For most of the 2000’s Tom worked independently as an advisor to venture funds and the companies they back. On two occasions, he joined the management team of companies for whom he was advising to lead a turn-around. “I love working at disruptive, high growth companies. Companies that are creating and transforming themselves, as they do the same to their industry.”
In the mid 2000s, Wisniewski began actively angel investing in NYC. “I was working for big companies and large funds that were very lethargic. I missed the innovation and excitement of the tech start-up world.” He joined the board of directors of New York Angels, the #1 most active angel group in the country, with about 100 members. He has been actively investing in technology since, with about half of his investments coming from the NYA platform, and serves as a limited partner to several VC funds, such as Greycroft Partners and ff Venture Capital.
Along with investing, Wisniewski is a very successful advisor, especially in strategy and operations, with his 20+ years of experience in consulting and management. Today, most of his efforts are focused on advising start-ups, growth stage companies and the funds that invest in them. He also regularly speaks at conferences and teaches entrepreneurship and seed-stage investing at General Assembly in New York.
Company/Firm: Co-manager at RosePaul Investments (Founded 2011), Partner RosePaul Ventures (Founded 2012).
Sector Focus: Startup advising, early-stage investing, private equity, IT
Expertise Areas: Private equity, venture capital, IT, entrepreneurship, fundraising, strategy, operations, consulting, management
Blogs, Twitter, and Websites:
On angel investing and fundraising: “It’s hard, right? Those stories about people raising 5 million overnight, people pitching business plans on the back of cocktail napkins… That may happen, but it won’t happen to most people. It never happened to me. It’s hard. It takes work.”