Ed Zimmerman could be described as a venture lawyer, angel investor, and a wine lover and connoisseur, – which may help to explain why he’s part of an angel investing group called GrapeArbor. He co-founded GrapeArbor in 2006 in order to do his own angel investing (>24 portfolio companies) and to share deals with a handful of friends.
One of his VC clients called the companies Zimmerman likes to help “tinkertoy Internet companies” (as opposed to hard core tech companies), and that suits him fine. Digital media, e-commerce, social media, fin tech, SaaS, cloud/virtualization, enterprise software and adtech are, apparently, all tinkertoys.
After receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1992, Zimmerman started to work for Lowenstein Sandler PC, a leading national law firm, where he founded the tech group, which he currently chairs. Zimmerman has been working with and for VC firms (AngelVineVC, First Growth Venture Network) since 2002. He also teaches Venture Capital and Angel Investing at Columbia Business School, and writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal.
He is also on the AlleyWatch list of 100 NYC Tech Influencers You Need to Know.
Areas of Expertise:
Law, Consumer Internet, Software, Clouding, SaaS, IT, Financial Services, Health Care Information Technology, Computing
Homebrew, Red Swan, Klout, Invite Media, Yext, Adaptly, FanBridge, Behance, Birchbox, Trinity Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Solve Media, LiveIntent, AppNexus, Cover, Metamorphic Ventures, Lemnos Labs, Tapad, Bowery Capital, Flatiron Health, Skillslate, Manicube, Mark43, Lucky Sort, JumpCam, Confide, TreSensa, Tuition.io, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Mashable, SOLS Systems, Flybridge Capital Partners, BaubleBar, workpop, Food52, GiftRocket, SelectMinds, GGV Capital, Trupanion, Zenbe, Keaton Row, Archive Systems, openfinance, LivenIntent
Lowenstein Sandler LLP
On whether or not startups should pursue the biggest clients early on: “Sometimes an individual big client or partnering deal can make your company.”
On fundraising: “If you’re in the fundraising process, it’s appropriate to ask: ‘Who, in addition to you, is involved in making decisions about next steps and making an investment?’”
On what to look for in investors: “I’d like to think that founders can limit their investor base to smart and sophisticated investors, regardless of wealth.”
On full disclosure: “If you can’t convince vendors, developers, employees or others to knowingly share the risk, don’t compel them to unknowingly participate or you’ll end up with “debts that no honest man can pay” — and that depletes reputational capital.”
On how to tell if investors will really have your back. “I’m not suggesting you need to throw a party and have all your investors sing Kumbaya. Rather, choosing people who already are in other deals together or run across one another with regularity will heighten the likelihood of good behavior.”