Phil Nadel | Investing in Tech Startups, Partnering with Barbara Corcoran, and Running a Top Angellist Syndicate


Becoming a successful investor in the goal of many entrepreneurs.

Some people find success, perhaps even a lot of it.

This week’s guest has produced results beyond what is commonly thought to be possible.

Phil Nadel is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Forefront Venture Partners, one of the most successful and largest AngelList Syndicates. Phil is also a published author and serial entrepreneur who has started and sold many companies, and invested in over 100 more. In addition, Phil is one of the investors on Gimlet Media’s podcast The Pitch.

This week John Corcoran is joined by Phil to talk about how he came to work with Barbara Corcoran, what he looks for when investing, and never having worked for anyone else.

In this episode, we also talk about:

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  • Selecting Businesses for Investing
  • The Differences Between a Syndicate and a Venture Capital Fund
  • Recent Companies Forefront has Invested in
  • Why Phil Loves his Work
  • The Biggest Challenges of Running Forefront
  • Technologies that Phil is Excited About
  • How to Know if a Technology Will Remain Relevant
  • What Phil Looks for When Looking for Places to Invest
  • Forefront Only Invests in Companies Who Are Post-Revenue
  • Phil Has Never Worked For Anyone Else
  • The need for innovation is constant
  • How Phil Came to Work with Barbera Corcoran
  • The Benefits of Podcasting
  • Who Phil Thanks for His Success

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

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Episode Transcript

John Corcoran  0:40  

Alright welcome everybody my guest on this show is Phil Nadel. Phil runs one of the largest investment syndicates on Angel list, called Forefront Venture Partners which he launched in 2014 with Barbara Corcoran, he’s also an investor on the Pitch Podcast and he’s got a really amazing array of experience entrepreneurial ventures that he’s been involved in was telling me beforehand, he’s never worked for someone else, which I think is always interesting. 

So we’re gonna be talking about his various different journey through entrepreneurship and all the different portfolio companies that he’s involved in now and investing in today’s current climate. 

But first, if you’re new to this show, no, we don’t charge a nickel for this show. I published hundreds of episodes, I talked to top business leaders, CEOs, founders, investors, experts, I asked them to break down their businesses and the key relationships with clients, mentors, peers, referral partners and influencers that are backbone of any business. And they do that and they don’t do it to get paid they do it because they love sharing education and sharing wisdom. So if you find value in this podcast, which I know you will, all we ask is that you subscribe so you can receive these downloads automatically and you keep improving on your relationships to grow your business. Also, before we get into this interview, this podcast is brought to you by rise 25 media which is our done for you agency focused on helping b2b businesses to get more clients referral partners and strategic partners through a done for you podcast and done for you content marketing. We have over 20 years experience in this area. I personally believe that doing a podcast, one of the best things you can do for your business and for you personally, it’s so many things in once business development, networking, client acquisition, referral marketing, and guess what you even get to have a conversation with people whose work you admire and to learn from them directly. I’m about to do here with Phil so it’s just a treat to do every week, learn more, you can go to rise25.com. 

So as I mentioned, my guest is Phil Nadel. Phil is a well respected serial entrepreneur, angel investor, published author, frequent speaker at industry conferences and events. He started and sold several companies invested in more than 100 plus startups, it’s probably 200 Now, I haven’t checked in the last week or so it keeps on increasing. He co founded forefront Venture Partners, formerly Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners in 2014 has been as managing director ever since. And he’s also one of the investors on gimlet media is the pitch podcasts which is really cool. I highly recommend that podcast now. 

Phil, I want to ask you, I was looking at your portfolio companies. And they really run the gamut. I mean, you’ve got wine websites, electric bikes, you got SAS software, you got custom drapes and curtains, websites, UX design learning platforms. How do you manage to invest in such a wide array of different companies and have expertise and knowledge and all these different markets?

Phil Nadel  3:22  

That’s a great question, john. First, it’s great to be here. I appreciate your having me on the show. So forefront venture partners is a is designed to be a syndicate. We are not a fund a venture fund. So our primary interest is in helping our syndicate members and we are big believers in a diversified portfolio approach to investing in early stage companies. So as a result, our mission is to help our syndicate investors And ourselves build a diversified portfolio across different industry types across different stages to some degree and the different geographies. So we really try to remain industry agnostic, and try to find the best companies that meet our criteria in each various industry segment. So we do certainly have invest in criteria, but industry specific is not one of them, and neither is geography.

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