10/17/12 | Uncategorized

This Is What An Angel Investor Looks Like – Jenny Cheng

Women 2.0 profiles women angel investors in our weekly “This Is What An Angel Investor Looks Like” series.
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

A former Salesforce.com senior executive, Jenny Cheng is now the Managing Director at Kaia Ventures which she founded to advise, consult and invest in cloud & software-as-a-service companies.

The angel investor is also a startup co-founder herself, announcing today her stealth startup Gnana! A Sanskrit word meaning knowledge and pure awarenes, Gnana focuses on the intersection of intelligent relationship management, machine learning and resource/capital optimization.

Meet Angel Investor Jenny Cheng

How and why did you decide to become an angel investor?
“I wanted to be an investor to support other entrepreneurs. I saw my first opportunity when former colleagues started their own companies and I knew that I could help.”

What investments have you made?

Company: SocialPandas
Founder(s): Mark Trang, Jason Ouellette, Gretchen DeKnikker*

Company: Full Circle CRM
Founder(s): Bonnie Crater*, Andrea Wildt*, Roan Bear*, Dan Appleton

Company: GoodRevu
Founder(s): Christian Meyers, Jeff Rothman

*Women founders!

Range of initial investments?

Number of investments a year?

What types of companies or industries do you want to invest in?
“I mostly invest in companies in the high-tech or biotech/medical devices world, but mostly it is more about the leadership and vision of the company over the industry.”

How has your background played (or not) a role in your angel investing?
“My background in product engineering and management consulting has helped greatly in assessing the leadership, vision and possibility of each company. I also have the personal experience of being a part of several startups that either were bought or went public.”

One piece of advice to an angel-in-training?
“Do your research. Make sure you can answer why you want to invest your time and money with this company. Be okay with minimal to no financial return on your investment.”

One piece of advice to entrepreneurs looking for capital?
“Leverage your network and be ready to use every opportunity.”

What are some investment deal-breakers?
“Leadership teams that do not have a vision or are not willing to be in it for the long haul. Products that do not solve a fundamental need or problem.”

What is your investment style?
“I am probably a more typical hands-off angel but fully invested in the founders. I am clear to the founders on where I can offer help but they know that they can pick up the phone and ask.”

Favorite quote?
“Right now, it’s ‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.’ by JFK.”

Random fact?
“I was in the parade scene of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Before starting her own startup and investing in startups, Jenny was a respected senior executive at Salesforce.com and spoke at conferences and panels. Check out this interview she did sharing advice for women in high tech who want to advance on the technical track. She also answered questions about work/life balance and gave tips on overcoming barriers.

Women 2.0 readers: Know more women angel investors investing in cloud and SAAS startups? Are you a woman entrepreneur starting a cloud or SAAS startup? Let us know in the comments!

Angie Chang is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0, a media company offering content, community and conferences for aspiring and current women innovators in technology. Our mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups with inspiration, information and education through our platform. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.



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