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)
Today, Shereen is VP of Product Management and a co-founder at financial startup Buyside FX, bringing transparency to the Foreign Exchange industry and creating the product from the ground up as the VP of Product and Strategy. Buyside FX is funded by Google Ventures and Atlas Venture.
In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Shereen is a Boston-based angel investor, having invested in TechStars Boston and another startup thus far. She actively gives back to the local startup community, advising and mentoring entrepreneurs.
Meet Angel Investor Shereen Shermak
How and why did you decide to become an angel investor?
“Once I joined a startup full-time; I wanted to keep a portfolio going.”
What investments have you made?
Company: Techstars Boston*
Founder(s): David Chang & Roy Rodenstein
Range of initial investments?
What types of companies or industries do you want to invest in?
“I like to stick to what I know; environmental engineering ideas, or enterprise software if possible. But I am interested in intuitive ideas in the consumer realm.”
How has your background played (or not) a role in your angel investing?
“I have a highly quantitative background, I tend to rely on analytics rather than team-based assessments.”
One piece of advice to an angel-in-training?
“Start small and build your confidence.”
One piece of advice to entrepreneurs looking for capital?
“Don’t rewrite your idea after each pitch, but take feedback seriously.”
What is your investment style?
“Hands-off – if an entrepreneur is strong and has a good idea, they should drive. I generally like to help entrepreneurs network and/or help them refine their business models. I believe in having a plan, even if that plan has decision points based on proving out hypotheses later. I am not a Kool-Aid drinker for the most part, because I think real charismatic leadership is rare. When I find that, I think more about working with the company in some way rather than investing. That said, I do believe in the power of a good idea and I like to spend my time with creative people.”
What are some investment dealbreakers?
“Red flags are based on ideas that are counterintuitive, or ideas outside my expertise. I am not a mobile expert, so would not look for a pure mobile payments idea. Major red flags for entrepreneurs are what I think of as ‘buzzword people.’.”
“Einstein: A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”
“I spent the first several years of my career as an environmental engineer, and I don’t consider it a conflict with being in finance. We need more people in financial services with diverse interests.”
A proud Bostonian since 1995, Shereen began her career in Boston in financial services and built new software-based businesses as banks tried to address the changing technology landscape.
Her determination to make an impact caused her to leave the large financial firms five years ago to focus on smaller, faster-moving software companies. She is a serial entrepreneur and also an angel investor in Boston – we look forward to seeing how her various startups grow and her angel investments increase!
Women 2.0 readers: Know more women angel investors investing in the Boston / Cambridge area? Let us know in the comments!
Angie Chang is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0. 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.