Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Amos Ben-Meir of Sand Hill Angels was recorded in February 2018.
Amos Ben-Meir, Investor and Board Director at Sand Hill Angels, is a veteran angel investor. You will hear lots of details on working with a prominent angel group, as well as other types of syndicates.
Sramana Mitra: I think what we should start with is having you introduce yourself a little bit to our audience your history with startup investing. You’ve been around for a long time. What does the industry look like from your point of view? What are the evolutions that you have traversed in this long association with the technology startup ecosystem?
Amos Ben-Meir: Let me give you a little bit of background about myself and my career. I was in the semiconductor and silicon industry for a little over 25 years. I spent most of that in various engineering roles. As I got more experience, moved into executive level positions and led large engineering teams. Most of the focus was in high-performance microprocessors and high-performance subsystems. In 1989, I moved to Silicon Valley. That’s when I started my career.
Sramana Mitra: You moved from Israel?
Amos Ben-Meir: Yes. Actually, it was my third move from Israel. I moved as a child. Then I moved again in 1986, went back, and then finally came back in 1989. That’s when I started my startup career. Over the years, I ended up working either as an early employee or a founder of six startups. Four of those had pretty good exits. Two of them shutdown.
Going through the startup cycle myself is what got me interested in the process of building a company, financing it, and eventually led me to start investing. I exited my last operating role in the beginning of 2014. That’s when I joined Sand Hill Angels and became pretty active there as an investor. I joined the Board of Directors in my third year.
When I started investing in startups, I dabbled a little bit in 1999. I got busy with operating roles so didn’t have much time for it. Then I started again in 2013. Over the last five years, I became focused as a full-time angel. I have invested in about 70 companies over that period in various stages.
Sramana Mitra: Do you invest only with Sand Hill Angels or do you invest outside as well?
Amos Ben-Meir: Some or my deals are with Sand Hill Angels. Some of them are outside. Then, some of them are through syndicates. There are a few on Angellist as well as a number with a syndicate organization called OurCrowd. Then some of them are through syndicates.
I would say that the majority of my investments are on the West Coast, mostly in Silicon Valley. There are some in Southern California and a couple in Seattle. On the East Coast, I have invested in New York City and Boston. I’ve done a good number as well in Israel but that’s primarily in syndicates with OurCrowd.