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Newest angel investing group in town is open only to Harvard alums

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 27, 2012 09:48 AM

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Pitching to a room full of prospective investors is always stressful. How much more stressful does it get when everyone in the room holds a degree from Harvard?

We're about to find out. The new HBS Alumni Angels of Boston and New England group holds its first meeting on Monday, and it's open to any Harvard alum -- not just from the business school -- with an interest in making investments in fledgling companies. The group plans to meet quarterly, and hear presentations from seven to ten entrepreneurs each time.

The co-presidents of the new group are Paris Wallace, right, a founder of Ovuline (currently in the TechStars Boston program) and Good Start Genetics, and Tarlin Ray, a managing director at the consultancy Triple Threat Advisors.

"We've been getting a surprising amount of interest, and we expect the event will attract 100-plus people," Wallace says.

The group hasn't yet defined what kinds of business it'll invest in. "We're gonna see what kind of plans come in," and what industries the group's members have experience in, Wallace says. "As with any angel group, capital-efficient business models make more sense." He says the group expects to see plenty of tech, web, and mobile startups, but may shy away from companies developing drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics.

There are more than a dozen other HBS angel investing groups around the world, but Wallace says there has never been one in Boston. Ray had previously been involved with the Southern California chapter.

Wallace says that the group hopes to collaborate with other local angel groups like CommonAngels and TIE Angels, and that some of the HBS Angels members may also participate in those other local angel collectives.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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