I first encountered Phil Nadel when I learned about angel investing a few months ago in the New York Observer. That same night, I signed up for AngelList, a website that lets investors invest in start-ups.
One of the first people I encountered on AngelList was Phil, the co-founder of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners — Barbara, of course, being known to millions as not just a major player in real estate but also one of the stars of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
Phil kindly answered some questions for me about not just angel investing, but what he believes the safest investment of all may actually be.
Given that you are involved with so many companies at any given time, how do you usually answer when someone asks, “What you do for a living?”
Phil Nadel: I generally tell people that I am investor and serial entrepreneur.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do with yourself?
P: I am an avid runner and reader. And a die-hard Miami Heat fan.
And further aside from work, what do you wish more people knew about you?
P: I am passionate about health and wellness.
When was it that you realized that it paid off to have a multi-faceted career, rather than just depending on one company or concept as a way of earning a living?
P: I have been involved in various companies and projects for a long time. The key for me is to compartmentalize so I can focus exclusively on whatever I’m doing at the time.
How did you first find out about VC’s and angel investing?
P: I found out about angel investing because after I sold my first company, many friends and acquaintances began asking me to invest in their start-ups. I had to quickly learn about how to structure a deal, what to look for in a company, etc. That was my introduction to angel investing. Once you’ve had a successful exit, it’s amazing how many entrepreneurs start asking you to invest.
Do you remember the first company that you invested in?
P: Other than my own companies, I invested in a company called Expense Reduction Group around 1990. Fortunately, it worked out very well.
Is there an investment, past or present, which brings you the most pride?
P: My older son is the CEO and Co-Founder of a company called Klink, alcohol delivery to your door –www.klinkdelivery.com — and I am most proud of him and his accomplishments.
Beyond what you do now, is there a field or profession that you haven’t yet worked around which you one day hope to?
P: I would like to do a project in the health and wellness space, perhaps focused on sleep optimization.
What are the tools or apps that help keep you, as a busy person, on-track and organized?
I rely a lot on my iPhone and use Slack quite a bit. Otherwise, I’m old school.
When it comes to your career, how much of what you have accomplished is rooted in hustling or directly seeking new leads? As opposed to opportunities coming straight to you?
P: Nothing comes straight to anyone. You’ve got to hustle for everything.
When it comes to managing your personal finances, are you a planner? Is there an overall philosophy to what you do?
P: I am a planner and try to be prudent. A basic, but guiding, philosophy is to never allocate more than 10% of your portfolio into any one investment.
When it comes to diversifying your assets, what percentage would you recommend putting in start-ups or risky investment opportunities?
P: That depends on how much money you have and your risk tolerance. If you have a reasonably-sized portfolio, I think that investing 5 to 10 percent into a diversified angel portfolio makes sense.
Do you buy into the common feeling that real estate is the safest investment?
P: No! I believe the safest investment is building your own company.