Halle Tecco

Halle Tecco

Angel investor and adjunct professor at Columbia business school

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON May 12, 2016

Discussion

Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
Halle Tecco here! I'm currently an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School, and an angel investor. With my husband (Jeff Hammerbacher, the other half of @Techammer), we've made 58 angel investments in the last 8 years. I love early stage companies looking to make a difference in the lives of everyday Americans. Let's chat!
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
Hello Halle, thanks for taking our questions. Where do you look for emerging trends (e.g. sources, events, websites, etc.) and how do you pick ventures in nascent industries? How much do you typically invest?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@candriopoulos we (@techammer) typically incest $25K, but have gone up to $50K or $100K when it makes sense. I look for opportunities from my own experiences -- lately I've been learning as much as possible about real estate tech and fertility. These are just two areas where the existing industry is just ripe for disruption.
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
@halletecco Great! Thank you for your invaluable answer.
Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee@dleesta · Product Manager
How do you think universities should decrease the cost of college as well as increase the value they are providing? Clearly the cost to value ratio is off.
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@dleesta perhaps they should listen more to the ideas and feedback of students and recent grads! I agree -- the cost to value ratio is off and not sustainable. I have to quote Darwin here: "It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change"
Charles Kunene
Charles Kunene@charles_kunene · Co-founder & Product Designer @Obaa
What problems have you seen when startups grow quickly (hires) and what fixes would you recommend?
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
How can business schools complement their existing core curriculum (finance, marketing, operations, etc.) to keep up with technological innovation?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@tomstocklein in my class, we have founders pitch and the students act as VCs. They are in groups of "VC firms", they ask the founder questions, and then write-up investment memos on each deal. I think experiential learning is a great way to complement existing core curriculum. The students hone real skills and get relevant, timely case studies.
Corey Hubbard
Corey Hubbard@corey_hubbard · Founder - DreamHighr
Hello Halle, we are all glad you stopped by today and I wanted to ask if early-stage startup founders should build for growth or P&L in 2016?
Cobby Amoah
Cobby Amoah@cobbyamoah · CEO, Peach
There are a lot of startups offering doctor home visits. Do you think this is sustainable considering the doctor-to-patient ratio and will it ever be available to the masses?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@cobbyamoah this is a great question. The cost of a home-visit is just as high as an office-visit (or higher), so it seems like a luxury to me. We're starting to see some of the home-visit companies (like Pager) pivot to a model where home-visits are not the core business. If we really want to increase access to care, we need to (1) invest in keeping people healthy to begin with and (2) increase our use of telemedicine. For the large fraction of doctor visits that do not require an in-person physical exam, telemedicine offer lower costs, access, and often a better patient experience.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Halle thanks for being here today. What does success look like for you?
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
You've achieved so much already in your career and have tons to be proud of. Is there anything you regret? Or might have changed with retrospect?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@ems_hodge I regret not having more balance in my life for the first five years of Rock Health. I was working tirelessly to improve healthcare, but was neglecting my own mental and physical health. I wasn't spending enough time with friends and family, or just time for myself. I thought about work every waking moment, and dreamt about it nearly every night. When my dad had a heart attack, I had a bunch of meetings in SF so I didn't go home to Ohio to see him. That was when I woke up and realized that I wasn't being the person I wanted to be. I moved to the east coast to be with my husband and started really working on work-life balance. So far I feel a lot better about things!
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Makerpad.co
If you had to swap lives with a tech CEO/founder for a week, who would it be and why?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@bentossell SUCH A GOOD QUESTION. Maybe I'd switch with a CEO of a company like Pepsi that has to balance the ethical consequences of people consuming their products. I'd love to see how these companies make big decisions!
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Makerpad.co
What are your favourite questions to ask founders?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@bentossell I always love to dig in about the grander vision for the company, and if the founder wants to be rich or king (something I spent a lot of time learning about at HBS: https://hbr.org/2008/02/the-foun...)
V.S.VIVEK
V.S.VIVEK@vsvivek93 · Unoccupied
What is your personal filter of things for investing in startups? I mean what are the criteria you look other than entrepreneur ?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@vsvivek93 I ask this question: will this product improve the lives of every day Americans?
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
What life experiences have helped shape the way you approach decision making in business?
Guled Ahmed
Guled Ahmed@_guled_ · Innovator, Aspiring Entrepreneur
Hello Helle. What does it mean for a startup to do their "homework" before making a deal with an investor in order to gain funds for their startup? What does that word exactly entail? I see that word come up when investors mention qualities of a would-be candidate. I'm coming from a standpoint of hypothetical situation where someone is just starting their business.
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@_guled_ I think the "homework" they are referring to is understanding what the VC is looking for. What stage deals do they do? What areas do they invest in? Where do they invest? Do they have complementary or competitive portfolio companies?
Charles Kunene
Charles Kunene@charles_kunene · Co-founder & Product Designer @Obaa
I'm co-founder of a health startup and I've found that being young leads to skepticism that the company can execute and land large clients (I don't think this would be the case if we were a consumer startup). Has that been the case for your portfolio companies at Rock Health and what ways have you helped founders to overcome that initial skepticism?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@charles_kunene you are not alone! I experienced this same skepticism when I founded Rock Health at 25 with little healthcare experience. A few things can help: (1) Know your weaknesses and assemble a team with the smartest, experienced people who can make up for any deficit. (2) Go above and beyond to validate your concept. Know the ROI, and use that to lead your sales. (3) Partner with existing trusted organizations that can serve as a channel parter. Best of luck!
Charles Kunene
Charles Kunene@charles_kunene · Co-founder & Product Designer @Obaa
What was so unique about Augmedix's approach to the use of Google Glass which excited providers and also made patients comfortable?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@charles_kunene simply put, they are helping doctors be more productive and spend time doing what they love doing (seeing patients) instead of what they hate doing (typing notes).
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What led to your decision to leave the health-focused VC fund Rock Health that you co-founded in 2010?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@tomstocklein ultimately it was time for me to move on and hand the keys over to new leadership. Now that I'm based on the East Coast, it no longer made sense for me to lead an organization 3K miles away. It was a bittersweet decision, but now I'm really excited to explore new opportunities and see what else is out there for me.
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
When you and your team started the VC seed fund Rock Health in 2010 (not too long after the 2008 financial crisis), what were some of the major challenges and obstacles you encountered? How did you manage to attract LPs such as the Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente as a new fund? What's your best advice for first time VC fund managers? What was your core value proposition to attract potential LPs?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@tomstocklein Hi Thomas. Great question. We didn't raise a fund out the gate. We spent a year or so giving companies small grants to build our platform/reputation and learn about the space. Once we were confident in our investment thesis and ability to find and support great founders, we went out to raise from LPs. For the most part, they had already been working with us.
Oliviax
Oliviax@oliviameng
Hi Halle, Thanks for being here! What do you think about online education and distant learning programs offered by the institutions? what do you think the future of online education will be? Thanks!
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@oliviameng I've taken two online courses (one on healthcare IT, and the other on interior design). I had a great experience in both courses and look forward to more in the future. I think it's an effective, affordable way to keep learning when you're in the real world!
Cobby Amoah
Cobby Amoah@cobbyamoah · CEO, Peach
Halle, in an interview, you said you're looking for the healthcare app that will sit on the home screen of most phones. Have you found it yet?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@cobbyamoah lately I've been obsessed with @AppCardiogram, which connects with the iWatch to capture live heart rate stream.
Said Bachtarysev
Said Bachtarysev@bachtarysevsaid · Founder of Lopic iPhone app
Would you mind checking out my app VoiceU? https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/... this links to the app store.
Habib Khalid
Habib Khalid@hkhalidz
Do you train founders after funding?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@hkhalidz I do not. I think of myself more as a helper and connector. I'm happy to help a founder think through a problem or opportunity, and I'm always trying to connect founders to talent / other investors / press / customers.
Marieme
Marieme@yummysociety · Comp. Engineer, Founder Yummy+Society
Hi Halle, Thank you for all of your thoughtful input. My question would be, what impact do you believe nutrition will have in the future in treating, managing and preventing chronic or highly impactful disease. Do you believe that Tech offers an efficient avenue in enabling health management through nutrition. Finally, is nutrition really given the attention it deserves in the health management spectrum
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@yummysociety estimates vary, but I've heard the US spends $60B annually on weight loss products. This is a very real, very large market. And the research shows that diet and nutrition play an enormous role in health and well-being. But historically it's been a commercial market, not a medical one. Medical Schools, for instance, provide very little nutrition training (just 25 hours on average). But this is changing. The AMA now classifies obesity as a disease, and doctors are becoming more proactive in fighting obesity. Couple that with new preventive health benefits required by the ACA (e.g. obesity screening & counseling), and an enormous opportunity is opening up for innovators.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
What are your top tips for first time founders looking for early stage investment?
Saikiran Alugandula
Saikiran Alugandula@asaikiran03 · Research Associate, Legal Advantage
What do you think when the start up you invested in later acquired by a top company? Happy? Sad? Or you think it should run independently for some more time? any other reasons?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@asaikiran03 It depends. We've seen a few great acquisitions where the acquirer allows the founders to remain rather independent (like Fossil's acquisition of Misfit). In this case it was a great financial outcome for everyone too, so we were all very happy. But I've also seen acquisitions which were simply soft-landings for the company. Of course we all wish the company had worked out, but a 1-2X sale is better than going to 0.
Gunaseelan Mani
Gunaseelan Mani@guna · Product Management, MyRefers
Halle, How do you filter founder bias (I want a problem to be solved this way and hence it's the only way) in identifying sustainable business ideas?
Halle Tecco
Halle Tecco@halletecco · Human
@guna this is such a good question! There's really a spectrum from founders who are always looking for someone else to tell them how to solve a problem... to founders who are so stubborn and refuse to leave the path they have drawn. Somewhere in the middle is good: a founder who is so obsessed with the problem that they've considered every single solution, but is also agile enough to make the necessary changes to succeed. What are your thoughts on this?
Gunaseelan Mani
Gunaseelan Mani@guna · Product Management, MyRefers
@halletecco This is a great view. In a world where 'Falling in love with the problem is more important than that of the solution', not spending enough time on the problem is a great opportunity price one has to pay. But striking the optimal level between the two and identifying the right balance is a difficult task too. The golden ratio is in between but where depends on the type of problem we solve?
Marieme
Marieme@yummysociety · Comp. Engineer, Founder Yummy+Society
Thank you very much for the insightful answer.