Navigating Angel Investment with Sandy Wollman

By Pioneers Production Team

Often, entrepreneurs embark on their journey with a brilliant idea they believe addresses a pressing market need. But turning that idea into reality requires more than just ingenuity; it demands funding. Today, we’ll delve into the world of startup funding, exploring the strategies and challenges entrepreneurs face as they seek the financial support necessary to bring their innovations to life. 

Joining us today is Sanford Wollman, or Sandy, an ACA (Angel Capital Association) board member, Director of the Syndication Committee, and the co-founder and Managing Director of Westchester Angels.

In this episode, Sandy provides valuable insights into what startups need to know from the initial stages of pitching to navigating due diligence to attract angel investment. We will also explore the collaborative nature of the angel investing ecosystem, the importance of finding the right angel group, and the role of organizations like the ACA in facilitating connections and providing educational resources for entrepreneurs.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • Sandy’s entrepreneurship, business failures, and personal growth. (6:03)
  • The dynamics and characteristics of the angel investing ecosystem (22:36)
  • How the ACA works with angel groups to help startups raise money easier (28:33)
  • How the ACA streamlines the investment process for angel groups (35:43)
  • The “pizza lunch test” and its significance in the angel group. (41:14)
  • Siemens partnership with the ACA (44:26)
  • Advice for entrepreneurs. (47:28)

Siemens Startups Program

At Siemens, we understand the struggles of early-stage startups. Let us remove the barriers on your startup journey by helping you transform your engineering ideas into real, marketable products with industry-leading software solutions. Join the Siemens Startups Program to grow your startup to its full potential. Want to get in touch? Reach out here.

Guest: Sandy Wollman

Guest: Sandy Wollman

Sandy is the Co-Founder/Managing Director for the Westchester Angels, board member of the Angel Capital Association and leads the ACA’s National Syndication efforts. Sandy’s career started with 3M as a Product Development Engineer for Hook and Loop Fasteners (Velcro).  While at 3M, he was awarded a patent for a woven fastener with superior tensile strength and reduced raw materials costs by over 25%. After, Sandy joined Carna Mills, a large textile converting company, in Manhattan’s notoriously challenging garment center. Sandy built the Indian Fabric division to one of the largest in the country. As garment producers started to source their own fabrics, Carna Mills and many other textile converters were forced out of business by the changing landscape.

Recreating himself, Sandy became a fee only Financial Planner and was an active member of the Financial Planning Association in Westchester. After leaving that industry a few years later, Sandy formed and self-funded The Small Business Advisory Alliance, a 501(C) 3 to help local small business owners. While running the SBAA, Sandy started running into startups that had scalable business models that were suitable for Angel Investing. Having researched the thriving angel space in NYC and learning there was no angel group in Westchester County, Sandy started The Westchester Angels with his partner Jeff Loehr.

Lastly, Sandy is an accomplished distance athlete having competed 3 Ironman Triathlons, The Swim Around Manhattan and was the 470th individual to swim the English Channel.

Host: Kevin Blevins

Host: Kevin Blevins

Kevin Blevins is the Portfolio Development Executive for SMB and Startup Companies and manages the Siemens Digital Industries Software Startup Program. He works with the Siemens sales organizations as well as Siemens Partners to engage and evangelize the Siemens Startup Program in the Americas. Kevin has spent more than 35 years in the Engineering and Manufacturing software industry. Prior to this he spent seven years in the automotive design industry. Kevin has been with Siemens for 33 years. During this time, he has held positions in Technical Support, Technical Sales Support Leadership, Sales Director for the Automotive Region, Partner Sales Executive, and his current position. Kevin has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI.

Established in 2015, Westchester Angels is a cohort of strategic investors and bold business leaders from across the Tri-State region. We share a passion for fueling the area’s most promising start-ups and setting them on a path of growth and success. But our interest in companies goes beyond just venture capital — we work closely with and mentor the entrepreneurs we invest in. Our members are also passionate about learning new things, building community, and having fun right here in Westchester. You can learn more about Westchester Angels here. 

Pioneers: Startups from Dreams to Reality Podcast

Pioneers: Startups from Dreams to Reality

Ideas alone can’t change the world. It takes grit, and serious funding. In Pioneers, host Kevin Blevins sits down with startup founders to discuss the startup lifestyle- from concept to execution- and the big ideas that fuel these pioneers. From the future of farming to autonomous flight, there’s no frontier too far.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/podcasts/startups/navigating-angel-investment-with-sandy-wollman/