Interview With Rich Diemer
Fund / GroupCAV Angels
Number of portfolio companiesOver 30
Focus AreasUVA Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Focus GeographiesWe follow UVA entrepreneurs wherever they are
Stage(s)Primarily pre-seed and seed stage
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT CAV ANGELS?
CAV Angels is organized as a not-for-profit with education as its primary focus. Our mission is to be recognized as one of the most esteemed and effective angel groups in the country to catalyze UVA alumni's engagement in the burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem and mobilize the highest levels of investment in the most promising early stage companies. We are approaching 400 total members, including 125 accredited investors and more than half of our total membership being students.We enable experiential learning for both our students and our educational members and have invested over $10MM into the UVA entrepreneurial ecosystem over the last two calendar years.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU GET STARTED IN PRIVATE INVESTING?
It was a hole in my personal investment portfolio and I joined CAV as there was a need for someone to run the back office elements. So I learned from Jim Cheng and Dick Crawford , my partners, who are experienced early stage investors. When COVID-19 presented itself I stepped up to run the groups full time.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU VALUE IN AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY?
Potential rewards in excess of the risks undertaken.
WHAT ARE THE BEST INNOVATION THEMES THAT YOU SEE IN THE MARKET TODAY?
Productivity enhancing tools, health care innovation, material science enabling ESG, Prop, Ag and Edtech.
BEYOND ECONOMIC RETURN, WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO?
CAV Angels is organized as a not-for profit with education as our primary mission. Other than our undergraduate interns, there are no members on the payroll. So I think of it as an additional, non-traditional way of giving back and hopefully our investments will provide returns for our investing members to give back more to UVA in both traditional and non-traditional ways.
WHAT ARE THE MOST PRESSING CHALLENGES OR PAIN POINTS IN MANAGING YOUR DAY-TO-DAY PRIVATE INVESTMENT ACTIVITY?
Deploying technology and process improvements (like Clockwork) to enable us to deal with outsize growth in membership and investment opportunities.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST INVESTMENT LESSON YOU'VE LEARNED AND/OR THE BIGGEST INVESTMENT MISTAKE YOU'VE MADE?
Trusting without verifying. Like a good auditor, a good investor should always visit Missouri (the “show me” State)!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE INDUSTRY INFORMATION SOURCES AND/OR SERVICES?
Barrons every Sunday morning.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE NON-BUSINESS INTEREST OR HOBBY?
UVA Sports and hopefully travel again in the near future.
PLEASE LEAVE US A BOOK RECOMMENDATION (BUSINESS OR OTHERWISE).
The Third Revolution by Elizabeth Economy.
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE PRIVATE MARKET OVERALL?
Cautiously optimistic so I'd go with a 7 particularly as it relates to the DMV area where we see a concentration of our investment opportunities.. Remember that to the vast majority of the private market the Mid Atlantic is thought of as a developing if not an undeveloped market. Take advantage of all the money that's out there looking for a home . Don't fall victim to it.