This is Technically Baltimore’s Better Know an Angel. We hope to use this space to highlight local angel investors investing in Baltimore-based startups. If you’re an angel investor interested in being profiled here, complete this questionnaire.
Tom “TK” Kuegler is a self-proclaimed Baltimore boy and Kenwood High School graduate, even though he lives in New Hampshire now. The 42-year-old investor is the general partner with Wasabi Ventures, which has offices in Silicon Valley and Charm City and focuses most of its resources on early-stage startups (in order to “grow the pie”). He doesn’t care if your startup gets mentioned on TechCrunch, but he does care if it makes money.
What did you do before becoming an angel investor?
I have always been an entrepreneur. So I was involved in a variety of technology startups throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Name the top three things you consider before investing in a startup.
- We invest at the earliest stage, so the team is the most important aspect.
- Second is whether the team is dreaming large enough and can build a fundable business.
- Do we think we can add value to the company? If not we are just dead weight.
Name one local company you’ve recently invested in.
We have invested in two edtech companies in the last 60 days that are based in Baltimore. Both are still stealth and hope to be public in the next 90 days.
Have any of Wasabi’s portfolio startups been acquired?
The last one sold from our portfolio was Gaston Labs. Facebook acquired [it] last month. Wasabi Ventures has had nine portfolio companies acquired in the last 12 months.
Why do you invest in Baltimore-based companies?
I grew up in Baltimore. So I have a soft spot to try and do my small part to make Baltimore a tech hub. But more than that, I believe Baltimore is poised to be a great startup space in the next 10 years. The universities, the location, the collective mental state and the people are all coming together to make magic happen.
What’s one thing you would change about the startup scene in Baltimore?
I would love to run into more folks willing to roll the dice and take a big risk. The risk appetite has to go up for founders. They don’t necessarily have to quit their jobs to do this. They just need to be willing to make the leap.
How can entrepreneurs get in touch?
My door is ALWAYS open. Just e-mail me: email@example.com
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