The Team

Bob Crimmins
Bob CrimminsManaging Partner
Jay Westerdal
Jay WesterdalSr. Venture Partner
Arry Yu
Arry YuVenture Partner
Claudius Mbemba
Claudius MbembaInvestment Director

The Philosophy

Startup Haven Ventures is a pre-seed venture fund. While we do sometimes make direct investments, we principally invest through the Startup Haven Accelerator. If what you see below resonates loudly with you, your team and startup, please drop us a line. Note that elements of the information included here are subject to change.

Who We Are

  • We are a team of experienced, no-nonsense startup founders and operators.
  • We understand the startup experience because we all have lived it.
  • We want you to succeed, even if we can’t invest.

What We Invest In

  • We invest primarily (>80%) though the Startup Haven Accelerator programs. In exceptional circumstances (<20%) we invest directly into startups who have not completed one of our accelerator programs.
  • We invest in founders with discipline. Of course, we love to see that discipline aimed at intractable problems in meaningful markets and with vision and passion.
  • We invest in capital-efficient business models that can make material progress with limited resources. E.g., software, platforms, marketplaces, SaaS-enabled everything, AI/ML, cybersecurity, etc.
  • We invest in teams who have built something and who have achieved some early element(s) of progress/traction/commercialization.
  • We invest in founders who can tell a cogent story about how they can use our capital to achieve their next, right strategic milestone. “Cogent” is a technical term for us.
  • We currently only invest in founders residing in, and running companies domiciled in, North America.

What We Don’t Invest In

  • Capital intense businesses that require significant resources in order to get a product to market. Examples can include ‘hard’ hardware, biotech, anything brick and mortar.
  • Highly-regulated businesses that require long lead times and/or significant investment in order to attain compliance. Examples can include medical device, pharma, biotech (FDA); banking, crypto and other financial services (SEC, FinCEN); energy tech (EPA); food and agriculture (FDA, USDA).
  • Business that provide consumables that are considered pharmacological, nutritional, functional, dietary, therapeutic, etc.
  • Vices. Examples can include alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, pornography, gambling.
  • Services-based businesses for which a significant element of the value delivered to customers comes from selling people’s time.

How We Add Value

  • We do not invest in companies that we don’t think we can help or in founders who don’t want us to help.
  • Our team is comprised of experienced founders who have mentored, advised and invested in hundreds of venture-scale startup founders.
  • We listen, mentor, advise and connect. As founders ourselves, we can also relate, console and kvetch.
  • We leverage the Startup Haven network of more than 2,000 vetted venture-scale founders and investors to connect our founders with what they need.

What We Believe

  • We believe that great ideas, hard work, persistence, gumption and grit are absolutely necessary… and utterly insufficient.
  • We believe that discipline, math and cogency are superpowers.
  • We believe that capital is the fuel, not the solution.
  • We believe that most of the very best things that happen for early startups come from people they know and other experienced founders are the best people to know.

Startup Haven Accelerator (>80% of investments)

  • Startup Haven Accelerator is a unique and rigorous 3-month program that leverages the GroundWork Growth Methodology to help startups chart the path to growth.
  • Our Accelerator provides up to $150K exchange for 5% – 7% equity.
  • We have adopted a shared tuition model where both the startup and Startup Haven contribute to the costs of the accelerator program on a sliding scale based on funding amount, equity exchange and company stage. Tuition can range from $0 to $17k.
  • 100% of our mentors are experienced founders and investors. In addition to these ‘regular’ mentors, and each team is also assigned two executive mentors who work with every week throughout the entire program.
  • The Accelerator curriculum leverages the GroundWork Growth Framework to ensure that are positioned to achieve the absolute best outcomes possible.

Startup Haven Fund Direct (<20% of investments)

  • The Startup Haven Fund invests at the crossroads of growth, at the earliest stages of commercialization, where passion and discipline collide.
  • Startup Haven Fund writes checks from $50K to $300K
  • We write first checks into first rounds of $500K or less. (occasional exceptions up to $750k and rare exceptions up to $1M.)
  • We ascribe valuations from $1M – $4M. (Rare exceptions beyond $4M with meaningful traction.)
  • Our diligence process leverages the GroundWork Growth Framework to asses the impact our capital can have.
  • We’ll also ask you to complete a diligence questionnaire and to provide some common diligence documentation.