Venture Finance SIG: Evening with the Harvard Angels



  • Pre-registration is now closed; please register at the door.

    Topic: Evening with the Harvard Angels
    A new, and active, angel group is in town - the Harvard Angels -  comprised of alumni of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Northern California and the Harvard Club of San Francisco.   This group, which has been operating for approximately 1 year, has been very busy investing in deals on the early stage - from $100,000 to $500,000 in range.  Come listen to members of the Selection Committee responsible for choosing presenters and get the opportunity to do a short pitch to the group at the event.   At the event, the Harvard Angels will talk about their approach to investing, how to write an effective executive summary and give an effective funding pitch, the common traits of those companies selected to present and those which ultimately were funded.  We will select 8 ventures to do short 3 minute pitches followed by 3 minutes of feedback from the group at the event (speed angel dating).  

    Note: If you are interested in presenting, please send your no more than 2 page executive summary to Tom Cervantez, Co-Chair of the VC Sig, at [email protected] by no later than May 15th.


    -Come Lague, Active Angel and VC with Nueva Ventures
    -Sajjad Masud, Angel
    -J.C. Sarner, Angel Investor

    Tom Cervantez - Moderator, Corporate Partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP


    Presenter's BIOs:

    Come Lague, Active Angel and VC with Nueva Ventures
    CÔme has been an active angel investors for a number of years and recently joined the Harvard Angels Selection Committee.   In addition to his angel activities, Come is presently the founder and Managing Partner of Nueva Ventures. He currently serves on the Boards of Validare and W&W Communications and is an advisor to Collarity, Pharmacy TV Networks, RivalWatch and Soundflavor.

    Prior to starting Nueva Ventures, CÔme was a serial entrepreneur and investor in several start-ups. Most recently he was co-founder and CEO of CDR International, a bootstrapped start-up providing telecommunications services between the US and emerging markets in Africa using disruptive VoIP technology. While managing CDR, he was an investor and acting CFO to OQO, the industry pioneer in ultra-mobile personal computing, as it grew from the founding team to over 55 employees. He formed an investment fund, Acacia Capital Partners, to bridge OQO to its first institutional venture round and secured venture debt and other creative working capital to maintain capital efficiency.

    Previously, CÔme was CFO of LearningBrands, a start-up that provided an Internet-based adaptive learning platform used by companies to teach their customers and build brand loyalty. He oversaw its growth from seed funding to over 60 employees. Prior to this he was COO and co-founder of Adesemi Communications, a company that launched cellular and other wireless networks in Africa. CÔme built operations from scratch to over 200 people worldwide and led new business development and acquisitions across Africa. He was instrumental in securing the first-ever second national operator license on the continent in Ghana in partnership with Western Wireless.

    CÔme started his career as a strategy consultant at the Monitor Company where he consulted on strategic and operational issues across a broad variety of sectors. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree in electrical/computer engineering from McGill University and a MBA from the Harvard Business School.

    Sajjad Masud, Angel Investor
    Sajjad is an entrepreneur and a consultant and advisor to startups, as well as an angel investor and member of the Harvard Angels group. Sajjad is passionate about working with entrepreneurs, and in helping and guiding them through different phases of a startup's growth lifecycle. As an executive, Sajjad has over 15 years of marketing and strategy leadership experience in the software, internet & technology-enabled services space. An out-of- the-box thinker with an entrepreneurial spirit and a well-balanced  combination of  deep business insights, strategic thinking and  technology expertise, Sajjad  brings proven leadership skills in identifying a growth opportunity and then helping and organizing high-caliber teams to strategize, collaborate, and deliver on  that opportunity.

    Sajjad was founder & CEO of Apvision, a software & services company providing compliance-enabling business solutions to the financial services sector.

    Prior to that, he held leadership positions in product marketing and management with several venture funded startups in the software and infrastrcuture space. Sajjad began his career at Oracle Corporation where he held engineering and consulting positions, leading teams and working directly with Fortune 2000 companies. Sajjad has an MBA from Harvard Business School and  an MSE (Computer Science & Engineering) from The University of  Michigan, Ann Arbor.

    J.C Sarner

    J.C Sarner is an active angel investor and member of the Harvard Angels Selection Committee. J.C has been focusing his attention on three sectors: Software, Entertainment and Green-Tech. A high-tech veteran, J.C brings operational expertise developed over the course of a 20-year general management, sales and marketing career in the software industry.

    J.C Sarner has started a number of businesses and organizations from scratch, successfully bringing software solutions to developers of internet infrastructure, telecom, automotive and other electronic devices. He participated in the creation of the Microcomputer Software Group at Intel, before taking leading roles at software companies such as Diab Data, Integrated Systems and creating a new business unit at Wind River.

    On the M&A front, J.C Sarner has repeatedly been on both sides of the coin. In particular, he co-founded Optimizing Software Tools, Inc. where he was instrumental in the management buy-out of Diab Data. J.C holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School, where he graduated in 1984.

    Moderator: Tom Cervantez, Davis Wright Tremaine
    Tom Cervantez is a Corporate Partner with the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in San Francisco and founder of the Golden Gate Angels and Harvard Angels (angel investor groups in SF). Tom has over 15 years experience working as a lawyer in the venture capital and startup technology company field in Silicon Valley. Tom's core area of focus is the securities and finance field, with a focus on helping emerging growth companies, venture funds, and software and hardware computer companies navigate issues concerning securities, capital structure planning, private placements, mergers and acquisitions, venture financing and licensing transactions. Tom has also participated at an operating level at several companies, including a venture fund, boutique investment bank and an ISP. Tom is also an active angel investor in the computer, communications and networking sectors and runs the Harvard Angels (angel group for Harvard Business School NorCal Alum and Harvard Club SF) and the Golden Gate Angels investor group in San Francisco. Tom holds a Bachelor's in Business Administration, magna cum laude, from Loyola Marymount University, a JD from Harvard Law School and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

    Event Logistics 


    DLA Piper LLP
    2000 University Ave.(University Circle)
    East Palo Alto, CA 94303
    Tel: 650.833.2000
    Note: These are the tall buildings on the corner of University Avenue and Woodland Avenue on the west side of Hwy. 101. They are in the University Circle complex.


    6:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Registration / Networking / Refreshments

    7:00p.m.-8:30 p.m. Presentation (starts promptly at 7:00pm)


    $20 SDForum members

    $30 Non-SDForum members

    More on the Venture Finance SIG...