Hambleton Lord and Christopher Mirabile Are Changing the Face of Angel Investing

By: Sarah Dickey, ACA Membership Director

Boston-Area Angels Hambleton Lord and Christopher Mirabile Receive Hans Severiens Award for Individual Impact in Advancing the Field of Angel Investing. 

With their shared dedication to professionalize angel investing, commitment to educate the angel community and decades long friendship, it is easy to understand why Hambleton Lord and Christopher Mirabile have been so successful at changing the face of angel investing. Ham and Christopher met in the busy Boston angel investing community where they both started and operated angel networks. As friends, they quickly sensed the potential for partnership, and in 2010 joined forces and merged their groups to build what is now a nationally-recognized angel network, Launchpad Venture Group. Keenly aware of the need to build, support and professionalize angel investing, they devoted their partnership energies over the last decade to writing books and articles about angel investing, as well as speaking, developing courses and teaching. In 2018, they granted the Angel Capital Association a no-fee license to their entire library of training materials to help found ACA University. During their partnership, they also used their software industry experience to build a portfolio management tool, Seraf, which has grown to become a highly-regarded product.

This week, Ham and Christopher were awarded the prestigious Hans Severiens Award, ACA’s annual award recognizing individual’s wok in advancing the field of angel investing. The 2021 honorees have been invaluable contributors to the angel and ACA communities. "Ham and Christopher are not only two of the smartest and most thoughtful angel investors I've ever met, but they have literally moved the 'knowledge needle' for hundreds of thousands of investors and entrepreneurs across North America and the world," said Marianne Hudson, ACA's founder and executive director emeritus.  "They have created high quality education courses and articles to help investors make better decisions and entrepreneurs to understand the investment process to attract the capital they need.  Through Seraf, they also created powerful tools for investors to manage their investments, particularly helping investors to learn the factors that lead to greater success."

Ham is an engineer by training. He received an Sc.B. degree in Computer Science from Brown University. After graduating, Ham became an active member of the Boston entrepreneurial community. In the early part of his career he was on the founding team of three software companies: MicroChem Technologies, Polygen and Advanced Visual Systems. More recently, he co-founded Seraf to help build software tools and educational materials for the angel investment community. In addition to his role at Seraf, Ham is the Chairman of New England’s largest angel group, Launchpad Venture Group. At Launchpad, Ham managed the group for 20 years as it invested over $100 million in the Boston tech ecosystem. Ham regularly publishes articles on all aspects of angel investing and co-authored six books with Christopher Mirabile including: Fundamentals of Angel Investing; Angel Investing by the Numbers; Venture Capital - A Practical Guide; Leaders Wanted - Making Startup Deals Happen; Guide, Advise and Inspire - How Startup Boards Drive Growth and Exits; and The Entrepreneur’s Journey. 

“As one of the old timers in angel investing, I have fond memories of the early days just prior to the formation of the Angel Capital Association,” said Hambleton Lord.  “The initial two meetings of this fledgling group were held at the MIT and Stanford Faculty Clubs in 2002. I was a newcomer to angel group leadership at the time, and I distinctly remember my initial conversations with Hans Severiens, Marianne Hudson, Bill Payne, Bob Goff, Sue Preston and many others. Their insight and knowledge of running angel groups was extremely helpful to me as I was just beginning to get Launchpad Venture Group off the ground. For many years, I was a regular attendee at ACA meetings all over the country. I looked forward to reconnecting once or twice a year with such a collegial group. It was ACA’s mission of bringing best practices to the angel investing community that inspired me to work with Christopher Mirabile in developing content and training materials for angel investors all over the world. It’s gratifying to realize that our content is regularly read and applied by thousands of angel investors. After all I learned from individuals like Hans, it’s a good feeling to pay it forward to the next generation of investors.”

Christopher is the Chair Emeritus of the Angel Capital Association, Senior Managing Director of Launchpad Venture Group, and a general partner and Managing Director in early stage funds Race Point Capital Fund I & II. Christopher serves on the U.S. Securities And Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee, where he chairs the Investor as Owner SubCommittee. Earlier in his career, Christopher served as a public company CFO with IONA Technologies PLC, a management consultant with Price Waterhouse's Strategic Consulting Group, and as a corporate and securities lawyer at a large Boston law firm. In addition to his role as a Co-Founder of Seraf, Christopher is a full-time angel and an active member of the Boston-area angel investing community. Not only does he help manage Launchpad’s portfolio of 75+ companies, he has personally invested in over 65 start-up companies and is a limited partner in five specialized angel funds. Christopher is also a board member, advisor and mentor to numerous start-ups, and a frequent panelist and speaker on entrepreneurship and angel-related topics. He serves as an adjunct lecturer in Entrepreneurship in the MBA program at Babson, regularly publishes articles and eBooks on all aspects of early stage investing, and has co-authored six books with Ham Lord including: Fundamentals of Angel Investing; Angel Investing by the Numbers; Venture Capital - A Practical Guide; Leaders Wanted - Making Startup Deals Happen; Guide, Advise and Inspire - How Startup Boards Drive Growth and Exits; and The Entrepreneur’s Journey.

“I was initially drawn to angel investing because of my fascination with emerging technology, but, to my surprise, what I found was a community of some of the smartest, most far-sighted and most giving people I had ever had the pleasure of associating with,” said Christopher Mirabile.  “Working in this community, particularly through my public policy committee and Chair roles at the ACA, I came to appreciate the incredibly important role angels play in our economy in terms of job creation, national competitiveness, and social mobility. Ham Lord and I eventually came to see it as our mission to help professionalize angel investing to the best of our ability by sharing our learnings through book writing, blogging, course development and teaching. It has been the defining pleasure of my professional life to give back to this community. I look forward to the coming decades with excitement.”

Congratulations Ham and Christopher for this achievement!

About the Award

The Hans Severiens Award is presented annually to recognize an individual or team of individuals' work in advancing the field of angel investing. Consideration for nomination is intentionally broad, from legislators to industry leaders to academia, in recognition of the broad reach and impact of angel investing. Individuals may be self or third-party nominated.

Criteria for selection include the following:
1. Depth and breadth of impact on advancement of angel investing.
2. Leadership in bringing awareness to the vital role of angel investing in the support of entrepreneurial companies.
3. Contribution to the knowledge base of angel investing.
4. Respect and recognition by peers for contributions to the angel investment industry.
5. General accomplishments which have influenced or benefited the angel investment community.