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As you have noticed, we have not been publishing much in the last 9 months.  Quite frankly, we don’t think we can be blamed.  The financial system has lost all credibility with the scandals, implosions, bail outs and what not.  Therefore, we are done.  We will not be posting any longer and we will not be answering inquiries any longer.

The Staff.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Tim Ferriss, author of the NYT best seller The 4 Hour Work Week, on a number of occaisons.  Each time I came away impressed.  Not only is Tim an approachable, humble guy, but he has incredible focus and makes insightful observations about how people can be more effective in their work and life.

Hedge fund managers have much to learn from Tim.  Every start up hedge fund manager should read his book.  Will it tell you how to make tons of money on only 4 hours of work per week?  Probably not.  However, it will give some great ideas on managing your time — and business — more effectivley.

In this instance, are you being effective in how you are reaching out to investors?  Whether your leads are warm or cold, how are you contacting them?  Are you getting to the point?  Are you being respectful of their time in how you are wording your email pitch?

The following post on Tim’s blog illustrates this point:

 … I’ve been able to see some of the worst e-mail pitches out there. Here is an example of how to do it properly, with 5 tips and good template phrases bolded:

Hi Tim,

I hope all is well (and I gather from your celebrity that it is—I can’t seem to go a week without seeing your book or name somewhere).

I know you place tremendous value on your time so I’ll be brief. The website I launched last fall (www.SmartRaise.com) has evolved into a much more far-reaching venture: a software company that provides fundraising optimization and online advocacy solutions for nonprofits. I’m raising $500-750k for the business, called Donor Loyalty Corp, and have a meaningful percentage of that already committed from various Angel investors.

Naturally, I’m courting a number of prospective Angels from my personal network to hopefully fill out the rest of the round. However, I was curious if your experience has taught you any lessons about identifying seed-stage investors and, more specifically, if you’ve come to know any Princeton Alums or other individuals who have an appetite for deals like these. I’ve attached my fundraising deck for some context.

I understand if you’re too busy to answer in depth or would prefer not to discuss the topic given our limited interactions in the past. However, if the professor in you has any pearls of wisdom or specific thoughts, they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance and I hope we can connect.Best,Robert J. Moore ‘06

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Here are a few notes on this e-mail and what makes it more likely to get a response:

1. It’s short and what he’s requesting is clear. No “let’s jump on the phone for 10 minutes; it’ll be worth your time.”

2. He made an impression in our initial meeting, and he hasn’t irritated me with zero-content “keeping in touch” e-mails. He hasn’t worn out his inbox welcome.

3. He makes it clear that he’s doing his part and has explored other avenues before asking for my help. It’s amazing how many would-be mentees or beneficiaries ask busier people for answers Google could provide in 20 seconds. That puts you on the banned list. Explicitly state what you’ve done to get answers or help yourself.

4. He used the executive recruiter referral trick. Seldom will a headhunter call a gainfully employed CXO-level executive and ask them to take another position. They’ll instead ask the exec if they know anyone who might be interested in position X. The intention is clear (might you consider this job over your current employer?), but it gives the executive a comfortable decline option.

5. He makes it clear that it’s OK if I can’t help or if I’m too committed elsewhere. This — paradoxically — makes it much more likely he’ll get a response, which he did.

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For most start up managers, the most difficult part of starting a hedge fund is raising investment capital.  I’m hoping you have read our previous posts about how to start the hedge fund.  Without a sound foundation for your business, it won’t matter how much investment capital you raise if your business is plagued with problems.

1. Rarely does someone invest their hard earned money with a manager solely based on theoretical results.  Therefore, you will have to put some “skin” in the game and invest your own money — and demonstrate results.  If your strategy is working and you begin to talk to others about your success, you will begin to attract interest — and investment capital.  Ask yourself, “how much of my own capital am I willing to invest?  As my fund grows, what percentage of my own capital will I keep in the fund?”  Tip: keep a substantial portion of your own money in the fund — it demonstrates your confidence in your strategy and abilities.

2. Make a detailed list of relatives, friends and business contacts who might be interested in making an investment. These people are “warm” contacts and are already comfortable with you. Contact them and tell them about your new venture and why you think you will be successful. Be sure your fund is equiped to accept investment capital immediately.  This goes back to my preface to this post — do you have all the necessary pieces in place for your fund?

3. Develop your pitch.  Keep it focused. Most likely you want to put together a Power Point presentation about your fund and strategy, so be sure to keep the number of slides to a maximum of 10.  I like to refer people to Guy Kawasaki about how to keep a pitch focused.  Kawasaki explains about how to put together a pitch for investors.  He offers great advice that applies to both high net worth investors as well as institutional investors.

Stay tuned.  We will  be publishing more tips on this topic in the future.

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An interesting article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal pointed out that some hedge fund managers who start up and fail have an easier time raising capital than those who never attract such attention.  In particular, the article highlights the rise and fall of Jeff Larson and his Sowood Capital Management firm.

So, let me get this straight … there is an inverse relationship between how big my fund blow up is and how much easier it is to raise capital for a new start up fund. 

And all the start up managers that are grinding it out day to day, week to week — what about them?  Well, obviously they would be well served to spend their time on destroying their funds, getting all sort of press about it and then, once they finish their “pennance”, they can return to start up a new fund and raise even more money.

Yeah, okay. Sure.  Its just like golf.  Just play a mulligan.  We advise otherwise.  Far better to grind it out and get good returns for your investors.  It will pay off for you and your investors in the end.

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And That’s The Week That Was, the Brounes & Associates market/economic commentary for the week ended May 2, 2008.

Wow. Talk about a busy week.  With Exxon-Mobil experiencing the second best corporate quarter EVER (and still disappointing investors), earnings season moved closer to completion and the results have not been half-bad (at least, not as bad as many anticipated).  Profits from overseas have been the savings grace for many multi-national companies.  Likewise, news about the economy seemed to invigorate investors as reports on labor and manufacturing depicted continued sluggishness, BUT the data beat most analysts’ more dire forecasts.  The Fed cut rates for the seventh time since 2004, but indicated that the move would be its last for a while (barring any unexpected developments).  The dollar rose from its recent doldrums; oil fell from its all-time highs; and investors went bargain shopping for yet another week.

Next week finds little in the way of significant earnings/economic data. Hopefully, no news is good news.   

Coming up in the week ahead:  ISM - Services (Monday), Consumer Credit (Wednesday), Trade Balance (Friday)

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Chicago, IL (PRWEB) April 22, 2008 — Hedge Fund Launch.com sees a difficult environment for start up and emerging hedge funds over the next several months. Fall out from the U.S. credit crisis, losses from “blue chip” hedge funds and a slowing economy have caused many allocations to hedge funds to cease. Hedge Fund Launch.com offers some insights to hedge fund managers trying to raise capital in this environment.

Hedge Fund Launch.com Core News

Industry performance: Returns  have not been great so far in 2008 and many believe this may continue until the U.S. credit crisis and economic landscape improve. This is causing a lot of previously earmarked hedge fund allocations to remain on the sidelines.

Read More

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This is good stuff and the kind of thing the mainstream press should note about the hedge fund industry: there is a lot of philanthropy and generosity!

 Last night, corporate sponsors, New York Knicks alumni and NYC high school basketball players came together for a night of basketball at the 2008 11th Annual Net Gain Tournament hosted by Youth, I.N.C. The tournament, which was held at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City, raised money for the organization Youth, I.N.C. Youth, I.N.C.’s Net Gain Program provides court time for high school basketball teams whose schools do not have gymnasiums and gives athletes the opportunity to participate in projects that help improve their communities. Over the past 11 years, the event has raised over $3 million and has provided basketball court time to more than 2,000 NYC high school students. More than $700,000 was raised for last night’s event.

The event kicked off with the second annual Hedge Fund vs. Private Equity All-Star game, featuring some of the most prominent names in the Hedge Fund and Private Equity community and coached by New York Knicks legends Allan Huston and Walt Clyde Frazier.  For the second year in a row, the Private Equity team beat the Hedge Fund team - final score was 32-24.

Additional tournament details and stats can be found directly below. Photos from the event can also be downloaded directly from: http://www.imagelinkphoto.com/youthinc.

2008 11th Annual Net Gain Tournament Stats:

Private Equity vs. Hedge Fund All-Star Game - For the second year in a row, Private Equity beats Hedge Fund 32-24!!

*    Private Equity team led by Ted Virtue, MidOcean Partners and coached by Allan Houston, New York Knicks alumni
-    Ted Virtue, MidOcean Partners (Captain)
-    Rob Berner, CVC Capital Partners
-    Ron Blaylock, GenNx360
-    Rick Schnall, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice
-    Jacob Capps, Lion Capital
-    Luke Long, Thomas H. Lee Capital
-    Rick Schifter, Texas Pacific Group
-    Michael Beal, Morgan Stanley

The Hedge Fund Team included:
-  Marc Lasry, Avenue Capital Group (Captain)
-  Ryan Renteria, Karsch Capital
-  Andrew Fishman, Schonfeld Group
-  Funsho Allu, AIG Investments
-  Steve Cronin, Schonfeld Group
-  Kyle Neptune    
-  Kevin Draughon

Half court shoot-out winner - Darius Garland from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School

Round-robin tournament (24 teams playing on 6 courts throughout the night) final championship game:

*   Wachovia vs. Bloomberg & Crestview
*   WINNERS: Bloomberg & Crestview
*   Final score 26 - 22

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Attached/linked please find And That’s The Week That Was, the Brounes & Associates market/economic commentary for the week ended April 18, 2008. Enough with the negativity. No more “gloom and doom”.It’s time for a newattitude. Bring back the bulls.  Apparently folks simply have had enough (at least, for one week that is).  While this week’s earnings reports were lackluster at best (for the most part), investors rejoiced that no new surprises surfaced.  Financials reported lower profits (and some losses), though the news came in as expected and the newfound sentiment seemed to be that the “worst of times” has now passed.  In fact, reports from a few “new economy” techs (IBM, Google) and “old economy” companies (Caterpillar) surpassed expectations and added to the euphoria.  Even some relatively weak economic releases couldn’t put a damper on the optimism.  Here to hoping the new “trend is your friend” (and we can all use a new friend these days). 

Coming up in the week ahead:  Existing Home Sales (Wednesday), Durable Goods Orders (Thursday), New Home Sales (Thursday)

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If you have your own family office or you work for one, I think you should take notice of this new association.  Not only is it very timely, I think their web site is very informative and well laid out.  In corresponding with the founder and CEO, Angelo Robles, he let me know that  The Family Office Association desires to engage exceptionally successful individuals and families towards their perfect vision, one that captures their heart and empowers them to take action on their family, business and philanthropic passions – secure in knowing that an elite advisory group constantly oversees and coordinates their affairs. The Family Office Association, compromised of select and exceptionally successful individuals, families, foundations, family offices, family firms and elite advisors – organizes exclusive world-class: events, speakers and resources.

They have a very nice page about alternative investments with accompanying resources.  It is worth checking out.

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Attached/linked please find And That’s The Week That Was, the Brounes & Associates market/economic commentary for the week ended April 11, 2008. Welcome to 1st quarter 2008 earnings season and consider yourself warned by Thomson Financial (and virtually everyone else) not to expect much.  (And with those low expectations, Alcoa, UPS, and GE did not disappoint.)  While airlines struggle to afford the surging gasoline prices, management also decided they probably should start abiding by certain FAA regs.  Alan Greenspan became the latest culprit in the ongoing financial crisis “blame game” as many of those same folks who proclaimed him a genius a few years ago are now taking their shots about how he ran the Fed.  (Take note, Dr. B. they can turn on you quickly.)  Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, News Corp and Time Warner all talked about ways to revolutionize the Internet ad and search games (and who should buy whom in the process).   And, through it all, investors seemed to take it all in stride (until Friday that is).   

Coming up in the week ahead:  Retail Sales (Monday). PPI (Tuesday), CPI (Wednesday), Housing Starts (Wednesday), Industrial Productions (Wednesday), Leading Indicators (Thursday)

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