Mike is a principal at Blu Venture Investors, a co-founder and partner of WISE Gateway LLC, a wealth management research company, and a founder and managing partner of The Kostoff Group LLC, an advisory firm focusing on the wealth management, private banking, and retirement services businesses. He currently serves on the boards of several Blu portfolio companies, as director for GroupSense and Vagabond Vending and as board observer for ID.me. Previously, he was both a board member and then Chairman of the Board for 1st Portfolio Holding, a financial services provider in the DC area. Before that, he managed the financial services practice for the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), including research programs across the financial services spectrum. In addition, he served as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army for 9 years.
As an early stage investor, Mike enjoys being on the cutting-edge of technology and having the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs who are building these firms, particularly in the cyber security industry.
Management and Strategy Consulting
Sales and Marketing
What sectors most interest you?
The cyber-security world—I am a former Intelligence Officer, and helping firms detect, manage and mitigate the risks of cyber threats appeals both to my interests and my background.
What drives you to invest in early stage companies?
I enjoy being on the cutting-edge of technology—and the kinds of companies that Blu Venture Investors invests in provide me with the unique opportunity to both see the latest technologies and to help launch these technologies. Moreover, investing in early stage companies gives me the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs who are building these firms—which is probably the most exciting part of the Blu opportunity!
What do you look for in a startup company?
First, I look for a company with a differentiated product in a growing marketplace. Second, I look for a company that understands how to market and sell—and knows how to manage cash. Finally, and most importantly, I look for a leadership team that is smart, flexible and coachable—as in my mind the leadership of the company is the most important driver of success.