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Member Testimonial - Dr. Juliana Iarossi

Devon Smith
Devon Smith
Last updated: June 3, 2024
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Dr. Juliana Iarossi is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Juliana teaches corporate strategy, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial finance. She also teaches in the MS in Technology Innovation program in the College of Engineering and Computing.

In addition to teaching, Juliana also advises early-stage startups and is on the board at several organizations. Most of her activities are focused on helping organizations identify paths to becoming viable and durable. Before Juliana made the leap to teaching in 2013, she spent over 20 years in financial services with most of the major commercial and investment banks in a variety of roles and before that she worked as an engineer. She has also had the benefit of living all over the US and overseas. 

In 2012, Juliana started to invest in early-stage startups. With deep experience in due diligence, assessing risk, and analyzing investments and acquisitions, she felt comfortable making investments on her own. However, she decided that being part of an angel group provided access to broader investment opportunities, as well as the chance to learn from other angels who had different perspectives and industry experience. She joined Atlanta Technology Angels, as well as two other angel investment groups prior to joining VentureSouth. 

Juliana joined VentureSouth in 2017 because “VentureSouth has such a commitment to not only the Southeast, but also to the portfolio companies. VentureSouth helps the portfolio companies grow and thrive. I like the way VentureSouth constantly finds ways to develop what they are doing, and to bring more people together to embark on this mission to help build companies.” Juliana also notes how impressed she is with member engagement in the investment process. 

Juliana’s advice for new angel investors is focus on the why, what, and how. She advises new investors to be clear why they want to invest in early stage companies. For example, is it for economic development, investment return, to help build a certain technology or industry, or to keep their brain active. She also encourages new angels to identify what it is they want to invest in to narrow down investment choices since there is no shortage of deals in the pipeline and it can get overwhelming. For example, does an angel wish to stay in their area of expertise, is there an industry or technology of particular interest and what types of companies or deal structure do they want to avoid. Finally, she suggests that new investors think about how they want to deploy their funds in early stage deals. Does a new investor have a limit for this asset class or per deal and do they want to invest all at once or in stages. Once an investor has considered these issues, they will be better situated for what can be a profitable and fun journey!