Last month, entrepreneur Matt Mireles published a tweet, asking: “Why is TechStars NYC run by a non-entrepreneur?”
The “non-entrepreneur” in question is 29-year-old David Tisch, whose grandfather built Loews into a Fortune 100 company that operates hotel chains, and whose family’s largess has helped bankroll numerous institutions, including the Tisch Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Since 2007, the young Tisch has been seed-funding startups with his brothers. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has also started two Internet companies, both of which were shuttered in less than a year’s time.
Surely, Mireles isn’t the first to wonder whether someone with Tisch’s background can fully appreciate the challenges that struggling entrepreneurs face. But the New York angel community’s reaction to Mireles’s apparently sincere question was surprisingly harsh. “I would recommend reserving judgment until you meet and know someone before you insult them publicly and passive-aggressively,” tweeted Chris Paik of Thrive Capital, a seed-fund in New York. Josh Stylman, an entrepreneur and seed investor who has stakes in Betaworks and GroupMe among other startups, called Mireles a “judgmental d**chebag” on Twitter.
Other comments were milder although somewhat defensive. “David is one of the good guys,” tweeted Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon, who is also a member of the seed-stage investment group Founder Collective. (Tisch smartly declined to weigh in, at least publicly.)