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The Million Dollar Question about Angel Investors

kamolahykamolahy subscriber Posts: 27
edited January 2008 in Startup Funding
Okay, I just got done listening to the brothers talk about angel investing. Needless to say it was informative in good and bad ways. I noticed myself lamenting a certain fact.
I kept hearing Frank Hennessey talk about his major three things he looks for in a business to invest in. One of them was "legitimate business experience". However, I never got a sense for what this was supposed to mean.
These days, there are a lot of us who are young.. college age even. We are looking to go into tech... the good news there is that we know the market well, often better than the seasoned business individuals with more age behind them. Our age group is more likely to be early adopters, and you see tons of businesses like Facebook, Skinnycorp (Threadless), or even Digg emerge with a degree of success despite not having business experience out the wazoo.
I guess my question is this.. If we had that kind of business experience, a product that was already at market, and a great idea... what`s the point? Is there no such thing as seed level funding anymore? It sounds like some of these Angels are just as hard to work with as VCs.
Frankly, a lot of the draw to an Angel for me is the experience. I was under the impression that they really were there for that. We need seed level funding from an investor that believes in our skill set, knows us as people, understands our idea and has seen the terrible hours of research and writing for a business plan, and will just give us the go ahead for development.
It seems like a bit of an oxymoron to me. If i have a company that`s doing well, has a great idea, growing, has a product, and is run by a team experienced business folk.. don`t  you think it`s time for either large scale VC funding or a better plan to grow the business?
I understand that there are angels out there who are going to fund a business to keep it up and keep it through rocky early red periods... that`s understandable. I guess I`m lamenting the myth that once was seed funding.


  • RichRich administrator Posts: 582 Site Admin
    such a great post. thanks!
    i totally respect your predicament and agree with it. but you should take heart - billions of dollars are invested by angels annually. the radio interview you listened to was the opinion of one angel investor with his own set of criteria. another "angel" might not stress a long record of business experience as much. in fact, some of the hottest businesses this year are the work of people who two years ago had no business experience. i might be off by a year or two, but just look at Facebook as you say...
    experience in business is extremely valuable. HOWEVER, sometimes the strength of a business plan, a willful newbie entrepreneur, extraordinary people brought in to develop an opportunity, etc., can overcome the missing business experience you heard mr. hennessey include in his list.
    don`t be deterred!
  • ObsidianLaunchObsidianLaunch subscriber Posts: 7
    You may want to check out growth accelerators.  Lucky Napkin and Y Combinator are a couple that I recommend.
    ObsidianLaunch1/24/2008 9:05 PM
  • robertjrobertj subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    I totally understand your frustration. Banks love to loan money to those who really don`t need it and refuse those who really do need it.
    That said, I`d like to add a few general comments:

     There are many sources of business capital
    Capital sources are not a homogeneous group. They don`t all think the same.
    Just like "prospects" - capital sources don`t always give the real reason for their decision to not participate.
    To catch the kind of fish you want, you need to be fishing in the "right" pond and using the "right" bait.

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