I kicked off 2011 talking about gaining a better balance on the action/reflection cycle in recognition of the fact that the learning gets hard wired in the reflection stage. So here is what I am coding into myself today. What makes a great set of angel investors?
Last week, we moved our start-up into its next phase. The formal re-launch has begun, we even have a name for our NewCo: Veroha. We also got some amazing press from our partners at the State and Microsoft. But my favorite part of the week was our investor meeting. As I looked around the table at our investors I realized that we had done a great job of building the group. Why do I say that? Here is why.
Veroha is lucky to have investors with a wide range of industry experience. From money management, banking, industrial, healthcare, marketing and others. Each of these industries has paradigms, approaches and models. So when we look at different elements of our business everyone has a slightly different basis on which to evaluate or provide advice from. My job is to formulate the right questions, propose a suggested path and sit back and listen. When they agree I know that I have done a good job at looking at it from a bunch of angles. When they don’t I get a variety of feedback from which to synthesize our next move.
Experienced at Angel Investing
All of our investors have done this before. As an entrepreneur you may not think about this when an enthusiastic potential investor approaches you but it matters. Early stage investment is as different from investing as day trading is from investing in your 401K. There are a unique set of expectations regarding, everything from style (less formal more hustle) to volatility (less certain more learning). Walking is nothing more than a controlled fall forward and you have to be willing to lose your balance in order to move at all. Our investors know the drill and are pushing us forward not trying to get their balance.
Networked like a Mutha
Unlike starting a small business, seed funding for a start-up is not the last money you will need to raise. Our investors have networks. Some are angels in other start-ups that have recognizable names and have attracted additional capital. Some have networks in other start-up hubs like Silicon Valley, Boston and DC. All have personal networks that will help our company by providing advisors and introductions. Being located in Wilmington, Delaware is tough enough. Having these networks gives us all a great sense of confidence that, as we grow, someone will know someone who can help us to [fill in the blank].
I am humbled by the confidence this group has in us to execute and excited to show them that it is not misplaced. I know that our investors are an asset and they know that I will be mining that asset in order to accelerate, optimize, and guide our company. Our team is committed to making this opportunity a win for them and also a win for Wilmington. Based on the recent press, a lot of eyes our on us (is your Governor tracking your start-up? Billion dollar company saying you are “blazing the innovation trail”). Guess its time to JFDI !!!
- Business Angels Predicted To Spread Their Wings in 2011 (prweb.com)
- Beginners Guide: How To Approach An Angel Investor (urbanhorizon.wordpress.com)