August 28, 2007

New Invite-Only Investor Network!

We’ve been quietly spending the summer working on a private, invite-only social network for angel investors and VCs — think Linkedin with a focus around deals. One of the things that we pride ourselves on (at FundingUniverse) is the quality of our investor network. Every single investor on our site has gone through both an internet and phone interview to prove her legitimacy as an angel. We’ve now taken that one step further by closing off open registration to angels and making it an invite-only private network.

Now, investors that join our network will be able to connect to other like-minded angels from across the country. They’ll be able to see each other’s investment preferences and boast their personal investment portfolio. Collaboration and syndication on deals has never been easier.

One of the hidden gems of the service is the tool we’ve developed for investment groups. Any investor can create his/her own private investment group online — it doesn’t matter if the group consists of 2 friends casually looking at deals or 80 active members of a large angel group — the tools will work for both.

Let me give you a quick example: let’s say that 2 friends and I want to do some casual investing on the side. By the click of the mouse, I can create and name my own group, invite my 2 friends, and start adding interesting deals to our group watch list. Now, anytime 1 of the 3 of us logs in, the 3 of us will all see the deals that are on our group watch list. We can make private comments to each other regarding the deals and even send out a quick email to the group inviting each other to come & “vote” on the deals.

The service adds deal flow, organization, and easy communication to any investment group.

After a few demos, we already have small and large groups of angels adopting the tools. As the quality and quantity of our investor network grows, so will the quality and quantity of quality deals (and vice versa).

I don’t know a group of individuals that are more “relationship-based” than angels and VCs. Their world is all about who you know and they place a lot of emphasis on their network. At every event, many angels are coming to me asking… “who’s that gentleman that….” or “tell me about what investor x has done…” With our new service — that will all come very easy.

(If you are an investor and are interested in an invitation, feel free to contact me personally at bblake at

It’s heating back up

Summers are pretty dang slow in the investment world.  It’s weird that almost everything (including new deal introductions) almost come to a stand still during the summer.  Most angel investment groups don’t meet during the summer and personal meetings are few and far between.  As a result, I was anxious for the fall to come around to see some of the deal flow pick back up.

I think that we are off to a great start for the Fall of 2007 because there are already a handful of exciting companies that we have seen here in Utah.  Tomorrow’s our first SpeedPitching luncheon since June 6th and I’m excited to see how things turn out with the companies that are presenting.  We have a nice mix of companies and industries — including technology, telecom, wholesale retail, energy, and food.

August 21, 2007

Carl Schramm Gives an Entrepreneurial Pep-talk

I’m about 15 minutes into a smokin’ podcast address by Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation, given at Stanford University earlier this month.

Description of the talk from the website:

Carl Schramm, President of the Kauffman Foundation, examines the vital role of entrepreneurship in the changing economy. He emphasizes how entrepreneurs have a positive influence on the American economy by creating ways to reinvent and innovate the rules of life. For example, half of the jobs created in 2007 are from firms less than five years old. Entrepreneurs teach us about human needs we did not know existed, create jobs that provide security for people, and generate social welfare, he says.

I had the chance to see Carl speak at an ACA event in NYC last year and came away well inspired. I think you’ll get the same vibe from this address.