November 15, 2007

TechCoast Angels: Luis Villalobos Speaks

FundingUniverse was fortunate enough to be able to participate in today’s Utah Angel Summit.  It ended up being a fantastic turnout with nearly 100 angels, vcs (and some service providers) in attendance.

Luis Villalobos, the founder of the world’s largest angel group (Tech Coast Angels), was the keynote speaker and he did an amazing job.  You can tell the Luis has been around the block and knows his stuff.

Here are a few things that stuck out in my mind:

  • I was very impressed with his approach of “transforming” a company into a great deal.  He spoke about how 99% of the deals are not great deals when they first come to you… BUT, as an investor, you can transform good opportunities into great ventures.  The concept was refreshing because so many investors just automatically “pass” when they see the smallest concern in the deal.
  • He mentioned a few signs of the type of CEO he looks for:
    • Impeccable Integrity:  It’s more than the normal “not going to lie, steal, etc.” integrity.  Luis is talking about the type of entrepreneur that identifies problems (early) and takes responsibility (as opposed to hiding problems, making excuses, shifting responsibility, etc.)
    •  Knows Business Model:  the CEO that knows exactly what the business has to do to be successful and focuses on them — and we’re talking about the nitty gritty key drivers/statistics.
    • Continually Measures:  Piggy-backing on the last concept… the CEO is continually tracking, analyzing, and adjusting the key metrics of the business.
    • Knows how to Connect the Dots:  The CEO just makes things happen.
    • Motivational:  The CEO can motivate his/her team.  Can recruit team members and communicate vision.
    • Focuses on Value to the Customer:  The CEO is more focused on delivering value to the customer (over revenue/profits) because they know that customer value = success.
  • Luis knows angel investing inside and out.  He knows what to focus on.  He knows how to bring value to the company.  He has built a very successful and well-performing angel group.

Even though the event was for the angel investor, I always encourage entrepreneurs to attend those types of events.  To me, the more that you know about the investor’s motives and expectations… the better.

Thanks to Luis for a great event today!