February 18, 2008

Silicon Valley Angel Investors Panel

I spent some time watching/listening to a panel of Silicon Valley Angel investors moderated by Guy Kawasaki.  The panel featured three rock-star bay area angels including:

  1.  Andy Bechtolsheim:  Co-Founder and Chief Architect and Sr. VP, Network Systems, Sun Microsystems — Google’s first angel investor
  2. Ron Conway:  Independent Angel Investor, former Founder & Managing Partner of Angel Investors LP — probably one of the most active angels I’ve heard of (he has invested in over 120 companies over the past couple years)
  3. Dr. Ian Sobieski:  Managing Director, Band of Angels Fund

Here are a few highlights and tips from the video:

  • Ron and Andy told the “Google Story” — how & when they first invested in Google.
  • Non-intended “plug” for our Speedpitching events from each of the investors:  “within 5 minutes, I can know if I’m interested.”
  • Why is an angel preferred to a VC?
  • What is the primary motivation of angel investors?  Obviously each angel wants to make money, but beyond that, the angel likes to interact and work with entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs are the future.  They also want to be able to give back and be a part of something where they can lend help and expertise.
  • Guy does a good job moderating and getting to the meat of the conversation:  how do you find deals?  What should the entrepreneur’s pitch look like?  (Keep it short:  1-4 page executive summary, no more than 20 page PPT, etc.)
  • “Planning is essential.  Plans are useless.”  The process of writing a business plan is important for the internal success of the company… but the document that you submit to investors should be a very shortened version focused on management, market/financial opportunity, sustainable competitive advantages, and traction.

Highly recommended.  If you are an entrepreneur trying to raise investment capital, check it out!




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