Presentation yesterday at Kellog School of Management’s Coral Gables campus by Troy Knauss of Angel Resource Institute, sponsored by Accelerated Growth Partners, Kauffman Foundation and Greenberg Taurig. Angel investments are typically mid-six figure series A rounds in businesses with a low seven figure valuation. 60% of angel investors have a $1M – $2½M net worth and are looking to invest 10% or less of that across a dozen start-ups, so funding a round often requires syndicating across multiple angel funds or networks. Angels are significantly more prevalent than VCs, so most angel funded business are sold without going on to VC funding or an IPO. Angel portfolios have significant risk and volatility, but with adequate diversification a 20% return is achievable, though funds may be locked up for 3-10 years. Angel funding in the south-east US is less available, meaning investors can negotiate more restrictive terms, but less capital also puts funded businesses at a disadvantage against competitors from better funded regions. Topics covered included due diligence, term sheets, valuations and board involvement.
Well attended event last night hosted by Brian Breslin, filling the Storer auditorium at the Miami University Business School. Pitches for the upcoming Americas Venture Capital Conference at FIU and Lead305.org before a panel discussion including Ed Toro, Charles Irizari, Steve Repetti and Stewart Davis. Topics discussed:
- The best way of finding a tech co-founder is to attend tech community events. Tech leads, like investors, expect entrepreneurs to be able to articulate their ideas, for example with a two minute online video.
- Asking for an NDA too quickly is unlikely to be agreed to. Having an established relationship with a tech lead makes a less formal pitch more likely to be listened to.
- Ideas without the ability to execute are worth little, all sides should be looking for partners they believe can get things done: startups are much less forgiving than working in a larger corporate environment.
- Ultimately the goal is to find an idea that can be turned into a company, and find compatible partners that can raise funds, build a product and operate a business. Red flags include a lack of respect and too much ignorance of the technology that the business is built on.
- Tech leads may not be strong at negotiation but they will typically value equity at 25-50% of it’s current valuation when calculating their total compensation. Tech lead’s equity should be vested over time in case they fail to execute.
- Capital in Southern Florida can be a problem as 90% of the wealth is from real estate development and not very tech savvy. Nonetheless individuals can be found through networking.