Simpler Is Better

Published: 9/25/2007 7:33:06 AM, comments: 0

There's an idea floating around the VC world these days - the need to simplify legal documentation for angel rounds or smaller series A rounds of $1 million or less.

I would be a big fan of this idea, and I believe other angel investors as well as entrepreneurs would be supporters as well.

First, from the angel investor standpoint: no one likes having to go through several turns (versions) of a stack of documents.  Angel investors usually don't do this sort of thing for a living, they want to get down to the business of helping the company, or having a passive role.  So, they have little patience for this type of work.

As for entrepreneurs, most of them passionately dislike the idea of having to PAY for the stack of documents, since that is typically what happens.  The dislike it because here they are going hat in hand to get financing from VCs or wealthy individuals, and its the poor entrepreneur that must pay for the documents?  If a deal doesn't happen, they're stuck with the bill and no financing.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I bet there will be more frequent calls for simpler documentation, especially as the prevalence of web 2.0 type companies persists.

Don Jones


How To Work With Angel Groups

Published: 9/18/2007 9:44:08 PM, comments: 0

As part of a continuing series on getting financing for your venture startup from angel groups, this post deals with the all-important full presentation in front of the angel group.

Different angel groups have different formats, but one that is common is a 20-30 minute time slot alloted for your presentation, usually in a dinner setting in front of a few dozen to 60 angels.  At the angel group I'm a member of, the Band of Angels, you get 30 minutes total time.  We usually recommend that you limit your formal presentation to 20 minutes and allow 10 minutes at the end for question and answer.

At the Band, we also provide presentation coaching free of charge, and we highly recommend that as a presenter, you get the proper coaching you need, so that your "delivery" doesn't get in the way of your opportunity.  We used to see many company founders who didn't have good presentation skills - and their prospects for getting financing dropped accordingly, since their poor or unorganized method of delivering the message got in the way of the angel group members trying to decipher what the opportunity was.

There are many books written about the subject of presentations - but you need to be succinct, clear, and obvious in the market pain, how your company alleviates that pain and how you intend to go to market and actually sell the technology.  Whatever you do, never say that your business opportunity is "the next Google."  That will likely immediately end your chances of raising money from that angel group.  I've seen it happen.

In the Q&A period, expect to be hammered with tough questions.  Make sure you repeat the question for everyone to hear, and don't dodge it!  I've seen many cases where the presenter didn't answer the question directly, leaving the impression that she either didn't know the answer or didn't want to tell us.  Be clear and candid, and you'll have the best chance for success.

Don Jones


How To Work With Angel Groups - A Series

Published: 9/11/2007 7:59:10 AM, comments: 0

As part of a series on pursuing funding sources with angel groups, the next stop on the way to a successful financing is when the angel group has received your initial information and invites you to a short, in-person meeting.

Usually this meeting is set up to have you provide a 5 or 10 minute pitch about your offering and the remainder of the time is spent with various angel asking you broad-scope questions about you and other company management, the product or service status, the market, your proposed milestones with the financing amount and other topics.  Expect a very intense "grilling" at this meeting, since the group is looking for any signs that you aren't ready to present to the entire angel group at their next meeting.  I suggest being extremely well-prepared for this opportunity, bringing your business partners along to add their comments to yours.

Based on this meeting, you will either be asked to formally present to the angel group or not.  In a few cases, if it was a close call, you may be put in the queue for next month's process, and if you keep in touch with the angel group throughout that time and avoid letting the concept "stale out" in the group's mind, you may get the opportunity next time.

Don Jones


Getting The Most Out Of VentureDeal

Published: 9/4/2007 9:21:52 AM, comments: 0

As I previously mentioned in a blog post, we've been rolling out a number of new features and capabilities within the VentureDeal database.  One of the most powerful is our new "People Search."

We've now added the ability to search the thousands of senior management personnel at the technology companies in the database.  You can search by name, title, company and other versatile ways to obtain information on decision makers at the senior level of venture-backed technology companies.

This added capability can help many users of the database, from venture investors seeking to perform due diligence, to service firms wanting information about whom to target their services, and tech companies looking for additional contacts.

Let us know what you think.  We hope you find it useful.

Don Jones


Don Jones
CEO, VentureDeal

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