Half of the 34 companies Jeff Rusinow has invested in during the last 14 years have either gone bust or are gasping for air, the veteran angel investor told more than 400 people involved in the start-up community.

But most of the other half of those companies have produced a combination of strong potential and profitable exits that keep Rusinow investing in state-based start-ups.

“It’s not California, but Wisconsin’s ecosystem is vibrant enough that everyone can do well,” said Rusinow, who was keynote speaker Tuesday night at an event where gener8tor premiered its most recent class of start-ups.

In 2000, Rusinow started Silicon Pastures, which is among the state’s oldest angel investing networks. He said he has seen a huge improvement in the ecosystem that has grown up around the state’s start-ups that have high growth potential. That has translated into more opportunities to make money in the risky business of betting on which young concerns will have success.

“While I don’t think there’s been any appreciable difference in the amount of active angel investors, there’s been dramatic growth in the amount of firms and funds that have either started in the state or are coming in,” Rusinow said.

Rusinow and a number of other Wisconsin angel investors earlier this month had a big payday when RevolutionEHR, a Madison provider of electronic health record software for optometrists, sold a majority stake to RevOptix, a San Francisco-based investment group.

RevolutionEHR, formally Health Innovation Technologies Inc., was started in 2006 by Scott Jens, an optometrist and entrepreneur. The company has just under 70 employees, with about 20 of them in the state. It says it has been recognized as an Inc. 5000 high-growth company for the past three years, has a 98% customer retention rate, and recently expanded into Canada.

The amount of the investment RevOptix made was not disclosed, but Rusinow and others called it “significant.”

Sean Cleary, a Madison-area investor who is president of Cleary Building Corp., said he made seven times his initial investment on the RevolutionEHR deal. Cleary, like Rusinow and other early angel investors in the company, still has some money in the company. But he says he plans to reinvest the proceeds from RevolutionEHR into other Wisconsin start-ups.

“I’m definitely looking and interested in taking some of the proceeds and putting them into other companies,” Cleary said.

That’s why it’s so critical to the health of the start-up community to have exits like RevolutionEHR’s, said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

“It replenishes the supply of capital that can be reinvested in the early stage sector,” Still said.

George Mosher, who sold his National Business Furniture in 2006 for $82 million, also made money in the RevolutionEHR deal. He says that along with the potential for making money, he invests to help the state and to meet interesting people.

“I felt like I could do more for Wisconsin using some of the skills I’ve developed,” said Mosher, who has invested in more than 160 start-ups since 2000.

Through their efforts, business leaders like Mosher, Rusinow and Cleary have created a lot of jobs and wealth in Wisconsin, said Joe Kirgues, co-founder of gener8tor, the start-up accelerator.

Still, keeping angels in the game can be like trying to keep Derek Jeter in uniform for another year, Kirgues said. Rusinow, for example, frequently talks about taking more vacations.

“Part of the reason we asked Jeff to keynote at the gener8tor premiere is we wanted to remind him that there’s more to do here,” Kirgues said.

Article source: http://www.jsonline.com/business/angel-investor-jeff-rusinow-optimistic-about-new-start-ups-succeeding-b99376878z1-280265572.html

Share

Dave Berkus is one of the most successful angels I know.  He has made 108 investments in early-stage companies and has an IRR of 97%.  Dave is a special case – he is a top speaker, expert in corporate governance, and has a valuation methodology named after him – even so, are there insights smart angels can pick up from this Los Angeles-based investor?

What is it about Dave that makes him that good? More to the point–are there traits we can emulate from successful angels like him?

I recently asked some of the angel investors I most respect – board members of the Angel Capital Association – what they think are the characteristics of the best angels and also got ideas from Roland Schumann III of Sierra Angels.  These angels are successful as investors, with great financial returns and many of them educate other angels to build their success.

Their suggestions may surprise some people.  Sure, the traits include industry expertise and top of the line best investment practices.  But, personality and character traits like sense of humor and fun were mentioned the most often.

When I think about it, this makes sense.  Angels invest their own money and time – if they can’t have fun in the process, why do it at all?

 Stuartmiles | Dreamstime.com - Respect Ethics Honest Integrity Sign Means Good Qualities Photo

© Stuartmiles | Dreamstime.com – Respect Ethics Honest Integrity Sign Means Good Qualities Photo

How many of the 30 traits on this list of what makes an angel investor a good angel do you have?

Character

  • High integrity and collegiality
  • Avoids conflicts of interest and easily follows a code of conduct
  • Sense of humor – even in tough times a sense of goodwill trumps everything
  • Deep respect for both the entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial journey
  • Pushes and challenges entrepreneurs with questions and suggestions, while not introducing an “across the table”, combative dynamic
  • Willing to roll up their sleeves or pick up the phone to help the entrepreneur and other investors
  • Patience – ability to see the long vision and share the world’s need for right timing
  • Strong networker – keeps meeting people to build deal flow and investment partnerships
  • Sees the fun of being an angel and enjoys working with entrepreneurs

Investment Process

  • Good at reading people and understanding the risks and potential that the individuals and team dynamics bring to the mix
  • Does thorough due diligence while making a decision in a timely fashion
  • Reliably engages in referrals, screening, due diligence, coaching and board governance, in addition to writing checks
  • Uses the due diligence process to help the entrepreneur better understand the competitive arena and market, identifying ways to become a market leader (even before funds are invested)
  • Continually educates themselves on investment and sector trends and best practices
  • Builds trust with other investors or organizations, leading to syndication and follow-on funding
  • Has an investment strategy and understands how many checks they will write (and what size)
  • Recognizes when to commit and when to walk away from a deal
  • Knows when to get professional support in the deal, particularly working with legal counsel that understands equity financing
  • Connects with other angels through angel groups, accredited platforms and/or events for deal flow and learning

Support

  • Happy to help with the mundane (new accountant, space, HR platform) as well as the value add (second customer, VC for next round)
  • Willing to take a risk on less experienced, but promising entrepreneurs
  • Mentors CEOs and/or entrepreneurial team members to help them succeed
  • Mentors other angels, taking new angels under their wing to learn best practices
  • Serves on company Board of Directors, providing reports to other investors and useful ideas for the company
  • Builds Board governance skills
  • Coaches and judges entrepreneurs at demo day events and meetings in the startup ecosystem

Expertise

  • Knows the sector space cold and can help the entrepreneur navigate straight to the top targets for customers, distributors and other partners
  • Can help build a sales program and hire sales people with their eyes closed
  • Experience as an entrepreneur, corporate profit and loss responsibility or professional in the startup ecosystem
  • Understands where the local startup ecosystem is in its evolution and invests appropriately, never taking an eye off of ROI

Are there angels that have all of these traits? Perhaps, but more importantly the very best angel investors have an awful lot of them.  I know Dave Berkus exudes most of them.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mariannehudson/2014/10/23/top-30-traits-of-successful-angels-how-many-do-you-have/

Share
  • Email a friend

MACH37

MACH37 Cyber Accelerator

The cyber security market continues to offer one of the most attractive opportunities for all investors.

Herndon, VA (PRWEB) October 23, 2014

The MACH37™ Cyber Accelerator released a white paper today that provides a simplified framework to help angel investors better understand and invest in the rapidly growing cybersecurity market.

Rick Gordon, Managing Partner of MACH37, said, “The cyber security market continues to offer one of the most attractive opportunities for all investors. However, we think angel investing in cyber security has lagged, limited by the often-esoteric descriptions of cyber security product capabilities. MACH37™ wants to take the mystery out of investing in the cybersecurity market.”

The white paper, “Angel Investing in Cyber Security: Understanding the Technology,” describes:

  •     An overview of the complexity of the existing market structure
  •     A simplified framework that enumerates categories that align with a limited variety of threat motives and methodologies; and
  •     A mapping of existing market segments to this simplified framework that cuts through the overly technical jargon currently employed to describe the market.

David Ihrie, MACH37™ Chief Technology Officer, said, “We have promoted the development of partnerships between the angel investor community and cyber security-focused accelerators to address an increasingly complex cyber security market. However, MACH37™ also wanted to provide investors with a practical framework to help sort through the numerous technology categories that comprise the cyber security market today.”

The white paper is available at http://www.mach37.com. For more information on the MACH37™ Cyber Accelerator, the seventeen companies funded by MACH37™ and the upcoming Spring 2015 program visit MACH37.com.

About MACH37™

MACH37™ is the premier accelerator for information security entrepreneurs and startups. We go beyond the traditional model of typical business accelerators by bringing our innovators focused mentorship and support from our extensive network of visionaries, practitioners, and successful entrepreneurs in security. Our Spring and Fall sessions are designed to propel graduating companies into the marketplace, equipped with the skills to grow and compete for funding and market share. MACH37™ was launched in 2013 by the Center for Innovative Technology, in Herndon, Virginia. To learn more, please visit http://www.mach37.com and follow @MACH37cyber on Twitter.

About the Center for Innovative Technology

Since 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been Virginia’s primary driver of innovation and entrepreneurship. CIT accelerates the next generation of technology and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, market development and revenue generation services. To facilitate national innovation leadership and accelerate the rate of technology adoption, CIT creates partnerships between innovative technology start-up companies and advanced technology consumers. Follow CIT on Twitter @CITorg and add the Center for Innovative Technology on LinkedIn and Facebook.

###

Email a friend


PDF


Print

Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/MACH37/Whitepaper/prweb12272547.htm

Share

Crowdcube Crowdfunding James Chalk Portsmouth

Crowdcube is the world’s first and most successful investment crowdfunding platform, enabling entrepreneurs to bypass the traditional business angel, venture capital, or bank financing routes, and thus giving them a chance to rein more control and access more investors.

James Chalk, the Head of Business Development and Entrepreneur Funding at Crowdcube, will be coming to Portsmouth on 19th November to lead a talk at Innovation Space on Hampshire Terrace as part of local business collective Entrepreneurs Unite’s efforts to involve Portsmouth in Global Entrepreneurship Week through a week-long programme of business-centric events under the umbrella of #GEWPorts.

The crowdfunding and investment expert will be talking about how businesses can raise funds through non-traditional methods and what he believes makes a successful entrepreneur.

Crowdcube is also known as being a favourite for investors, allowing them to cherry-pick a stake in an innovative business which traditionally would have been restricted to corporate investors.

Furthermore, investors can now benefit from a fixed return per annum by lending money to more established companies offering a mini-bond on the Crowdcube platform.

James will be talking about these things in more depth during his talk, explaining how Crowdcube has been benefitting entrepreneurs and investors alike.

Since February 2011, more than 100,000 savvy investors have registered with Crowdcube, raising almost £42million in equity finance for over 150 UK businesses and business pitches.

Investing is a hugely risky practice and should only be done as part of a diversified portfolio, James believes. Investing equity in startups and early-stage businesses involves risks of liquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment, and dilution. Mini-bonds can be unsecured, non-convertible, and non-transferable. Crowdcube is targeted exclusively at investors who are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these risks and have the ability to make their own investment decisions.

The event is entirely free to attend, as are the majority of Global Entrepreneurship Week Portsmouth events, but booking is a must due to limited capacity. Bookings can be made through the Entrepreneurs Unite Eventbrite listing here.

James’ talk will take place at Innovation Space on Hampshire Terrace from 11:00am to 1:00pm on Wednesday 19th November 2014.

As previously reported by Team Locals, Crowdcube are also involved in Invest South’s Dragon’s Den-style pitch event. Read more about that here.

Find out more about Innovation Space on Team Locals Places here.

Article source: http://www.teamlocals.co.uk/crowdcube-gewports-13601

Share



commonangels Maia Heymann

Maia Heymann, senior managing director at CommonAngels Ventures.









Sara Castellanos
Technology Reporter- Boston Business Journal

Email
 | 
Twitter
 | 
Google+

The startup investing group formerly known as CommonAngels closed on a new $26.5 million fund this week and unveiled its new name: CommonAngels Ventures, a nod to its new hybrid investment model.

The investment group is comprised of about 60 active Boston-area investors who collectively invest in early-stage startups in the Boston area and also provide mentorship, expertise and connections for startup founders.

The new CommonAngels Ventures IV fund succeeds the group’s third $13 million fund.

“We’ve combined the best of what experienced industry experts as investors bring to startups with a dedicated pool of capital of a venture fund,” said Maia Heymann, the fund’s senior managing director.

CommonAngels Ventures has seen some major successes recently, including the sale of one of their portfolio companies, two-year-old Boston-based moviemaking mobile app startup Directr, acquired by Google in August.

The fund’s other portfolio companies include Boston-based clean energy startup Loci Controls, Techstars Boston graduate Wymsee, whose software is used by creative design departments on movies and TV shows, and Boston-based marketing software firm BlueConic.

Heymann chatted with me about the new fund in an interview Thursday.

Q: How many companies do you hope to back with this fund?

We expect we’ll back a total of 28 to 30 over the life of the fund. We’ve already made 10 investments, since the first closing of the fund was last October. The first round of investment is anywhere between $250,000 to $750,000 and then we reserve for follow-on funding.

Q: What areas will Fund IV continue to invest in?

We’re a software-focused fund, but software touches everything. There’s not a vertical or industry it doesn’t touch now. We tend to gravitate toward software that’s riving efficiencies or driving revenues, very broadly speaking. There’s another category of software also that is next-generation, exponentially better than the prior generation, (and we) also invest in enterprise application software, ranging from Wymsee to Loci Controls.

Q: The investment group is now known as CommonAngels Ventures. What’s the reasoning for that?

The (hybrid angel investing and venture fund) model is resonating with our investors. The reason we chose to move towards a fund model is it’s better for the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur gets one large check from the fund, and our capital came from our angel investors who are all industry veterans, all current or former operators in tech and software specifically. The entrepreneurs still get the benefit of that and they still get all the connections and the network that our investors bring to bear. One of the reasons why switched to this model is because this is a much more attractive place for exceptional entrepreneurs to view us differently. There’s room for different business models within venture and this is representative of that.

Q. You set out to raise about $20 million for Fund IV and you exceeded that. How does that feel?

No doubt we’re excited, this is another significant chapter in our evolution and representative of how we’re “institutionalizing” in the good sense of the word. It’s all about filling the capital gap.

Q: Will you be investing primarily in Massachusetts companies?

We go beyond Massachusetts when there’s a compelling connection. We have four companies in New York City and two companies in Canada. We’ll follow a great entrepreneur who we know well, or if there’s very strong connection, maybe one of our investors is also going on the board. Broadly speaking, we’re focused mostly on the Northeast corridor, but there’s such richness here (in Massachusetts) with the opportunities here in the greater Boston area.



Article source: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/startups/2014/10/maia-heymann-on-unveiling-commonangels-ventures-a.html?page=all

Share

Exit goal alignment crucial in angel investing, visiting
US expert says

By Fiona Rotherham

Oct. 16
(BusinessDesk) – Acronyms abound in the business world –
think GFC, Ebitda, Opex, Libor, OCR. Now visiting American
angel investor John Huston has added a new one – EGC. It
stands for exit goal congruence and means the investor’s
desire to eventually sell the company and make a return is
matched by that of the entrepreneur.

It’s the most
important thing for any angel investor to consider before
they commit their money, he said. Huston became an angel
investor in 2000 after retiring from a 30-year career in
banking and founded the first Ohio TechAngel fund in 2004
with 50 investors. It later became a founding member of the
US Angel Capital Association.

Speaking at today’s 7th
annual New Zealand Angel Summit in Auckland, Huston said he
invested only in tech companies in his home state because he
liked to know the entrepreneur who he would be making rich.
He said goal alignment with the entrepreneur was key to
achieve his aim of putting between US$3 million to US$5
million in the pockets of that entrepreneur once the company
was sold.

“I want to get my money back so I can help
other entrepreneurs,” he said. There was more benefit to
the local community to have 20 entrepreneurs make US$5
million each who then infect others to have a go than
putting US$100 million into the hands of one entrepreneur,
Huston said. He pointed to the wealth created in accounting
software company Xero by outside investors that could have
helped many other small companies.

His favourite of the 50
angel investments he’s made is an ecommerce company that
sold for US$19.7 million within 22 months. “The return
wasn’t large but the two co-founders, one was Indian and
the other Chinese, those two families shared US$10 million
of the US$19.7 million. They can send their kids to any
college they want or buy a ski house or a boat. It will have
a profound impact on them.”

Catherine Mott, the founder
of Blue Tree Allied Angels in Pittsburgh, said there needed
to be a “champion” for each company angel investors put
money into. Her fund has invested US$30 million in 46
companies in the Pittsburgh area.

Her key advice to
would-be angels is to diversify, have patience and do good
due diligence before committing money.

“You need someone
who can create and build a good due diligence team. One
person can’t do proper due diligence alone which is why
they join a group and tap into many people in the group who
can efficiently perform due diligence,” she said.

The
former banker said that lead investor may or may not sit on
the board if the investment goes ahead as that could require
different
skills.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

Independent, Trustworthy New Zealand Business News

The Wellington-based BusinessDesk team led by former Bloomberg Asian top editor Jonathan Underhill and Qantas Award-winning journalist and commentator Pattrick Smellie provides a daily news feed for a serious business audience.

CONTACT BUSINESSDESK

  • Email – editor@businessdesk.co.nz

When I started my first company, Bio-Storage Technologies, back in 2002, raising angel capital was time-consuming and inefficient, and the results were mixed at best. We were, however, fortunate to find a few angel investors who had the ability and confidence to invest their capital and experience to help us launch.

Today, BioStorage is a global leader in the bioscience sample management business. Since our origins, angel investing in Indiana has made significant progress as evidenced by recent reports; however, our state has much to improve to become more competitive with neighboring states.

According to the latest Halo Report published by Angel Resource Institute, Indiana might have an opportunity to seize more mind share and more deal flow.

Of the top 10 U.S. angel investor groups, two are in Texas, one is in Arizona, another in Connecticut, and the top group is in Seattle. Only two are in California and one is in Boston.

Of even greater interest to Hoosier entrepreneurs, the Great Lakes region—defined by the report as Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin—had the second-highest number of deals/investments in the first quarter of 2014, with 17.1 percent, just 0.6 percent behind California.

More impressive is the fact that the region generated nearly 25 percent of total investment dollars during the period. California came in at 16.7 percent and the Northeast at 11.5 percent. We Midwestern angels must be doing something right to be posting these numbers.

Yet, Indiana’s angel investor groups remain low-profile and our accomplishments relatively unsung. This, despite groups like HALO in Indianapolis surpassing the $20 million investment mark over the last five years and my own group—VisionTech Angels, which has chapters in Bloomington, Indianapolis, Lafayette and Warsaw—investing more than $6 million in 12 companies in less than five years.

Other groups, like Elevate Ventures, have also spurred capital and talent formation around the state and play key roles in this ecosystem.

Many states have recognized the value of angel investors and the potentially significant impact on business and job creation. A growing number of states, including Maryland, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Nebraska and New Mexico, among others, have implemented attractive tax credits for angel investing.

Here in the Midwest, Minnesota provides a 25-percent credit to investors or investment funds that put money into startup companies focused on high technology, new proprietary technology, or new proprietary products, processes or services in specified fields. The maximum credit is $125,000 per person and non-Minnesota residents are eligible.

Minnesota’s angel tax credit program is so popular that it has already exhausted the $12 million set aside for the program in 2014, and the set-aside for 2015 has been increased to $15 million.

And what of Indiana? Indiana offers a 20-percent tax credit for Indiana resident angel investors who make investments in qualified Indiana companies. Indiana recently doubled the maximum allowable credit per company.

However, the credits still have significant limitations that make it less desirable for investors outside of the state to invest in Indiana startups.

Awareness of angel investors and what we bring to the table ultimately falls on our shoulders. We need to educate the business community, universities, entrepreneurs, lawmakers, media and potential investors on our value proposition for this ecosystem.

We also need to accept and note our failures and, most of all, recognize that this is a very real part of innovation and early-stage investing. Risk and failure go hand-in-hand with startups (more than 50 percent fail) and many valuable lessons are to be learned and shared among our entrepreneurial community.

We are making progress. Last July, VisionTech Partners and the Indiana University Kelley School of Business co-sponsored the Innovation Showcase’s educational session on angel investing, attracting 300-plus attendees. The Innovation Showcase, which featured almost 75 entrepreneurial pitches, had some 850 attendees.

Despite the hurdles, Indiana is moving toward a more dynamic capital ecosystem where angel investors play a key role. Successes by angel-funded companies like ExactTarget, Endocyte, Angel Learning and Aprimo have created wealth for investors and jobs for Indiana, and sparked a flurry of entrepreneurial activity.

Let’s keep it going and break angel investing in Indiana out of the shadows and into the forefront.•

__________

Moralez is managing director of VisionTech Partners and VisionTech Angels, an innovation consulting and angel investing group. Views expressed here are the writer’s.

Article source: http://www.ibj.com/articles/49988-rankings-of-indianapolis-area-banks

Share

As an entrepreneur, I’m fascinated by the myths that people tend to believe. Somehow, entrepreneurship has built up a mythology that is founded upon legend, anecdotes, movies, and who-knows-what else.

Here are few of those myths.

Myth #1: Entrepreneurs don’t quit

Whoever came up with this idea that quitting is bad, and that entrepreneurs don’t quit?

Quitting is what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur.

First, most entrepreneurs have to quit their day job in order to become an entrepreneur. That’s the crucial quitting point.

Most entrepreneurs I know have also quit some entrepreneurial venture. If an entrepreneur starts a crappy business and knows it, then she’s going to quit.

Elon Musk quit. Steve Jobs quit. These people are rockstar entrepreneurs, but they stepped in and out of jobs. This completely shatters the myth of the entrepreneur who never quits.

Successful entrepreneurs need to quit sometimes.

There’s nothing wrong with quitting something stupid. Let go of it. True success is knowing what to quit and when to quit.

Let’s get rid of this stigma that “entrepreneurs never quit!” and maybe we’ll see some entrepreneurs finally break free of their shackles, and start some companies that succeed.

Myth #2:  Entrepreneurs know exactly what they want, and how to get it.

Maybe some entrepreneurs have a laser-focused goal and a clear plan for getting there.

But that’s not normal. In fact many entrepreneurs have no clue how to achieve their entrepreneurial passions.

Entrepreneurship is a process of trying, failing, trying again, and succeeding, trying again, and trying again.

Many times, entrepreneurs just don’t know what to do. They follow their gut, but that’s hardly a plan.

Myth #3:  Entrepreneurs are their own boss.

Nobody is their own boss. Everyone has someone they report to.

Let’s dispense with the idea that someday you’ll be an entrepreneur in complete charge of your entire existence.

In many cases, your business becomes your new boss. It’s ruthless, demanding, heartless, requiring 15-hour workdays, and zero vacation time. If you are running a consulting business, your clients are your boss. If your startup gets funded, your investors become your boss.

So much for the no-boss paradise.

Oh, and while you’re at it, entrepreneurship is not necessarily going to produce a utopian work-life balance, either.

Myth #4:  Entrepreneurs have to be connected.

Have you heard this saying? “It doesn’t matter what you know; it matters who you know.”

To succeed as an entrepreneur, do not believe that.

Then how do you explain first-generation immigrants who comprise a huge percentage of entrepreneurs? Immigrants often come to a new country with no connections and no network. They are more likely to become successful entrepreneurs.

Unconnected entrepreneurs formed the business-building backbone of the United States. The same legacy endures for modern entrepreneurs as well. Sergey Brin (Google Google), Liz Claiborne (Claiborne), Andrew Grove (Intel), William Mow (Bugle Boy), Andy Bechtolsheim and Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), and Jerry Yang (Yahoo!) are just a few of the foreign-born entrepreneurs who started huge businesses that everyone recognizes.

Entrepreneurs who realize that connectedness is a myth are forced to rely upon their own grit and determination, not some star-studded safety net. That powers them forward to start companies, and successfully run those companies.

Myth #5:  Entrepreneurs are usually rich.

Nope. Some entrepreneurs might become rich, but they certainly don’t start that way.

In fact, even once the business is up and running, entrepreneurs aren’t the fat cats that most people think they are. According to a study from American Express in 2013, the average salary of the entrepreneur was $68,000. SimplyHired pegs the annual income of an entrepreneur at $111,000.

That may be rich by some standards, but it’s not enough to support the private-jet posh lifestyle. By contrast, some fresh MBAs are being handed $200k salaries right after they step off the graduation platform.

Entrepreneurship is not for the rich, and it might not even result in riches, either.

Myth #6:  Entrepreneurship requires huge funding.

Some people have this idea that in order to start a business, you have to have a pile of cash.

In order to get the pile of cash, you have to wheel and deal with angel investors, venture capitalists, and investors who ride around in chauffeured Rolls Royces.

The reality? Most of an entrepreneur’s “funding” is from his own back pocket. As Guy Kawasaki explained, most startups cost about $25,000 to get off the ground. What about VCs? They mostly put their money into tech and biotech.

And what about the immodestly rich investor who’s going to bestow millions of dollars on your good idea? It’s a myth. Most angel investors are ordinary people who make ordinary amounts of money. 32% of them are on an income of $40,000 or less. At that level, you can forget the Rolls Royce.

How does an entrepreneur get bankrolled? A lot of times, they don’t. They bootstrap. They growth hack. They build massive blogs with huge followings. They pull a line of credit. They eat ramen noodles.

Some entrepreneurs will get lucky and funded, but it’s definitely not a prerequisite for the trade.

Myth #7:  Entrepreneurship is fun!

Ha ha.

If I’m laughing, it’s my bitter laugh. There’s a true/false dichotomy to this myth. Sure, entrepreneurship is fun. I love what I’m doing, and just about every other entrepreneur does, too.

But let me tell you something:  Entrepreneurship is really hard, almost unbearably so at times.

The ups and downs of entrepreneurship parallel the ups and downs of ordinary life. There are the good times. And there are the bad times.

The difference with entrepreneurship is that the bad times are a lot badder, and the good times are a lot better.

But fun all the time? No.

Myth #8:  Entrepreneurs always take huge risks

In order to denude this myth, I need to tell you something about risk.

In our culture, we’ve ruined the whole idea of risk. Today, “risk” is buying a house, or stepping into an elevator, or driving to work in a car, not investing in a 401k, or — heaven forbid — quitting your day job.

Are all those things truly risky? If so, then life is risk.

A few centuries ago, “risk” was a whole lot more. Like deciding that you were going to go around the world in a wooden boat, and leaving life, family, riches, and the “safe” life behind. (Hat tip to Magellan.)

Entrepreneurs are risk-takers according to our conventional jacked-up ideas of safety. But maybe the entrepreneur’s risk-taking is nothing more than a tilt toward the unconventional, a good idea, and dissatisfaction with the status quo.

The entrepreneur’s risks are not the reckless actions of a devil-may-care upstart. They are decisions that are calculated, data-driven, dream-backed, and pursued with teeth-grinding determination.

Risk? Not hardly.

Conclusion

I believe that if someone aspires to entrepreneurship, he or she should immediately stop believing these myths.

As much as we love to categorize and list the strengths, characteristics, or traits of successful entrepreneurs, it’s an exercise in folly. By their very definition, entrepreneurs are mold-breakers and disruptors.

To be a successful entrepreneur, maybe the first step is to let go of everything you always believed about entrepreneurship.

What are some common myths that you’ve heard about entrepreneurship?

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2014/10/17/popular-entrepreneurial-myths-debunked/

Share

Like Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth, super angels are the best of the best, the superstars who set the standards for others.

Of the hundreds of thousands of angel investors in the United States, a few hundred are super angels – angel investors who have several hundred thousand or often millions of dollars to invest per year. While many are concentrated in Silicon Valley, they are located in many parts of the country. Most have built their own well-known companies and made amazing investments, which is typically where their investment capital comes from. Because of their success and who they know (other extremely successful entrepreneurs and investors) – they are able to attract great deal flow and have direct access to top management talent, strategic partners, other investors and potential acquirers.

Within the startup ecosystem several super angel names come to mind – Mark Cuban, Ron Conway, Desh Deshpande, Mike Maples, Ed Roberts, and Jeff Clavier to name a few. Super angels have expertise that is worth learning from.

I recently caught up with Richard Sudek to talk about super angels and what other “non-super” angels can learn from them.  Sudek is an angel investor, member of the Angel Capital Association, Tech Coast Angels, and newly appointed executive director of the Institute for Innovation at the University of California Irvine. Sudek, along with co-authors Allan May and Robert Wiltbank interviewed dozens of super angels for an article published by the Angel Resource Institute a few years ago.

While there is no silver bullet and luck certainly plays a role, here are some lessons learned from these and other super angels.

Really evaluate the CEO:  Sudek found that super investors define a good CEO as – “No quitters, no liars, no jerks.” Personally, I place a lot of credence in the abilities of the CEO, believing that is the number one variable to consider before I invest. All of the super angels Sudek interviewed mentioned they had become increasingly good at reading people, and I’m going to focus some of my own energies in learning that skill.  While some super angels are more interested in working with CEOs who they deem “coachable,” none will waste their time working with anyone who isn’t smart, personable, passionate, driven, who doesn’t share similar interests, or who is not nice. Super angels invest, in part, to mentor young entrepreneurs and because they’re excited about their potential new companies. They figure, why waste time with CEOs with toxic personalities?

Stay focused: Super angels tend to focus on the industry they are familiar with, although a few are known for their “spray and pray” approach.  Since the article was published Sudek says he’s learned it’s even more important to stay focused.  “One of the problems with angel investing is people tend to rate things outside of their core area of expertise higher because they know less about the subject,” says Sudek. “Really invest in things you understand – not just the industry, but specific segments of the industry. Know how things are sold, how they change, how they’re adopted.”

Build and use your networks: Because super angels have been very successful business people, they tend to network with others like themselves. Their networks include personal friendships, people they used to work with, and friends of these friends and co-workers. When they see a good deal, they’re not afraid to offer it to their friends. Angels who lack an expanded network but want to build a good one can get involved with an angel group or accredited platform.  Both provide exposure to a wider group of strong entrepreneurs and promising investment opportunities and angel groups give angels another way to meet and learn from each other.

Make sure strategies align: An entrepreneur’s strategy and an angel’s strategy matter to each other. Determine early on if your strategies and expectations align to avoid future problems. This is especially important for your product roadmap, go to market strategy, and exit plan.

Assess quickly – within a defined process: Super angels, because they know their industry, have key contacts and make many investments. It’s not unusual for them to only meet someone a few times before writing a check – often completing the process in a matter of weeks. “It’s not a speed issue; it’s a trust issue,” Sudek says. Being able to make a quick assessment speaks to knowing what you’re looking for.  Still, for us “less super” angels, it’s important to have a process to evaluate deals and conduct due diligence. Although your process doesn’t have to be the same as another angel’s process you can learn excellent processes from angel groups and accredited platforms.

Even if you are not a super angel, you can still be a superb angel investor – with growing networks, building your people reading skills and some of the lessons learned from the best.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mariannehudson/2014/10/16/super-secrets-from-super-angels-for-the-rest-of-us/

Share

Like Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth, super angels are the best of the best, the superstars who set the standards for others.

Of the hundreds of thousands of angel investors in the United States, a few hundred are super angels – angel investors who have several hundred thousand or often millions of dollars to invest per year. While many are concentrated in Silicon Valley, they are located in many parts of the country. Most have built their own well-known companies and made amazing investments, which is typically where their investment capital comes from. Because of their success and who they know (other extremely successful entrepreneurs and investors) – they are able to attract great deal flow and have direct access to top management talent, strategic partners, other investors and potential acquirers.

Within the startup ecosystem several super angel names come to mind – Mark Cuban, Ron Conway, Desh Deshpande, Mike Maples, Ed Roberts, and Jeff Clavier to name a few. Super angels have expertise that is worth learning from.

I recently caught up with Richard Sudek to talk about super angels and what other “non-super” angels can learn from them.  Sudek is an angel investor, member of the Angel Capital Association, Tech Coast Angels, and newly appointed executive director of the Institute for Innovation at the University of California Irvine. Sudek, along with co-authors Allan May and Robert Wiltbank interviewed dozens of super angels for an article published by the Angel Resource Institute a few years ago.

While there is no silver bullet and luck certainly plays a role, here are some lessons learned from these and other super angels.

Really evaluate the CEO:  Sudek found that super investors define a good CEO as – “No quitters, no liars, no jerks.” Personally, I place a lot of credence in the abilities of the CEO, believing that is the number one variable to consider before I invest. All of the super angels Sudek interviewed mentioned they had become increasingly good at reading people, and I’m going to focus some of my own energies in learning that skill.  While some super angels are more interested in working with CEOs who they deem “coachable,” none will waste their time working with anyone who isn’t smart, personable, passionate, driven, who doesn’t share similar interests, or who is not nice. Super angels invest, in part, to mentor young entrepreneurs and because they’re excited about their potential new companies. They figure, why waste time with CEOs with toxic personalities?

Stay focused: Super angels tend to focus on the industry they are familiar with, although a few are known for their “spray and pray” approach.  Since the article was published Sudek says he’s learned it’s even more important to stay focused.  “One of the problems with angel investing is people tend to rate things outside of their core area of expertise higher because they know less about the subject,” says Sudek. “Really invest in things you understand – not just the industry, but specific segments of the industry. Know how things are sold, how they change, how they’re adopted.”

Build and use your networks: Because super angels have been very successful business people, they tend to network with others like themselves. Their networks include personal friendships, people they used to work with, and friends of these friends and co-workers. When they see a good deal, they’re not afraid to offer it to their friends. Angels who lack an expanded network but want to build a good one can get involved with an angel group or accredited platform.  Both provide exposure to a wider group of strong entrepreneurs and promising investment opportunities and angel groups give angels another way to meet and learn from each other.

Make sure strategies align: An entrepreneur’s strategy and an angel’s strategy matter to each other. Determine early on if your strategies and expectations align to avoid future problems. This is especially important for your product roadmap, go to market strategy, and exit plan.

Assess quickly – within a defined process: Super angels, because they know their industry, have key contacts and make many investments. It’s not unusual for them to only meet someone a few times before writing a check – often completing the process in a matter of weeks. “It’s not a speed issue; it’s a trust issue,” Sudek says. Being able to make a quick assessment speaks to knowing what you’re looking for.  Still, for us “less super” angels, it’s important to have a process to evaluate deals and conduct due diligence. Although your process doesn’t have to be the same as another angel’s process you can learn excellent processes from angel groups and accredited platforms.

Even if you are not a super angel, you can still be a superb angel investor – with growing networks, building your people reading skills and some of the lessons learned from the best.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mariannehudson/2014/10/16/super-secrets-from-super-angels-for-the-rest-of-us/

Share