Super Angels Fly in to Rescue Startups

Posted by Pierre de la Fortune on April 7, 2015 @ 12:01 a.m.

Written by Carin Pickworth

What has personality, compassion, experience, know-how, contacts, great advice, money to boot and a set of wings?

An angel investor of course!

We’ve been reading up on the latest Dow Jones Venture Wire insight into the growing influence of angel investors penned by Tomio Geron.

Geron draws upon some anecdotes to show that modern day angel investors are filling the vacuous void left by venture capitalists in more ways than one.

Super Angels

Just when we thought the latest flurry of superhero flicks had finally left the box office alone for a while, the so-called “Super Angels” fly in.

These guys are the likes of Silicon Valley’s greatest Ron Conway and other networked-to-the-hilt success stories who are willing to get their hands dirty as well as open their checkbooks.

Mike Maples – who runs a US$35 million angel pool called Floodgate and who’s pumped some cash into Twitter, Digg, and Chegg in their early days — is of course another worthy mention.

“Many super angels define themselves as more closely aligned to the interests of entrepreneurs than venture capitalists,” Geron said.

Consistent with the findings in HBS’ working paper.

Dynamic Duo

The dynamics of the venture capitalist and angel investor market does appear to be shifting.

VC funds have grown much bigger over the decade. Few are interested in making the small seed investments that many startups need. Placing small bets just doesn’t worth their time and effort — the payoff is simply too small given the size of their fund. Affluent enough to spread little bits of money across lots of different startups, Super Angels are becoming the target of many entrepreneurs because they offer at least 1 of the 3 values – Geron says through the mouth of Y Combinator partner Paul Graham: 1. A networking mastermind 2. Geniuses ability – usually in the tech arena 3. Deep expertise in certain field that would simply takes years to acquire

Those are pretty tough shoes to fill.

But it seems the so-called Super Angels have just the assets, knowledge, experience and connections to step in.

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So true about ventures capitalists... -Gary

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