Angel Investment

Stanford University

Ron Conway and Mike Maples Jr. discuss the history and significance of angel investing while offering insights into how to work with this unique type of VC.

Course Lectures
  • Taking its name from the early investors of classic Hollywood, Ron Conway and Mike Maples define the angel investor. In addition, they explain the differences between angel investors and venture capitalists, and point out why an angel's smaller dollars might be a better choice, as they're often paired with a network of contacts, industry expertise, a broad range of exit strategies, and tools to keep start-ups in business.

  • How should an aspiring entrepreneur choose an angel investor?And, more importantly, how will an angel investor select you?Entrepreneurs need to gain access to the right angel - one that will add value to their growing enterprise.The top angels in the business, says investor Mike Maples, are seeking ideas that have been tested for market viability - an essential criteria before they'll consider cutting a check.

  • Investors Mike Maples and Ron Conway explain their job like this: They help all lights turn green for the fast-moving car of the Internet start-up.In addition to cutting a check, these angel investors explain the panoramic view of what a good investor offers, including bringing in the right talent and business sensibilities, and building and testing product prototypes.

  • The numbers are stacked against the inspired business owner-to-be.Seasoned angel investors Ron Conway and Mike Maples talk about how many ideas they receive, how many executive summaries they peruse, how many meetings they call, and the shockingly few ventures - roughly one out of 150 - that end up receiving their investment of time and money.Also, Conway points out that investing is a risky business, with an even split between those that fail, those that earn just enough to pay back their investors, and those that turn a profit.

  • Facebook and Digg investors Ron Conway and Mike Maples unveil a surprising yardstick on what makes an entrepreneur's ideas a go or a no. Even though one venture might go under, the right executive could likely get another chance - provided they prove business savvy, flexibility, and an understanding that the nature of the business start-up is to morph.

  • A million dollars should last any new venture at least a year. And companies are most productive when they're less than ten people strong. These business axioms are good advice for any enterprise, says Ron Conway, investor in over 500 companies, and fellow investor Mike Maples. A lean and mean staff gets the most accomplished, and a low burn rate and ample experimentation are nearly always a calibrator for success. In addition, simultaneous customer development along with product development is what gives a successful concept legs.

  • Part of the responsibility of the angel is to help secure the VC round. Experienced entrepreneurs Ron Conway and Mike Maples lay out the blueprint for how they signal VC's about the emergence of new opportunities, and how a young operation with slow burn and trackable accomplishments is going to fetch the best investment firms.

  • Don't live in Silicon Valley? If you're serious about business, you'd better pack your bags.The local ecosystem of ideas, entrepreneurship, and venture is so powerful, says investors Ron Conway and Mike Maples, that no other region can even come close, and that it pays to move here because every advantage counts.

  • Too much money in a start-up can be toxic, says angel investor Mike Maples, and that there's an inverse correlation between the amount of money a start-up receives and their success.

  • Proven investors Mike Maples and Ron Conway offer tips on what it takes to enter the field of capital investment: A Rolodex of ripe talent and business resources, a market segment with potential where the investor can add value, and mutually beneficial network building skills.

  • A good idea is critical - but it's only a small fraction of a company's success as compared to its founders, says investor Ron Conway. Investor Mike Maples attributes enterprise success to the market, and its power to pull a start-up toward greatness.