So we’re fundraising right now. As anyone who has done it knows, it takes a gigantic amount of time and effort. The most frustrating part about it is the inefficiency. There is so much energy spent in the travel, the coordination and scheduling, the networking (and the networking and networking) to put it all together relative to the actual meeting, pitching and communication itself. Then, when you have the meetings, they are isolated, one-on-ones while you’re actually trying to develop market buzz and demand for your venture.
We were fortunate to be part of the Open Angel Forum last night, which held its inaugural Boulder edition. It was a great event with great fellow entrepreneurs and great investors. For someone who’s running around fundraising, what a blessing! Instead of the worthless networking and scheduling efforts, this cuts right to the chase: one night, one pitch, 20 quality investors. Furthermore, because you are pitching to a marketplace of investors, you are much more capable of generating momentum around your raise.
Which all makes you wonder: why doesn’t this thing happen more often? Why is this the new exception instead of the rule? Well, in order to be able to put together a quality forum with quality companies and quality investors, it takes a strong network in both of those communities. And the people (investors) who have such networks, well, by definition their deal flow is already good so they don’t need to put any angel forum together. Along some lines of thinking, they’d be much better off keeping that flow to themselves.
That I think would at least be the stereotypical perspective of old school VC. Fortunately, however, there’s a new tide of investor in our industry, investors who are much earlier and who are by in large former entrepreneurs themselves. This group is starting to reinvent the industry and, in the process, dominate it. But beyond fund performance, they also have a fundamental, personal appreciation for entrepreneurship. And that’s why, I think, the OAF is happening.
Our hosts last night–David Cohen, Brad Feld and Jason Calacanis–are all investors who have plenty of deal flow. More deal flow isn’t the motivation behind OAF. But they’re also entrepreneurs who care deeply about entrepreneurship. (Don’t get me wrong: they’re capitalists, not philanthropists about all of this–they don’t necessarily “care” about individual entrepreneur’s fates–i’d imagine they feel the market should take care of that–but they care deeply about the phenomena of entrepreneurship).
So I think this is a rising tide, part of an improving landscape for entrepreneurs, as venture investment heads back to its roots, is driven and run by entrepreneurs, and thus trends towards serving entrepreneurs–and thus entrepreneurship–better and better.
It served us well as we received lots of interest from a number of great investors. Our thanks to everyone involved, particularly the organizers and the sponsors. Best of luck to the OAF going forward.
Posted in Company Updates