Posted by SevenX on 2009-02-11
[The Founding Member has suggested that this post, originally written in response to a query on the discussion board, be reposted here for broader visibility.]
No web site site can promise to find you money. Period. In fact, perhaps the best way to figure out whether a site is legitimate is the extent to which it DOESN'T promise to find you money!
Of the various possibilities out there, there are realistically four categories, in pretty much the following order:
1) Angelsoft.net: doesn't promise anything, is primarily a site that investors use themselves, doesn't expose any of your information publicly, has by far the best free search engine for legitimate early stage funding sources, and lets you prepare and send applications and videos for free directly to a limited number of screened, legitimate investment groups. If you want to pay $250 extra, you can promote your offering by posting it in a pool that 15,000+ accredited investors (and ONLY accredited investors) can browse through. They publish their stats online, and they show that between 1.3% and 5% of posted deals get funded. So your odds are between 20:1 and 75:1 against. (As Winston Churchill said about democracy: "It's the worst form of government there is...except for all the others.")
2) Vator.tv: the biggest public pitch site, legitimate, but wide open. Good news is that it's free, and that you'll likely get a lot of views of your video. On the other hand, very few of them (if any) will be from legitimate investors. Instead, you'll probably be approached by more than a few service providers, which may (or may not) be what you want, and scammers. But it's good for general exposure, and they are adding a bunch of neat new features, including micro-blogging for company updates so that interested parties can follow your corporate news. So if you're not concerned about the public nature of the site (or if you think that's a good thing), it makes sense. (Just be very, VERY wary of any "funding" leads that result from your posting.)
3) The legitimate attempts at investor matching: there are VERY few of these out there (and virtually all are not in compliance with SEC regulations) including for-profit ones (such as FundingUniverse) and not-for-profits (such as ActiveCapital (the only truly SEC-approved, legit one) and TheFunded's sponsor, IdeaCrossing). They mean well, but have few investors (usually starting from a local group or area: Utah in the case of FundingUniverse, Cleveland, Ohio for IdeaCrossing), and the for-profit ones are not cheap.
4) Everyone else: there are several dozen of these (perhaps even a hundred or more), ranging from out-and-out scams (any one in which you get an instantaneous response promising money, asking for money, or asking for financial information), to sites that function primarily as lead-generators for service providers. I don't personally know of a single company that has had a good experience with FindThatMoney, FundFinder, GoBigNetwork, RaiseCapital, Go4Funding, etc. etc. etc.
The bottom line is that raising capital is very, very (did I say VERY?) tough, particularly in this economy, and only a teeny, tiny fraction of companies will EVER get outside equity financing. The stats suggest that's something like 0.25% for venture money, and 1-2% for angel money.
So anyone who promises you quick and easy money is either well-meaning-but-delusional (the rare exception) or a scumbag-with-a-hand-heading-to-your-pocket (the vast majority.) As a first pass heuristic, if an "angel group" is not listed on either the Angel Capital Association web site (http://www.angelcapitalassociation.or...) or the Angelsoft Group Finder (http://angelsoft.net/entrepreneurs/an...) you should be extremely wary of any claims they make...but then, of course, you would be anyway. Right? Right??
Remember the immortal words of Robert A. Heinlein: "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by J on 2008-09-13
Tags: Venture Business Angels AngelsSoft
I have been trying to pitch organized angel groups, more and more of whom are using Angelsoft. When I contact someone from the group, I normally get a response to put my deal into the Angelsoft system, which also apparently powers www.open-deals.com.
The problem is that nobody responds:
I have been an angel investor in the past, and it has always been more about coaching and personal relationships. It's not about scrutinizing a young financial model that arrives through email to evaluate hypothetical returns. It is about helping an entrepreneur to realize those hypothetical returns by sharing experiences and providing some capital.
With Angelsoft, all of the personal aspects of angel investing seem to be removed from the equation. My materials are submitted through Angelsoft forms, and then disappear into some system that encourages a group of busy angels evaluate the opportunity in a black box. Do they like it" Do they hate it" Do they even read it" I have no idea, since I have never heard anything!
My advice is for angel groups try to find a way to interact with the entrepreneurs that pitch, and entrepreneurs should try to get in front of angels if they really want to close a deal...PRIVATE: Members Only
Posted by fnazeeri on 2008-09-02
Tags: Funding Sources Angels AngelsSoft
This service launched today....I heard about it last week from the company (which was reaching out to bloggers in advance of the launch). While I haven't used the service (and I'm in no way affiliated with the company) it sounds pretty interesting. The company (AngelSoft) has been around for 4-ish years and provides a software solution for about 400 angel networks representing about 10K HNWI. The software is used to manage deal flow, diligence, funding and exit. Now they've launched an addition where entrepreneurs can "insert" their deal into the pipeline.
You can read more here http://www.altgate.com/blog/2008/09/p... including a video overview/demo.PRIVATE: Members Only (331 Characters)