Posted by beowulf on 2011-02-11
I've pitched ATA several times over the years, and have received at least one term sheet from them. In every case, they were beaten by other investors to the punch with a faster deal, better terms, and more money.
In general, I've found them to be:
- Disorganized in their diligence process.
- Haphazard in their questioning, with no technical depth or market knowledge for 90% of the "angels" in the room, and no effort to come up to speed where they lack depth. In fact, I've seen very little intellectual curiosity from them about "technology" in general.
- Lacking in recent operational experience; the few "angels" that worked in technology seemed to have done so in the 80's for companies that largely no longer exist. So, their ideas about sales/marketing tend to involve golf outings and the Cheetah. Don't even bother if your deal involves online marketing, SaaS, or anything where you have to "click" on something to make money.
This also means that they don't know ANYBODY in the current technology world, outside of their microcosm of legacy Atlanta companies. Need a connection at Google, Facebook, Twitter, or Christ, even Microsoft? Good luck. Might as well use the phone book.
- Slow to respond or followup after formal pitches. Actually, they pretty much DON'T follow up at all. Don't hold your breath waiting for an analytical assessment of your deal, or even a "thanks for coming to present". To get a response, you'll have to track THEM down.
On the last deal I presented to them (or EVER will present again), I had to pitch them several times over the course of months, with multiple updates to their Angelsoft account, to finally get to...no decision because they "hadn't been able to review the deal". As if their deal flow is that good.
Even looking at their OWN portfolio page tells you how low their clockspeed is:
Since 1999 they apparently have done only 14 deals??? Since 1999????
What on earth do they do with their time????
Compare them to Band of Angels:
Compared to groups like Band of Angels, these guys are on the short bus.
Waste of time. Waste of money. Waste of the "Atlanta" brand.
They ought to rename themselves "Sometimes Technology Angels" and let someone else step to the forefront to invest in Atlanta/SE tech deals. The Shotput guys are definitely on to something, and I think a wholesale blow out is called for here.
With as rich a resource as GA Tech ( #4 Engineering school in the US) at their doorstep, it's telling to see how few successful companies these guys have backed.
These guys are more interested in managing their real estate portfolios or waiting for their rich relatives to die than investing in local technology companies that will create new jobs and wealth.
Skip the ATA dinner meeting and go to the Varsity instead. DO NOT pay them to list on their Angelsoft account. That money will simply go to perpetuate this charade.
Better yet, spend your money on a plane ticket West or North and buy the in-flight meal.PRIVATE: Members Only