Regional angel investing? ‘That’s just wrong!’

Last week David Verrill, chair of the Angel Capital Association, invited to me speak at the Angel Capital Summit in San Francisco along with my super smart co-panelists Jason Best and Sara Hanks.  The conference theme was “Navigating Change for Angel Success”.  Here are a few snippets of the most memorable moments:

During day one, Anurag Nigam, providing perspective from his experience of doing 60-plus angel investments (many through Sand Hill Angels), said that “Given what is going on with AngelList, SecondMarket, and crowdfunding, it looks like within three to five years angel investments will be a liquid asset class,” and an audible murmur shot through the audience.

Tech Coast Angels’ Richard Sudek interviews Dave McClure and Aydin Senkut. (Photo: Frank Peters)

In an entertaining Keynote Panel entitled “Thought Leaders in Entrepreneurial Growth and Finance” we were all expecting Dave McClure to light up the room with his renowned colourful language and scathing attacks on traditional venture capitalists but it was Felicis Ventures‘ (investor in Ottawa based Shopify) Aydin Senkut who first praised McClure for creating “the world’s first global angel brand” and then goaded the audience with the question, “Who here is part of a regional angel group, investing based upon region?”

Once 90 per cent of the room raised their hands he wagged his finger over his microphone and shouted, “That’s just wrong! Why isn’t there robotics angels or e-commerce angels? Being geographically focused doesn’t guarantee you the best local deals.  As we have demonstrated time and time again, we can cherry pick the best local deals around the world from Palo Alto because of our expertise in a few chosen areas and because we first and foremost focus on curating the best companies in our portfolio. Not based on where they’re located.” PEHub has a further post here.

Photo by @vidcruiter Founder Sean Fahey
Photo by Sean Fahey: Jason Best, Sara Hanks and Michael Cayley

“Angels need to see this era of low cost, globally funded startups as a new form of risk to manage,” was the point that I tried to make during our panel on the emergence of crowdfunding. “Your tried and true channels for filtering for quality deals are being flooded. Startups need less to get going and the low costs are enabling a lot more inexperienced incubators, accelerators and new angels. Crowdfunding is only going to compound the problem – which is zeroing in on quality signals in a world of noise.”

I took this one!
@angellist Founder @naval, @circleup co-founder @roryeakin, @gustly Founder @davidsrose platform panel moderated by @jeanpetersray

David Meunier has an excellent live blog of panel by Naval Ravikant, Rory Eakin and David Rose.  I highly recommend you read the whole thing!

Michael Cayley
Michael Cayley
Having attracted over US$50-million in investment and closed over $21-million in pre-launch sales for startups in China, the USA and domestically, Michael is living the struggle of the self-funded, pre-revenue Founder in Canada. He understands the pace of global innovation. He founded & funded the Ontario Cross-border Technology Innovation Ecosystem (OCTIE) study and he designed and taught the first, post graduate level, social media course in a full time program in Canada: crowdsourcing over 100 global experts as mentors. Cayley is the Founder of Cdling Capital Services Inc. (pronounced "seedling") a ratings agency that measures risk and builds trust between Founders, Investors and Experts in the era of low cost, globally funded startups and he is the Founder & Director of Startup Grind Toronto.

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