VC, entrepreneurism, startup economy

Is the Time for Angels Past?

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In the past month I’ve had two companies that I’ve committed to investing in come back and say a VC has decided to take the whole round. These were the best two deals in my funnel. The next two best companies are asking for non-standard deal terms. I don’t do non-standard deal terms (after twelve years of professional venture investing, I’ve realized non-standard deal terms are just not worth the hassle.)

The last 18 months have been a great time to be an angel. Only the hardest-core company-building VCs–like USV and First Round–were systematically investing in seed stage companies. This left room for people like me to invest.

Now the VCs who sat out the last year scared have realized that if they want to put money into successful companies at reasonable prices, then they need to have invested in those companies before they became successful. And this option value means they can offer entrepreneurs a better deal than I can (my optionality is limited by my relatively meager investable funds.)

The people I’ve co-invested with over the past couple of years have been a huge resource to the companies we’re in. I’d hate to see that strategic value squeezed out in favor of investors who are more money-manager than company-builder. But that, I think, is what is about to happen.

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