Central Iowa Angels Conversation Update

I posted the topic "Bridging the gap between Central Iowa start ups and seed/growth capital…" in the "LinkedIowa" dicussion group on LinkedIn a couple of days ago.  There have been a couple great responses (Thanks Dan/Adam). 

I wanted to share a particular thought with you and ask that you extend the conversation further.  Please chime in. Take a look at this quote by Adam J. Falconer, an Iowan now working in Chicago. (emphasis mine).  Adam's contact information as well as the entire discussion thread is available at the link above.  Also, to really execute on this model properly, I don't believe that January is remotely close to enough time.  This must be done right out of the gate and we must provide enough time for people to get through the holidays, hone their pitches, and WE need enough time to organize investors so you have someone that will listen.  Stay tuned for a certain date but I'm thinking about Thursday, March 5 as a potential.  That will provide a Friday, March 6 Panera University social networking debriefing/download opportunity (that perhaps investors will attend to gleen more follow up information). 

Web site for www.centraliowaangels.com coming soon. 
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My background is in technology licensing and
intellectual asset management and I am a native Iowan (Cedar Rapids
area) currently living in Chicago. Most often, the real key to keeping
momentum in an angel network is the quality of the due diligence not
the availability of capital (which is a separate topic).

Evaluating "start-up" ideas is a very specialized skill, and quite
different from the type of work VC partners do. Depending on the
background of the potential "seed/startup" team, the path forward can
be very different (are they researchers from the university, industry
folks who are looking to put some equity into a new venture, or
possibly an end-of-career executive looking for a last dance, etc).
Frankly, the major concern for a small angel network should be lining
up a few good quality deals that can be used to market and promote the
network to new angels and other people who can help.

Many times the judgment of the angel group becomes clouded by local
interests (not the good kind) and the bias of people who are paid to
"help" scout for opportunities (local attorneys or managers with little
experience in technology, entrepreneurship, intellectual property,
commercialization, etc).

No matter the angel model employed, focus on establishing good
relationships with the people who are truly committed to doing positive
things for the local economic scene and business community. Watch out
for bureaucrats and time-wasters….focus on rolling up the sleeves and
getting work done to move the seed-stage companies toward the next step
– then repeat as quickly as possible on the next project.
This should
help with deal flow, and help you get an idea of how many "looks" you
need to find one "investable project." Stay focused and work hard,
manage the angel group's expectations for returns, and have fun!

Please share your comments/questions/thoughts below.


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One thought on “Central Iowa Angels Conversation Update”

  1. IDED and GDMP are planning semi-annual workshops on local investing. They have asked me to participate and I will. Now may be the time to try something new.
    I believe organizing angels is worse than herding cats.
    I also believe most individuals do not know how to select companies or to invest privately, and therefore, should pool their resources (even if they are hard to herd). Hmm, that’s a quandary.
    I agree with Adam’s suggestion that any new approach will need to show a successful deal to move forward. Another quandary. Who chooses.
    I wonder if those frustrated young entrepreneurs we met with at Impromptu the other day would consider forming some sort of co-op or other connective collaboration (like an incubator with no walls; incubators become real estate problems). They get benefits of diversity and collaboration and investors get benefit of not putting all eggs into one basket.
    Then create a local exchange to provide some liquidity. Gotta have liquidity. It’s like beer, a must have.

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