Thoughts on startups by investors that
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Viewing all posts by Bill Payne

user Bill Payne Angel Investor ,
Frontier Angel Fund

Bill Payne has been actively involved in angel investing since 1980. He has funded over 50 companies and mentored over 100. He is a founding member of four angel organizations: Aztec Venture Network, Tech Coast Angels, Vegas Valley Angels, and Frontier Angel Fund.

Addressing the Dreaded Lifestyle Outcome

Posted by on May 18th, 2015

Three outcomes dominate exits of angel-funded companies:

Dead bugs – Startups that go out of business, returning less-than-invested capital to angels (usually zero). Positive exits – Companies that liquidate with capital gains to investors, usually via a cash sale to a larger company.  While IPOs are possible, they are very rare for angel-funded companies.  The exits can range from simply

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Why Does Startup Pricing Vary by Location?

Posted by on May 15th, 2015

Entrepreneurs seem genuinely surprised to find that investors in Peoria or Little Rock are not willing to invest in startup companies at Silicon Valley prices.  After all, they just read in TechCrunch that investors funded a company similar to theirs at an $8 million pre-money valuation!

The valuation of startup companies shouldn’t be impacted by location, should they?  Guess again! 

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US Crowdfunding in 2014

Posted by on May 4th, 2015

Crowdfunding is the practice of raising money for a project or venture from a large number of people utilizing an Internet website or platform.  Funding from each individual can be quite small, $10 or less, although some projects have much higher minimums.  Projects include films, musical recordings, new companies, products, inventions, personal causes and many others.

Since the

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Angel Group Syndication of Series A Rounds

Posted by on May 8th, 2013

US angel investors have been a robust source of seed stage capital for years.  More recently, we have experienced significant growth in the number of funded seed stage deals, due to the emergence of accelerators, super angels and new seed stage funds.  Unfortunately, we are now suffering a Series A startup funding crunch, that is, a lack of seed stage

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US Angel Groups vs. European Business Angel Networks (BANs)

There seems to be a subtle but significant operational difference between many European BANs and US angel networks.  This is an attempt to describe those differences.

In general, BANs seem to have two primary focuses:

(1)   Soliciting a large mailing list of potential angel investor members (and others, such as service providers) and organizing pitching meetings for them.    Members have

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Convertible Debt is Bad For Angels

A couple of years ago, Paul Graham (Y Combinator) tweeted “Convertible notes have won. Every investment so far in this YC batch (and there have been a lot) has been done on a convertible note.”

The truth is convertible debt has not won.  Many sophisticated angel investors and angel groups refuse to invest in convertible debt in seed/startup deals.  Why? 

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Due Diligence Is A Two-Way Street

Investors regularly confuse entrepreneurs with their various approaches to validating deals prior to investment (a process called “due diligence”).   A few seed stage investors (angels, super angels or seed stage VCs) have coffee with an entrepreneur and quickly learn enough to write checks.  Other investors or groups of investors study deals for months before investing.  Why do some investors take

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Raising Your Hand as Due Diligence Lead for Angel Groups

Through Rob Wiltbank’s ground-breaking study in 2007, angels in groups learned that collective due diligence on new deals really pays off.  The 538 angels included in this study enjoyed 2.6X returns over the life of their investments.  However, for deals on which collective due diligence totally less than 20 hours, returns were only 1.1X.  But, deals on which angel put

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2012 Valuation Survey of Angel Groups

This summer I conducted our third annual survey of the pre-money valuation of pre-revenue companies recently funded by angel groups in North America.  Access to our 2010 and 2011 surveys can be found at 2011 Valuation Survey of North American Angel Investor Groups.

We received data from thirty groups of the fifty angel groups from whom we

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Sideways Startups: An Investor’s Dilemma

Editor’s Note: For a great tip on unloading private stock, read this post about how you can donate it.

One-half of angel-funded companies fail, which is why a winning Investment Strategy for Angels includes diversification. That is, to invest in several companies (rather than a few) each with the potential for home-run returns.  Amidst all the talk of failures and exits, we forget

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