Two themes emerged from the weeklong conference… angel protection and useful technology.
You can be smart and lucky – or you can find an under-utilized resource. You can also be useful to founders–and increasingly, investors are seeking that position.
Kevin was one of the original sharks on Shark Tank. He opened the event by speaking about the “infomercial” and how he came to invent it.
It was an excellent reminder on how to discover value. Kevin saw test stripes on cable channel screens after prime time programming, which gave him an idea about a cheap, underutilized resource. But it was when he stumbled upon a great pitchman with a new kind of knife – the Ginzu knife – and a circuit of pitchmen just like him, that Kevin saw the potential for a new world of selling… and so the infomercial was born.
How many investors are on the lookout for this type of combination?
Kevin believes he sees that again on your cell phone and is introducing Starshop – a celebrity based sales channel on your mobile.
Brian discovered Pinterest by dint of smarts and luck… and yet his keynote was all about caution in angel investing. There are only a few good deals and many, many more that could go astray!
While angel investing goes on and innovation continues, Brian talked about how few angel investors profit from their risk. There was even a hint of push back by Angels. It is hard to imagine a “Million Angel March” or even the unionization of investors, but there clearly was a sense that angels need to organize in some way to reduce risks and minimize dilution, which is part of Angel Week mission!
Bernard Rudnick of MidAtlantic BioAngels, our Angel of the Year awardee, not only profited for his group by over 5x, he also instituted a startup dividend pool forcing a payout back into the Investors.
In his opening speech, Alan celebrated angels by noting that it is not government that drives innovation… but hopeful entrepreneurs and the investors willing to back them.
This became one of the themes of the day – the investments being made that show a renewed interest in infrastructure innovation. Investments that confront real problems solvable by technology and other innovative solutions.
Now that the never-ending search for a paradigm shift is focusing on real world and infrastructure problems, we are developing a kind of X-Prize for startups that solve problems that matter. Stay tuned…
We thank all of you who helped make Angel Week NY a success!