Thursday, September 27, 2012

Investor Post: Seattle Angel Conference #2 - by Charlie Kindel

On May 30, 2012 we held the first ever Seattle Angel Conference. It was a smashing success. Bolstered by the success of the first event, we’re doing it again on December 13.
The primary mission of those of us helping to drive Seattle Angel Conferences is:
“To grow the angel community in greater Seattle by creating an open environment where any accredited investor can participate in the investment of new startups.”
We know there are a lot of potential angel investors in Seattle who can’t evenspell “Angel Investing”. We want to create an environment where noob angel investors can “dip their toes in the water” and get involved in a relatively low-risk manner.
Here’s how it works:

The Investors

  • We shoot for recruiting around 40 investors from the Seattle area to participate. Ideally these are “new, never done angel investing” investors, but we welcome anyone as long as they are an accredited investor.
  • Each investor commits $5000 + a service fee.
  • Over 8-10 weeks leading up to the conference date, the investors meet regularly to learn about angel investing, due-diligence, term-sheets, deal flow, and so-forth. This is done via events as well as actually digging into due-diligence in the startups that are participating.
  • The money (($5000 + fee) * number of investors) gets put into a newly formed LLC and an LLC manager is selected. That LLC manages the investment moving forward.  40 investors means a $200k investment in a startup.
  • For the first conference in May we had 20 investors (and thus invested $100k).

The Startups

  • We recruit 100 or so early stage (seed stage) startups to participate.
  • The startups can be in any industry. Illumagear, the winner of the first Seattle Angel Conference had a construction gear product.
  • The startups go through a screening process (where the investors do due-diligence) over the same 8-10 week period.  The startups will meet with the group of investors several times.  Through this they get valuable feedback and practice in doing their pitches.
  • The top 5 or 6 startups are selected to participate in the Conference.
  • We believe in investing in the Seattle area so we have a rule that participating startups must be headquartered within a day’s drive from the city of Seattle.

The Event

  • At the event (December 13, 2012) the top 5 or 6 startups will get up on stage and give one final pitch for their company in front of an audience of several hundred people (we had ~150 or so in May).
  • Food & drinks are served and attendees will hear keynote speaker.
  • Anyone can attend the event: investors, entrepreneurs, media, etc… Everyone is welcome.
  • We charge for attendance; we run the program to break even. The more attendees we get, the more money goes into ensuring the event is high quality.
  • We are actively seeking event sponsors as well. If you are interested in having your company get great visibility please contact John Sechrest.
  • After the startups do their final pitches, the investors get into a back-room and decided which one of the finalists wins the big check. It’s kinda like American Idol. And a lot of fun.
Join in the fun.  If you have ever considered investing in early stage startups but didn’t know how to get started, or were scared because it seemed too risky, the Seattle Angel Conference is for you. One way of thinking of it is you get real hand’s on training on how to be an angel investor for just $5K.
We are providing early bird registration now through Sept 15th.  Get signed up early and save. Entrepreneurs register Here. Angel investors register here.
The entrepreneur registration deadline is October 15.

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