An angel investor is often described as an investor in a start-up company using his or her own money, and operating outside of a partnership model. Routinely these individuals invest in early-stage start-up companies and have a different set of incentives and legal constraints than traditional venture capital firms. Because of these differences, angel investors are a difficult group to generalize. Moreover, while plenty of literature exists to help an entrepreneur prepare for pitching to venture capitalists, such as Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson’s Venture Deals, less guidance is available on how to pitch one’s idea to an angel investor. Techstars alum and incoming Managing Director Natty Zola will sit down with Techstars founder David Cohen to discuss how to effectively pitch to angel investors. Drawing on his experience of funding more than 600 startups including Uber, Twilio, SendGrid, Sphero, and Digital Ocean, David is in a prime position to give his thoughts on the process and what works best, from an investor’s perspective. Since angel investors are a growing area of venture investing, this topic is extremely timely.
In this Crash Course, the two will utilize a Q&A format to outline what you can expect and provide some practical tips on how to interact with angel investors, including common mistakes and how best to avoid them. As angel investors are such a disparate and changing group of investors, this session is well-suited for both first-time and seasoned entrepreneurs.
David Cohen, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Techstars
Previously, David was a founder of several software and web technology companies. He was the founder and CTO of Pinpoint Technologies which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation (NASDAQ: ZOLL) in 1999. You can read about it in No Vision, All Drive [Amazon]. David was also the founder and CEO of earFeeder.com, a music service which was sold to SonicSwap.com in 2006. He also had what he likes to think of as a “graceful failure” in between. David is an active startup advocate, advisor, board member, and technology advisor who comments on these topics on his blog at DavidGCohen.com. He is also very active at the University of Colorado, serving as a member of the Board of Advisors of the Computer Science Department and the Entrepreneurial Advisory Board at Silicon Flatirons. David also runs the Colorado chapter of the Open Angel Forum. David’s hobbies are technology, software/web startups, business history, and tennis. He is married to the coolest girl he’s ever met and has three amazing kids who always seem to be teaching him something new.
Natty Zola, Managing Director, Techstars Boulder
Previously Natty was Head of Consumer Products for MapQuest, where he helped MapQuest return to profitability and year-over-year growth for the first time since 2007. Before MapQuest, he was a founder of Everlater.com, a travel blogging platform and CRM system for tour operators, that participated in Techstars in 2009 and was acquired by AOL in 2012. He also graduated from GE’s Financial Management Program and worked with Jim Collins on the best selling books “Great by Choice” and “How the Mighty Fall.” Natty is passionate about helping startups find product market fit, accelerate their growth, and develop company culture. His hobbies include mountain biking, reading business books, testing new apps, anything design related and gardening. He welcomed his first son into the world in May.