Friday, November 19, 2010

Angels or Demons

Following up on my recent post regarding Angels' reduced appetite for seed and startup investing, the October 2, 2010 print edition of The Economist presents a brief article entitled "Venture Capital: Angels or demons?", which argues the opposite point, describing a category of creature it dubs super angels "who run funds that invest in deals considered too small to be of interest to traditional venture-capital firms.":

Established firms have rediscovered their appetite for seed funding: Greylock Partners, a well-known venture firm, this week said it had launched a $20m seed fund.

So, the question is, which is it? Well, obviously it can be both. One problem we face is what I term the Depth-of-Field Problem. The concept of depth of field derives the world of photography and describes the range of clarity that surrounds a point of focus. The greater our distance from a point of focus, the more things look alike. The closer we are, the greater variety we can distinguish.

This often leads us to stereotype and cluster that which we have the least experience with, as the title of the above cited article implies: angels or demons? Despite entrepreneurs' and investors' possibly differing motivations, it is possible to find common ground. From my vantage, the greatest need in our economy is for seed and startup funds, which often provide the spark to an entrepreneur's kindling. Anyone interested in providing it is an angel in my book.

***Edited to add:
Here's a link to the Greylock Discover Fund, cited above, which anticipates investments from $25k -$500k.

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