Ideas on paper

Thoughts by José Luis Agell

Category Archives: Fundraising

Feelings after the Launch Silicon Valley 2011

I just got home. I am exhausted after a very long day. But I feel extremely happy.

Today was the Launch Silicon Valley 2011, a major product launch platform for startups in Silicon Valley. The event was organized by SVASE, Garage Technology Ventures and Microsoft and gathered the Silicon Valley’s top VCs, Angels, corporate business development executives, bloggers and media.

I got a very pleasant surprise some days ago when I was told that Innovalley had been selected among 300 applications to present at Launch SV. I prepared the pitch with the valuable help from Andrew and the great feedback from the SVASE crew.

And today was the day. I have to admit that I was a bit scared when I saw the level of the entrepreneurs, investors and panelist who attended.

But it turned out that Innovalley was voted by the audience as the “most likely to succeed, 2011” in the mobile category! We got great prizes for the company (5000 dollars off in legal fees, Pitch sessions with experts, VC meetings…) and an XBOX Kinect for myself. But above all, we got traction and the proof that, despite the obstacles, we’re advancing in the right way.

I feel very thankful to the Launch SV organizers for giving us the opportunity to present and I feel very proud of the Innovalley Team who is making all this possible. You guys rock!

The rise of Angels

There’s being a general discussion out there about how the VC industry is changing , enabling the rise of Angels and Super Angels. The financial downturn has definitely forced a change of model. But there are other factors which are modifying the way start-ups are funded, especially in their early stages.

Naval Ravikant (entrepreneur, angel investor and co-author of Venture Hacks) explains this phenomenon very well in the following video.

And here are my notes:

  • The rise of Angels is an effect of the rise of power of Entrepreneurs,who have gained enormous amount of leverage due to:
  1. -Technology improvements (cloud-computing, social media, blogs, Adwords…).
  2. – Companies can be built as they grow.
  3. – Incubators have surged and are the new business schools. “Learning by doing”.
  • Entrepreneurs are demanding new rights (less control, more specific knowledge, cash upfront,…)
  • Lots of successful entrepreneurs are becoming Angels in order to capitalize their money, especially now that real state is not a business.
  • Financial effects: rounds are continuous, valuation prices change everyday, no round leads, no board seats.
  • VCs bring Money, Advise and Control.
  • Angels bring Money, sometimes Advise, no Control.
  • “Less meeting, more tweetting”. Broadcast (or multicast) your brand.
  • There are companies now who are financing themselves with Angels, from beginning to end.
  • Angels investments stay local. You want to know the entrepreneurs.
  • The smaller the startup, the smaller the Board should be. Early stage companies should have around 2 people in the Board.

Thanks Naval for sharing your insights!