Angels: Trust the founders
I’m a big believer in putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. It separates the men from the boys and those who genuinely know what they’re talking about from the bullshitters (and, trust me – there are a lot of bullshitters in this industry). However, despite having been involved in a bunch of startups over the past 16 years and despite having pitched to a lot of VCs over the years, I’ve never actually invested any of my own money in a start-up – until this week.
I’ve long believed that the best way to understand risk is to take some and I reckon that the best way to understand what motivates potential investors is to become one yourself. So, earlier this week, I invested a (very) low five-figure amount for a (very) small stake in a classic dot-com startup
In time, I plan to share some of the lessons I learn from the experience but, for now, that’s all the information I’m prepared to divulge because the management team of the startup I’ve just invested in have decided that they don’t want to make a big song’n’dance about the fact that I’ve invested. And therein lies the first lesson – when you invest in a startup, you’re effectively investing in the management team, which means that you need to trust them. If you don’t trust them, don’t invest. If you do trust them, don’t try to second-guess them. You can (and should) advise them but, ultimately, it’s up to them to decide whether or not they should follow your advice.
Basically, it’s their job to run the company. So let them get on with it.
Photo: A snowboarder grabbing some big air in St Moritz.