Angel investors are a critical part of the funding for many startups. They swoop in with money, connections and advice and can be just the thing your early-stage company needs to turn a great idea into a viable company.
The press has given celebrity status to a select few angels, who either have sold their companies or are corporate CEOs like Marissa Mayer (Yahoo), Reed Hastings (Netflix) and Kevin Rose (Digg), but don't be fooled by the seemingly scarce number of angels; there are in fact hundreds of thousands of these types of investors, and last year they invested $23 billion in startups.
Want a piece of the action? First thing to know is that not every angel is right for every company. There needs to be an alignment of business philosophies and principles.
Here's a list of 10 exciting angel investors to watch. Learn about their philosophies, who they're investing in and what they look for in up-and-coming startups.
1. The Mentor: Peter Relan
Investment philosophy: Relan chooses which companies to invest in based on an entrepreneur's intelligence over an idea. He practices cradle-to-grave mentorship.
Type of investments: Betting on the person, not the industry
Wins: ZipPay/X.Com (PayPal), Scient, FastForward Networks (Yahoo)
2. The Team Player: Tony Shipley
Investment philosophy: Shipley invests in pre-revenue and early-stage companies that are focused on building “strategically” important applications.
Type of investments: Technology-oriented businesses, including IT and life sciences
Wins: ShareThis, Fortis
3. The SuperAngel: Dave Berkus
Investment philosophy: Berkus is a role-up-your-sleeves kind of guy, who likes to digs into the numbers.
Type of investments: Strictly technology
Wins: GameSpy Industries, Green Dot
4. The Game Changer: Shlomo Kramer
Investment philosophy: Kramer looks for scalable companies that either solve a new problem or introduce a disruptive idea for solving an existing problem within an already established market.
Type of investments: Security technology and IT businesses
Wins: Palo Alto Networks, Worklight (IBM), Business Layers (CA) and Digital Fuel (VMware)
5. The Coach: Boris Wertz
Investment philosophy: Wertz looks for passionate entrepreneurs with deep domain knowledge who know they need help.
Type of investments: Consumer Internet, e-commerce, SaaS and mobile opportunities
Wins: AbeBooks (Amazon), Indiegogo
6. The Creative: Howard Tullman
Investment philosophy: Tullman focuses on disruptive technologies in industries where he can add industry connections and experience.
Type of investments: Automotive, insurance, data management, media and publishing, education, customer satisfaction measurement and management
7. The Builder: David Rose
Investment philosophy: Rose chooses people who have scalable business models.
Type of investments: "Platform" type businesses, which provide an infrastructure to enable other companies and individuals to make money
Wins: Google, Facebook, Mashery (Intel)
8. The Action Hero: Gil Penchina
Investment philosophy: Penchina primarily considers two things: data and his gut feel.
Type of investments: Consumer Internet, payments, marketplaces and consumerization of the enterprise
Wins: LinkedIn, PayPal, Evite
9. The Co-Founder: Steve Miller
Investment philosophy: Miller likes to think and act like a co-founder of the business and will invest time and energy into getting to know founders and their ideas at a deeper level.
Type of Investments: Consumer Internet, social media
Wins: Golf.com (Time Inc.)
10. The Collaborator: Angela Lee
Investment philosophy: Lee focuses on how the founders interact with each other and create synergy.
Type of investments: Health care and education technology
Wins: Legend Fighting Championship
Which other angel investors would you add to the list?
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