Looking to the Angels
Angel financing is venture capital that you receive from individual investors. One great aspect of Angel financing is that though the investors are willing to finance your venture, they have no desire to interfere with your business operations in any way. When deciding what business to invest in, Angel investors search for companies that show high-growth prospects, have a connection with their own business, or are a part of an industry within which the Angel investor has succeeded. If you are searching for Angel financing for your business, you can explore a number of different avenues. Don’t hesitate to think of out the box when you search for Angel investors, for they reside in many nooks and crannies. Some excellent arenas within which to begin your search and to find Angel financing include universities, business incubators, venture capital clubs, corporations, industries, the community, banks, celebrities, the high technology sector, and retired individuals.
Angels from your Alma Mater
Though you might not have ever considered it, the university that you attended or a university in your community just might be a source for Angel financing. Most universities, particularly those with business schools and entrepreneurship programs, provide connections that you can tap for Angel financing. To connect with these possibilities within the university community, do your research. Search first for the universities with the best business and entrepreneurship programs. After you locate those, target the top-rated professors within those universities. They very often have strong ties to both business and academia. To begin your quest, start in your own community. Call a university that is near you and that has a business or entrepreneurship program, and make an appointment to speak with the person who runs the program. In many cases you might get more than one contact, and these contacts can often direct you toward the Angels. You should also visit www.UniversityAngels.com, a network of sites that students and alumni can use for posting business plans that accredited investors review within 90 days.
Another source of Angel financing are organizations that are known as business incubators. These are organizations that basically make it their business to aid other small or beginning businesses in an effort to support the success of the business. On the surface the business incubators might be deceiving, as their primary offerings include the brick-and-mortar details of creating a successful business. They assist businesses by providing reasonable rents, a network of shared services, and access to professional assistance. Below the surface, however, the business incubators are often an untapped resource for Angel financing, as many of them do offer formal or informal access to Angel investors. Some good sources for finding business incubators in your area include the Internet, your Chamber of Commerce, and different business or trade organizations. You can also find information on business incubators in some of the larger business magazines and periodicals, such as Entrepreneur, Forbes,and Money.
In the last 15 years, commercialized technology and a robust stock market forged together to create tremendous wealth for many individuals, many of whom are Angel investors. In order to pursuit their own goals of Angel financing, a large number of these investors have organized and formalized their Angel financing activities by establishing venture capital groups and clubs. Through these clubs and groups, the investors create a platform that enables business owners who are looking for capital to pitch their ideas. Since these groups are actively searching for businesses that desire Angel financing, this is a target audience that you should not overlook. To find venture capitalist groups in your area, you should check any local business directories and use the Internet as a resource. Most Chambers of Commerce will also have information on any venture capital groups in your area and ways in which you can contact them, and very often the Chamber itself hosts these groups.
Corporations can also be a good source of Angel financing. Many larger corporations have philanthropic departments that offer financing very similar to Angel financing to businesses and organizations that are allied with certain causes or sectors. For instance, the AT&T Foundation invests in projects and businesses that intersect community needs and AT&T’s business interests. They emphasize programs that serve people’s needs in communities where AT&T has a strong business presence, as well as initiatives that entail using technology in innovative ways. The best way to begin your search for corporate Angel financing is to compile a list of all corporations in your area. Once you have your list, you can contact the corporations, inquire into the existence of a philanthropy department or policy, and then find out how to acquire the details on the types of businesses or projects the corporation supports. You can use the details that you receive from the different corporations to narrow down the list so that you can approach those with whom your business is somehow aligned.
Never forget to search the industry of which your business is a part for your Angel financing, as people with similar interests are often more willing to invest in your business or project. To ensure the utmost success, do a thorough job of studying your particular industry and learn as much as you can about it. The more you explore your own industry, the Angels within it will begin to stand out. You will find the Angels being referenced and mentioned at meetings and conferences, named throughout the different trade magazines, in the newspapers’ business sections, and on relevant web sites. Start tracking the names that you most often see, and learn as much as you can about those individuals. Don’t hesitate to use analysts or journalists within your industry as sources for finding and tracking down the Angels who fund the type of business venture for which you need money.
In your quest for Angel financing, don’t overlook the people within your community with whom you have consistent contact. Consider the people you do business with on a regular basis — your attorney, accountant, doctor, money manager, investment broker, realtor. If none of these individuals are Angels themselves, they just might have connections with or knowledge of Angels in your community. Tap community events, community trade and professional associations, and even other small business owners who are doing what you want to do. Perform your Angel search everywhere you go — seminars, industry-relevant gatherings, trade shows, markets and festivals, and conferences that pertain to business funding. Keep in mind that Angels can be anywhere, and take the time to truly scour your own community and to network with the people whom you run into everyday. Never hesitate to broadcast the fact that you are seeking Angel financing. Someone just might hear you and point you in the right direction.
You might think that approaching a bank for Angel financing is odd, but if you target some smaller banks, especially those with a strong community bond, you might be surprised. If you do your business at a small bank, think about asking the president of the institution. If the president is not interested, chances are good that he or she might know other people in the banking industry who are. If you use a commercial bank, find out who is responsible for loans of $1 million or less. That individual might be able to assist you in finding the financing that you need directly through the bank, or might be able to guide you toward some good Angel financing resources affiliated with the bank. Since banks are in the business of money, don’t hesitate to approach them in regards to your Angel financing, as they are an obvious resource that business owners often overlook.
Even celebrities can be committed to Angel financing and many are, most of whom have quite vast stores of wealth. Though most celebrities tend to finance businesses or projects that are connected to causes for which they share a passion, all you need to do is enough research to discover exactly where their interests lie. Many of the celebrities have established foundations through which they do Angel financing. Examples of celebrity Angels include Rosie O’Donnell, whose For All Kids Foundation, Inc., provides financial support to businesses and nonprofit programs that serve children and families who are economically disadvantaged and at-risk, and Oprah Winfrey, who began Oprah’s Angel Network, which provides Angel financing to a wide variety of businesses and projects. To figure out who the celebrity Angels are, check business and entertainment news, query philanthropic organizations, or research more personal information regarding the celebrity. If the celebrity has his or her own public forum, then chances are you will have no problem identifying him or her as an Angel.
High Tech Angels
One excellent tool that you can use to perform a search for Angel financing is AngelSearchÃ?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½, which is a tool that identifies wealth. The tool peruses government records with the purpose of gathering investment data and industry preferences, as well as total stock positions for some of America’s richest people. This tool provides you with unlimited access to contact information for potential Angel investors, clients, and customers. If you want to raise capital for your business, this is a great way to track down wealthy investors or customers in your area. The database is constantly updated, maintained, and reviewed for accuracy and conciseness. You can access and search the database any time and as often as you want. After you receive the result counts from the database, which is the number of investors that match your query, you decide if you want to buy matching records. Visit the web site for this awesome Angel financing tool at www.angelsearch.com, and while you are online, be sure to search the Internet for similar sites and tools.
People who have retired often look for investments or contributions that they can make upon or during retirement, and many of them are interested in Angel financing. Many retired individuals have dedicated their lives to certain industries or causes, and during retirement they continue their involvement by supporting others in like businesses. You can harvest information on possible retired Angels in a variety of ways. Use the business section of newspapers to learn of current retirees, particularly those who are high on the corporate ladders. These articles often provide interesting details regarding the person’s history and interests, and you can determine if some interests worth targeting exist for you and your business. Explore organizations for retired people also, and contact them to inquire into members who have an interest in Angel financing, or to ask about any other known organizations or associations for retirees. Perform a thorough search within this community, and you are bound to find an Angel financing prospect.