Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Twitter Roundup

Angel Investment News:

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Fund Raising:

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Read anything interesting? Feel free to add links to any articles or resources you’d like to share with the angel community.

Or are you looking to raise funding?  Send me a summary of your project at mike@angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk and we’ll try to help.

Infographic – 6 Amazing Social Media Statistics For Brands And Businesses

What Are the Top 3 Qualities Angel Investors Look For

Ryan Scott, a successful entrepreneur, investor and advisor to startup companies and charities, talks about what angel investors look for in entrepreneurs.

MANDATORY CREDIT: Zoe Barling Undated family handout photo of

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Video – Ravi Gururaj of Harvard Business Angels on What Angels Want

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Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Funding Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the recent seed-stage and angel deals from around the world:

  • Bitbar, the startup behind cloud-based mobile app testing platform Testdroid, has closed $3 million funding
  • Bitium, a powerful SaaS management tool that lets you get more out of the apps you work with every day, closes $2.4M seed funding
  • Crowdtilt, the simple-to-use platform to pool money online, has closed $12 million Series A funding
  • Yodo1, a leading publisher of Western smartphone games for China’s iOS/Android market, has raised $5 million Series A funding
  • Evolve Vacation Rental Network, an online booking platform for vacation rental properties, has raised $2.7M Series A funding
  • Motain, the company behind The Football App, which brings all manner of information to football (soccer) fans, lands €10M Series A funding
  • Zonoff, creator of the Intuitive Home platform for home automation, has raised $3.8M venture capital funding
  • Tastebuds.fm, the social service that helps you meet new people through music, has closed a $600k seed investment
  • GoCardless, a UK startup that helps businesses set up automatic bill pay, direct debits & recurring payments, gets $3.3M Series A funding
  • Online lifestyle marketplace Pepperfry.com has raised $8 million Series B funding from Norwest Venture Partners
  • Ionic Security, delivering the first unified cloud & mobility security platform for the enterprise, closes a $9.4M Series A investment
  • LevelEleven, a company focused on enterprise gamification and CRM technology, has secured $1.5M seed financing
  • BodeTree, an online service that helps small business owners better understand their finances, has raised $1.4M seed funding
  • PhoRent.com, a Peer to Peer rental community where you can list any item you own “Pho Rent”, receives $100,000 seed funding
  • Upstart, which allows you to back promising college graduates for a small share of their future income, raises $5.9M Series A funding
  • Skimlinks, a platform that gives publishers control over affiliate links and content monetization, completes a financing round
  • Bluetrain Mobile, a start-up that offers tools to easily craft mobile marketing websites, has raised $1.53M seed funding
  • ZooZ, a consumer-driven payment platform startup, has closed a $2 million Series A funding round
  • Seelio, a startup where users can create an online portfolio to highlight their work, has raised $900,000 seed funding
  • Nativo, a startup aiming to make it easy for online publishers to run sponsored content, has raised $1.8M seed funding
  • CrowdMed, which harnesses ‘the wisdom of crowds’ to solve even the world’s most difficult medical cases, just raised $1.1M seed funding
  • Gcorelab, developer of a new technology to control the thermal issues that plague lithium-ion batteries, attracts S$589,000 funding
  • Mavatar, a shopping app that searches for deals on items in your cart and applies coupons automatically, raises $1 million seed funding

To get regular updates, come follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/angel__network or register for our blog at http://www.angelinvestmentnetwork.net/wp-login.php?action=register.

Have you managed to raise capital for your company?  We always love to hear from entrepreneurs who manage to get funded.

Or are you looking to raise funding?  Send me a summary of your project at mike@angelinvestmentnetwork.co.uk and we’ll try to help.

 

Crowdfunding is great for start-ups but is it so great for investors?

I want to start by clarifying two things. Firstly that I am a big fan of donation-based crowdfunding, where people can donate money to creative or social projects that they’re interested in and want to support.  And secondly that I think crowdfunding sites are a very valuable tool for start-ups as they offer an additional route to raising capital (and maybe more accessible for those who aren’t connected to angels or VC’s). However, from my experience in angel investing, I see some big issues for investors who choose to use crowdfunding sites.

1) Lack of Experience

A report written by Robert E. Wiltbank, Ph.D (Associate Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at Willamette University, Oregon), showed that angel investors with entrepreneurial expertise outperformed those without it, especially in earlier-stage opportunities (see figure 2 below taken from the report).  The same study also showed that angels who invested in opportunities where they have specific industry expertise failed significantly less (see figure 3 below). Since crowdfunding is open to the general public, many of the investors will be inexperienced without entrepreneurial or industry expertise, which means their chances of making a good return on investment would be significantly reduced.

2) No Due Diligence

Formal venture capital investors regularly spend hundreds of hours evaluating potential investments before making a commitment. It has been proved that even a relatively small amount of due diligence can help avoid failure. Crowdfunding investors are expected to make their final decision based on reviewing whatever documentation is available online, maybe asking a few questions by email and having no face-to-face interaction with the team at all. In short, I feel the inability for investors to do proper due diligence is a recipe for disaster.

3) No Investor Involvement

One of the main advantages of traditional equity funding is that the company gets the benefit of the angel’s or VC’s experience, contacts and expertise. Research has shown that, where investors become involved in businesses in which they invest at a strategic level, leads to significantly better final results.  However, this obviously isn’t possible with crowdfunding, as most crowdfunding sites stipulate that the investors must remain silent partners.  Also, no founder in their right mind would want a crowd of hundreds of investors breathing down their neck.

4) Bad Dealflow

I think most entrepreneurs revert to crowdfunding as a plan B after they don’t manage to raise funding from angel investors or venture capitalists. Why would anyone want the hassle of hundreds of silent shareholders who add no strategic value when they could have a small group of investors who will use their experience, expertise and contacts to help drive the business forward? Surely that means that a lot of the companies on crowdfunding sites are the deals that have already been turned down by angels, which means you’re basically investing in angel investors’ leftovers?

Entrepreneurship and start-up creation are critical to any country’s economic development, so I think it’s great that entrepreneurs have a new way to raise funding.  On the flipside, my main concern is that if you apply the same stats from angel investing to crowdfunding, the investor returns are going to be worryingly low.

What’s your view?  Have you (or someone you know) had any problems investing through crowdfunding sites? Or on a more positive note have you invested in a crowdfunded company that has gone on to become a success?

Infographic – What Are The Best Ways To Engage Social Media Users?

So you want a Twitter Profile for your business? And maybe a Facebook Page, too. Perhaps you’re thinking about doing something on Pinterest. And you keep hearing all this good stuff about Instagram. Now what? How do you go about actually engaging your audience?

As always, we’d love to hear what you think.  What do you feel are the best ways to engage with social media users?