Last night I was fortunate to see prominent NYC angel investor David S. Rose give his “Confessions of an Angel Investor” talk at NYU Stern. I heard super-angel Ron Conway talk last semester, which I thought was amazing, so I was eager for David’s presentation as well. I’ve been lucky to learn a great deal about early-stage VC investing through my internship with Canaan Partners, however, I didn’t previously know quite as much about the angel investing space, therefore I found these sessions to be particularly interesting.
David, who runs Rose Tech Ventures and is the Chairman of the New York Angels, shared some interesting facts about angel investing, and quite a bit of helpful advice for entrepreneurs. I plan to do a couple follow-up posts about his talk, but I’m going to focus this post on the most important things he looks for in entrepreneurs (along with his commentary on each point).
Top 10 Things David Rose Looks for in Entrepreneurs
- Integrity – the #1 most important thing, “this is not bullshit, this is serious”
- Passion – there is a “positive correlation between passion to create something big, and success”
- Experience – [have you started a business before, even if you started and failed (prior failure has no negative correlation with later success)] – “have to learn by doing, until you’ve done everything related to starting a business, you won’t know how”
- Knowledge – knowledge of the market and/or business
- Skill – you have the skills to execute and know how to hire people, market it, run finances, everything (or as much as you can). Need a team that fills in all the functional skills that the business needs.
- Leadership – Can be formal or informal (ie: you were captain of your football team, you started a student club and ran it)
- Commitment – “This is not a weekend thing for you. I need you to stay with this thing until it exits and I get my money back”
- Vision – You must have the vision to create something (this will keep you committed). “Apple’s in the business to change the world one person at a time”
- Realism – “I’ll bet on you to do it, but who’s your first customer?” Building up realistically (without crazy numbers), rational projections that you and I can believe, and how you can get there one person at a time.
- Coachabiltiy – “I want you to be coachable, I want you to listen. If I suggest that you think about something, probably not a bad idea to listen and think about it because together I think we can build something special.”
And he threw in an 11th point that brings it all together:
Communication – “Show me that you can do all these things and convey all this stuff in a meaningful and convincing way.”
All of David’s above-listed points really resonated with me and are things that I am focusing on applying to my inner-entrepreneur. If you missed his talk, you can check out a recorded version HERE (or stay tuned for more tidbits in later posts)!