Who are angel investors? What makes a good one? Why do they do it, and where are they coming from?
Those were the kinds of questions Calgary Herald reporter Daerek Sankey asked for this piece in today’s edition. Sankey spoke to some leading Albertan angels about their motivations, histories and philosophies, and came up with a unique picture. A picture of experienced mentors who are maybe through with running a business day-to-day, but aren’t quite ready to hang ‘em up yet. They might see an opportunity too good to pass up, or might just like what they see in a young entrepreneur with drive — after all, most angels were just young entrepreneurs themselves at one point.
Here’s an excerpt from Sankey’s article, including comments from Henry Kutarna [pictured], who heads an angel network called Alberta Deal Generator:
"We see our mission as to help create a capital market for technology, early-stage deals in Alberta," he says. "Today, I'm most excited about technology because of the high-growth potential . . . and the creativity and innovation you see in these early-stage deals."
He originally started managing deals in real estate and moved to manufacturing before focusing in on technology startups, but angel investors can throw their money behind any venture. The common thread is that they tend to be very active in these ventures - lending their own expertise as advisers - and they want to make big money.
"They want five to ten times their money in three years," says Kutarna. "You find an angel investor has a higher risk tolerance because they're early in the process. They are willing to roll up their sleeves and sit on your advisory board or work alongside you."
Some people wonder what drives angel investors to put so much of their own money on the line, but they're all aware of the risk - and the returns - and are usually motivated by more than just profits, says Kutarna.
"They are also people that like and enjoy working in the startup environment," he says. "They like to help a young entrepreneur get going. There's an authenticity to them that's cool to see."
To find out more about Kutarna and the Alberta Deal Generator, click here.