By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold
Irina: How do you swap deals with other angel groups? By e-mail?
Corey: That was how it was done years ago, and it’s still done that way, sometimes but there’s a Web platform called AngelSoft, and that makes it really easy. There are features right inside AngelSoft, so we can just send deals right through the AngelSoft system to any group that uses it. That makes it easy. But there are some groups that don’t like using AngelSoft – the Dallas group, for instance – so, we do it, as you said, I’ll just connect the executive summaries to an e-mail and we’ll swap back and forth that way.
We tell companies not to send us anything confidential, so there can be no problems with sharing deal flow. We let people know we share deal flow with other respective groups. And our associates and our contacts will often help us review deals because if there’s a space in which nobody in our group has a real background, then chances are they have an associate who has a background in it, so they’ll help us review and screen the deals.
That’s why we don’t have entrepreneurs send us any kind of confidential information at that early stage. We only take confidential information once we’ve gotten deep into the due diligence process and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) have been signed and all that.
Irina: What do you like about AngelSoft?
Corey: It’s an extremely convenient tool. The interface is easy to use. It’s well designed, they’ve improved it a lot over the years, and it makes all the things we just talked about so much easier – referring deals to each other easier, organizing our own deal flow, getting the members to review deals and give us their feedback.
It’s a great tool. It cut down a lot of man hours that used to be wasted doing simple clerical tasks such as building databases and spreadsheets. Now that stuff’s just handled automatically by AngelSoft. And I’ve had great experiences with their employees, too. They’re very prompt and professional. When there’s a problem, they get right on it.
Irina: Do you have to pay a fee to use it?
Corey: I think that they charge, maybe now. I know initially it was free, but people who were already in were grandfathered in, and it’s free for them. They might be charging people now, I don’t know. I know it’s free for us, and it’s certainly free for everybody who got in early.
Irina: So, if entrepreneurs want to apply, they send their business plans to you through AngelSoft?
Corey: Right. They can go on to AngelSoft and access any of the groups that are on AngelSoft and send their deals into them.
Our own site, the links for people to apply, directs them to the AngelSoft application page. If we need someone who has the expertise we need to help screen a deal or the other angel groups that we share deal flow with, AngelSoft makes that process very easy.
The way the screening process works. And, again, it’s a little different. Most angel groups have a dedicated screening committee, you know, a subset group where that’s their job. We used to do it that way. We don’t anymore. The way we do it is the deals come in and my brother and I do the pre-screening.
We weed out people who are obvious non-fits or duds, whether that’s because they’re from a space that we just don’t think we’ll be interested in or because they’re unprofessional, or because they want $20 million and that they haven’t sold anything.