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Seed Capital From Angel Investors: Corey Silva, Assistant Manager, River Valley Investors (Part 11)

Posted on Thursday, Jun 17th 2010

By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold

Irina: Do you charge a fee for entrepreneurs to present?

Corey: We do not. We charge no fee. In fact, not only do we not charge a fee for presentation, but we give free coaching services, for which most angel groups that have some kind of coaching services or boot camp or whatever charge. We don’t do that.

What we do is give free coaching. My brother and I used to do it together for a long time, but since I took my new position, I haven’t had time. But what we do are dry run sessions. We spend an hour and a half, sometimes two hours, on GoToMeeting, and we go over their entire presentation and pick it apart. We tell them, Hey, this is how you can improve it.

These are the kind of things that are different about our group, so these are the things you might want to change. We spend an hour and half, two hours coaching presenters and trying to optimize their performances and give them the best chance to succeed in front of our audience.

We work with other groups that do charge for presentations – and I’m not trying to be morally self-righteous about it, because everyone’s got their own way and that’s fine – but I think the feeling among the vast majority of the members in our group is they don’t like that idea. I think they say, Hey, we’re rich guys, and these are young companies. Sometimes these young companies have rich principals, but oftentimes they’re young companies with people who are bootstrapping, and every dime is precious. They need this money, and our members just don’t feel right asking for some kind of fee . . . it just doesn’t feel right to our group so we don’t do it.

Irina: Right. And what do you think angels in general could do to improve their chances of success?

Corey: That’s an excellent question. I think one thing is that a lot of angels, even if they don’t go consciously into an angel group with this mindset, I think that subconsciously a lot of angels are in groups more as a hobby.

There are a lot of hobbyists, not just in my group, in all groups. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of guys who are in it to have fun. They go see their buddies, they grew up with some of these guys or girls, or they used to run a company with them, and there’s a social aspect to it.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. We have a lot of camaraderie in the group and that’s very good. But you have to have a critical mass of members who are active and diligent and are really working and taking it seriously.

If you have that critical mass of members in the group who are active and are diligent and are really doing the homework and mining their own connections and their own networks, then you can have that other subset of the group that’s there more for the social aspect.

And it works because those people, maybe they don’t have the time or interest to put into it, but that’s okay because they probably have money. And they can piggyback onto the active members’ research work.

This segment is part 11 in the series : Seed Capital From Angel Investors: Corey Silva, Assistant Manager, River Valley Investors
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