By guest author Irina Patterson
Irina: Right. Do you see any issues in the angel ecosystem? Is there anything that can be improved?
Ray: I think the key thing is, investors like us have to get involved, to educate entrepreneurs.
For example, Silicon Valley is the best ecosystem in the whole wide world. And for us to even match Silicon Valley is a dream. It would take ten to twenty years to do that. So we dare not to try to be a Silicon Valley.
In order for us to kind of get closer to Silicon Valley, we cannot do it by ourselves, we have to get help — to teach entrepreneurs, get involved with them, and nurture them and help them to be successful.
Hopefully, the next generation entrepreneurs say, “Oh, wow, in Orange County LA, this happened five years ago.” It’s easy to dream, but maybe we can also achieve it. And then there will be more entrepreneurs.
And, we hope, more entrepreneurs will be more successful entrepreneurs; there will be more successful deals. So, five years later there will be more success stories. Then new entrepreneurs would say, “Wow! This is great! I want to be like those people.” So, we just have to get involved, as investors, and work with them, fund them, and help them to build good, successful companies. And then when good companies show up, the all the young people will say, “Wow, I want to be like that guy!”
Irina: How do you feel about the Angel Capital Association?
Ray: What they do the best is getting together all the members, putting together one voice. For example, one voice to talk to politicians in terms of what’s important for entrepreneurs, what’s important for angel investors. So, it’s a good organization is to group everybody together, to organize us, to share ideas and to speak as one voice.
Irina: Excellent. Do you belong to any other organizations of that kind? Do you collaborate with anybody else?
Ray: We always do. In Southern California, we work with TechAmerica, we work with TiE, we work with OCTANe. We work pretty much with any organizations that involve with helping to build small businesses.
Irina: Thank you, Ray. Great conversation. I’ve learned a lot.