March 8th 2013
By Olivia Just
Angel investment is not just about providing funding to a startup — it can also be about building a relationship and becoming a source of advice, contacts and other intangible support for a budding business.
Together, the Stamford Innovation Center and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels Association of Greater New York will offer a guide to angel investing with an event, “Angel Investing 101 — Best Practices,” on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Innovation Center, 175 Atlantic St.
The event is largely intended for angel investors to become well-versed in their sector and to make connections, but it also looks to educate entrepreneurs and anyone who is interested in networking with investors.
“It’s really a perfect match,” Diana Dowling, acting director of the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels Association of Greater New York, said. “Our goal as a group is to work with angels and identify good opportunities for investments.
The Innovation Center has the knowledge of what entrepreneurs are experiencing.”
Four panelists will discuss and answer questions that typically crop up among angel investors, like how to find companies to invest in, whether to form an angel network and how to best utilize it, how to value a company and know when it’s time to bow out.
The panelists include Susan Balloch, managing director, Golden Seeds, formerly executive director and principal, The Blackstone Group; Karen Bantuveris, founder and chief executive officer, VolunteerSpot; David Teten, partner, ff Venture Capital, and chairman, HBS Alumni Angels of Greater New York; and Bob Dahl, HBS Alumni Angel, formerly head of Global Healthcare for the Carlyle Group. The discussion will be moderated by Katina Stefanova of Bridgewater Associates in Westport.
“In a region that has as much wealth as ours, there’ not as much investment in startups as you’d expect,” said Peter Propp, vice president of marketing at the Stamford Innovation Center. “Our hope is that linking angel investors with a place for startups, we’ll create those connections.”
A benefit of angel investment, where just one individual provides capital as opposed to a large group or company, is the network of connections and depth of experience that individual can bring to a startup, Dowling said. Angel investors need to be solvent and savvy about the risks they’re taking but also open to the benefits they’ll receive and provide.
“You need to understand that investment can be risky, it can be long term and it can yield great returns,” Dowling said. “If you accept the risk and know it’ll be years before your investment yields anything, then it might be a good fit.”