GenuineVC David Beisel's Perspective on Digital Change

June 13, 2005

My post last week, “VCs and Angels, Where are the Angel Bloggers?” generated quite a bit of interest and notable discussion. According to my Feedburner stats, more of my readers (on a percentage basis) clicked-through this entry than any other post to date. More importantly, others joined shared their own thoughts. Recently Fred Wilson commented that he wished he could “elevate the really good [comments] with links back to the original posts.” I would like to do that here, too. But since raising trackbacks and comments isn’t an option now with Moveable Type, and I want to facilitate a true discussion in my blog as opposed to a one-way monologue, I am going to highlight some of the highlights of the conversations that emerged in response to this post.

The question at hand is: if VCs are prolific bloggers, why aren’t angel investors as well? Why aren’t there more visible angel bloggers? Paul Kedrosky echoed my inquiry, “While I’ve written before about the surprising (at least to me) number of venture bloggers, that number doesn’t include angels, of which I can think of, well, something like none.”

Jeff Clavier notes that “quite a few VCs will double as Angel bloggers.” And he also names a number of high-profile angel investors, “Mark Cuban, Esther Dyson, Joe Kraus, Loic Le Meur, Joi Ito, Nick Denton, Mark Pincus, Andrew Anker.” Yes, these individuals aren’t doing angel investing a primary pursuit, but they do actively participate.

Ed Nusbaum of Ventureblogs commented, “most angels don’t blog about their investing since they try to avoid the hassle of being overly visible.”

B Watson theorized, “I think that blogging is still a little new and cutting edge for most of the angel community out there.”

In sum, it seems that the bloggers who do make angel investments are engaged in other activities that leads them to blog as well. Angel investing isn’t their main subject matter. And for the others, it sounds like there is value in keeping a low profile as an angel investor that VCs weigh with other tradeoffs. Or perhaps some angels are still coming up to speed on the idea of joining the blogging community. If the latter is the case, then I am looking forward to seeing more angels blogging in the near future.

Any other thoughts or ideas out there?

UPDATE: I’d highly recommend reading the follow-up comments to this post.

  • http://www.angelatlanta.com Knox Massey

    Hi David–

    I’ve been thinking about your last post. Here are my thoughts why you don’t see many angels blogging–just yet.

    Visibility

    Most angels operate individually or within small-ish groups. If an angel did blog, would anyone care to listen? Most VC’s have somewhat highly visible funds with traceable partners, managers, portfolio companies, investments, etc. Most angels do not have that type of visibility. This is changing with the advent of the Angel Capital Association, so give us some time.

    Credibility

    See above.

    Resources

    No management fees for us (not that there is anything wrong with that)–so resources are somewhat limited. There are probably 10-20 angel groups that have official “office” space(although that is rapidly growing).

    Relationships

    This industry is very relationship driven. We (angels) all talk to each other regionally and nationally–so we’d be repeating ourselves on blogs. However, if there is a willing market that would read “angel” blogs, I’m sure we’d jump on it.

    I’ll disagree with Ed N.’s comment. Old school angels might want to stay invisible–but most angels out there I deal with are very upfront and always looking (and asking) for new opportunities.

    I’ll also disagree with B. Watson’s comment that blogging is too “new” for angels. The angels I work with cut their teeth on technology and many have worked in the sector for decades. It’s silly to dismiss angels in this manner.

    Jeff Clavier is correct in that many “celebrity” angels do blog. But then, I doubt we read their blogs because of their angel investing interests.

    Let me ask–As angels start to blog (hint,hint), what “angel investing” topics would the VC bloggers or entrepreneurs be interested in?

  • http://newsgator.com/enterprise.aspx Charlie Wood

    Knox,

    As a once and future entrepreneur, I find blogs to be a fantastic way to get a feel for a potential investor in a way that a few meetings could never achieve.

    In an angel blog, I would look for basic information like what kind of deals you’re interested in, but also in the more personal side of angel investing, like stories about deals that you’ve done that have turned out great—and not so great—and what made them that way.

    I’ve learned a lot about the VC business from Brad Feld’s and Fred Wilson’s blogs, and am starting to get an idea of who David Beisel is from this blog. I’ve also identified a couple of VC’s I wouldn’t want to do business with, simply from the way they approach things.

    I think blogs could go a long way toward making people on both sides of the table more familiar with each other before they do a deal. If I were a VC, I’d love to be able to read a couple of years’ worth of writing by an entrepreneur I’m considering backing. And as an entrepreneur, I would find as much value in the blog of any potential investor.

    To your points above, I would say this:
    Visibility—Yes, someone would care to listen.
    Credibility—This isn’t something you need to start out with, rather something you would biuld (online anyway) with your blog
    Resources—Blogging is virtually free, costing only the time it takes to write your thoughts (drop me an email and I’ll give you a 10-minute Blogging 101 over the phone)
    Relationships—Blogging is a great way to reinforce existing relationships and create new ones

    One last suggestion for a topic: “How blogging changed my life as an angel investor (one year later)”

    Good luck!

  • http://www.ventureblogs.com Ventureblogs

    David – thanks for the mention!

    Knox – The central point was that, for the most part, angel investors have a very different cost/benefit ratio in regards to blogging than do VC’s – and that has nothing at all with angels actively seeking deals, only the cost/benefit of how they choose to do so relative to VC’s. Your point regarding resources reinforces that point.

    Finally, your own angelatlanta.com site makes the point quite eloquently in that it appears that not even one angel investor in your group has perceived enough of a benefit of “being more visible” so as to insist that their name (let alone their contact information!) be made publicly available. Also, there is no phone number anywhere on the site and even your own name is not anywhere except indirectly in one mention of your email address. It sure looks like a whole bunch of angel investors going out of their way to be invisible – to “see but not be seen.” Thanks for helping make my point ;-)

  • http://www.angelatlanta.com Knox Massey

    Hi Ed–
    I see that you take exception with my disagreement. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    If anything, we’re probably remiss in updating our website more often. We generally update as we add investments (15 and counting…). Mea culpa.

    Also, if we wanted to stay invisible, we wouldn’t have a website and I certainly wouldn’t be posting here…. :)

    For all the VC’s, angels and entrepreneurs out there that may want to get in touch:
    Knox Massey
    Executive Director
    Atlanta Technology Angels
    404-526-6039
    knox.massey@angelatlanta.com

    Best,
    Knox Massey

  • http://blog.softtechvc.com Jeff Clavier

    The angels I mentioned are visible because of who they are and their principal activity. I don’t have a good answer as to why “professional” angels might lay low.

  • http://swog.clareogroup.com Stephen Sweeney

    I agree with Jeff Clavier. Most of the angels I know are busy with a primary activity. Investing is not their trade.

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