02 Jul Online Education and Angel Group
Second Tuesday of the month.
6:00 – 8:30 PM.
Dinner and pitches.
Many angel groups operate under what is commonly known as the “dinner club model” where members get together once a month to have dinner and hear pitches. This model works very well for a lot of people, and many angel groups are very successful operating as such. CAV Angels, however, operates quite differently.
One of the outcomes we hope to achieve at CAV Angels is to decrease the barrier to entry into the angel investment space. For many, the biggest barrier is knowledge: “what do I even look for in an angel deal?” We diminish this issue by providing both broad education about early stage investing and also through professional due diligence on real investment opportunities.
For others, the biggest barrier to entry is access: “how do I see good deals if I just don’t have time to commit to dinners every month?” At CAV Angels, we hear you and understand not everyone has the capacity to commit to the dinner model. Thus, our deal flow is available entirely online and available 24×7, even at home in your bunny slippers!
Operating virtually not only lets busy people review deals whenever and wherever they want; it also allows CAV Angels to recruit investors from all over the United States and even internationally, as well as look at deals from across the US (sorry, no international deals at this time!). In the past year, we have seen deals and signed up investors from Boston to Miami to California, and this diversity of geography makes for a much stronger organization.
Operating virtually, however, is not just beneficial to investors; in fact, I think it can be more beneficial to entrepreneurs in many situations.
One of the biggest themes I hear from entrepreneurs is that fund raising is extremely time consuming and often results in road trips all across the region. In fact, one Charlottesville entrepreneur told me they drove to seven different cities in 4 states (often multiple times per city) pitching for investment simply because their raise was too small for most VCs and too big for any one angel group to fill (see Valley of Death blog post for more on this topic). I shudder to think how much time and money was spent / wasted just traveling around looking for investment. By operating virtually, entrepreneurs aren’t required to travel to Cville to talk to us! Thus, we have connected with UVA entrepreneurs from literally all over the US for mentorship, networking, and funding, and none of them have been forced to meet with us in person, although obviously we welcome in person meetings when practical.
Furthermore, it is not commonly known that startups often are forced to relocate after a large investment; there are many reasons this happens, but basically, the investor is better able to help (and keep tabs on) the company if the company is local. For example, a company in Charlottesville who raises a large investment from a VC in California often will have to move their headquarters to the Golden State as a condition of the investment. Our virtual operations can help to reduce (or at least delay) these relocations because we can access more capital from geographically dispersed investors that otherwise never would have seen the deal. For example, our members in New York would rarely even hear about a deal in Richmond, so by connecting UVA’s entrepreneurs and investors virtually, we can expand entrepreneurs’ access to capital and hopefully enable them to not relocate.