How you run an angel group meeting matters. We have very limited time with entrepreneurs and angels all in the same room, and a lot we want to accomplish. Doing things the wrong way can completely kill momentum. Doing it right can make your meetings more enjoyable and much more productive. I am finding out that there is more diversity in how meetings are run than I had previously thought!
5 years ago most groups I sat in on used this format: 30 minutes of admin, entrepreneurs get to pitch for 15-20 minutes, Q&A lasts 10-15 minutes, about 10 minutes for the angels to discuss the deal and decide what to do next, repeat for 1-2 more presenters.
My group uses a different format right now: 30 minutes of admin, entrepreneurs get only 10 minutes to pitch but they get 20-30 minutes for Q&A, then we have 10 minutes for closed door discussion, repeat for one more entrepreneur. I like my group’s model vs the old models because it allocated much more time for interaction between the entrepreneurs and my angels. This is good for the entrepreneurs because they get to answer the questions my group actually has as opposed to rambling on about what they think we want to hear. My group also always has lunch right after our meetings and invites the entrepreneurs to join us. This often allows us to have our first due diligence meeting with the entrepreneurs that same day.
I recently learned that Alliance of Anges (AoA) does things a bit differently: maybe 5 minutes of admin, entrepreneurs pitch for 10 minutes, Q&A lasts about 5 minutes (1-3 questions), closed door discussion lasts less than five minutes. They have 3 companies present each month. Then they have two portfolio company CEOs give 3 minute update presentations and allow about ten minutes for Q&A. This format essentially removes Q&A and focuses on getting a deal lead and a due diligence team. In this way, the "negative people" are not involved in the Q&A and possibly killing interest. People who like the deal raise their hands and agree to meet with the company, then only interested people are there. The 3 slots for portfolio companies is excellent as it ensures the group is kept up-to-date AND gives the portfolio companies a platform to ask for help.
I am brainstorming a new format for my group: have the entrepreneurs do 10 minute presentations, allow 1-3 clarifying questions (borrowing from AoA) from the angels. Then have each presenting company grab a separate room and tell my angels to pick one and go there. That way, all the time they would have spent in Q&A on a company they are not as interested in gets spent running a de facto first due diligence meeting.
I would love to chat with anyone about how they run their meetings and what ideas we can all borrow from one another.