Postmortem: Northeast angel syndication meeting

Two weeks ago I helped host an regional syndication event for "wrapped-up-and-ready-to-go" deals backed by New England angel groups. Normally we hold meetings like this in the Northeast, but because of the national summit in Q2, we were all too burned out for organizing another big event. But after several angel group leaders contacted me about deals they were investing in and trying to syndicate, I thought we should try for a low-key syndication event.

Event Description:

Our goal:

is to help sydnciate some deals quickly while giving all of us a chance to socialize more than our breakfast meetings normally allow.

The afternoon’s agenda

is simple: cocktails, entrepreneur presentations, and then breakouts for each company.

Presenters:

Because of the timing of this event, we have worked to minimize friction by selecting only deals "wrapped up and ready to go."

Autotether Logo

Autotether

– Marine safety technology. Backed by Angel Investor Forum (CT) and Boston Harbor Angels (MA).

Qstream logo

Qstream

– Online/mobile education. Backed by Launchpad Venture Group (MA)

Copiun logo

Copiun – Mobile data. Backed by Hub Angels (MA), and Beacon (MA).

We ended up hosting it late afternoon right before another major startup networking event in Boston. So here is my postmortem…

What went right:

  • Presenters were excellent. They presented well, had backing by at least one angel group, due diligence documentation ready-to-be-shared, etc.
  • Each company had active deal leads (angel investors from the investing angel group) ready to help make the deals happen.
  • Charging people to attend ($50-75 per person) did not seem a problem. (Although maybe our attendance issues came in part from the ticket price?)

What went wrong:

  • Location – Downtown Boston is a pain to get to.
  • Location – They did not have air conditioning, despite my request for it. IT WAS HOT!
  • Timing – We held it at 4pm and at the venue we selected so we could dovetail right into another event. In retrospect this was a mistake. If we had done a dinner event, somewhere classy, fun, and easy to get to, we would have had more people attend.
  • Attendance – We had 25 people RSVP, only 15 showed. Even if all 25 had showed, it was just too few. Mostly it was group leaders. The deal leads didn’t need a special event to connect with group leaders, we all already know each other.

What we could do better next time:

  • Presenters – Keep our presenter requirements, they worked 🙂
  • Location & Timing – Do an evening event with food and wine, somewhere nice, somewhere EASY to get to.
  • Invite Earlier – We deliberately tried to cram this in on short notice to see if it would work. I’m glad we did because we learned a lot, but from now on we need at least 1 month’s notice to attendees.
  • Minimum attendance – If we get less than 50 RSVPs, cancel the event. We need critical mass to make it work.
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