Pre-screening today (8/2)

Today I am pre-screening new deals coming into my angel group. I find that when entrepreneurs "see how the sausage is made" is helps them design their own documents and presentations to get through the gauntlet.

Some samples from today’s pre-screening (anonymized):

  • Deal 1 – Failed to frontload any credibility in their application (just-another-idea). Used 1st person in professional documents instead of 3rd person (sends a signal of unprofessional). Sounds like they are generating revenue (good!) but I am not sure from their opening ext. Time spent: 1 minute. Decision: decline.
  • Deal 2 – Grammar error on first line (signal=unprofessional). Opening language is full of buzz words dressing up what they do without actually telling me what benefits they deliver, to whom, and for how much. Time spent: 30 seconds. Decision: decline.
  • Deal 3 – Far away. Included a video so I didn’t have too read anything :). Video did an excellent job of explaining problem, their benefits. I realized one of my angels is a potential customer. I stopped listening right there and referred it on to him. Time: 1.5 min. Decision: bounce by a member with domain expertise.
  • Deal 4 – "Manufacturing of high quality low cost recycled clear [substance] as a competitive alternative to the virgin material." Use of such geek speak turns off anyone who isn’t your kind of geek. I may very well have these kinds of geeks in my angel group – but they aren’t screening, I am. If I can’t understand your idea, I can’t figure out who to send your deal to. Note the lack of commas (unprofessional). Located close by so that’s good. Time: 1 minute. Decision: decline but point to resources and people that can help in their geography.
  • Deal 5 – Prototype software business that looks like it is targeting an industry several of our members could be customers of (good!). However, pre-money valuation is $2 million for a prototype-level product with no customers and a management team that looks like they have zero startup experience. Time spent: 1 min. Decision: I will chat with them via phone for 20 min.
  • Deal 6 – Outside the industries we know well (listed on our website) About 3 hours drive from us (too far! As listed on our website). Included av video so I watched first and then scanned doc. Time spent: 1 minute. Decision: Decline.
  • Deal 7 – Outside our domain. Outside our geography. Too early. Time spent: 30 seconds. Decision: decline.
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2 thoughts on “Pre-screening today (8/2)

    • Great question Tim. My angel group’s website has extensive communication on what we look for and why, as well as how companies will be evaluated and at what speed. There is certainly places where we could do better, but most of the companies that I declined should not have bothered applying, and if they had read our criteria, would not have.

      My group believes strongly in demystifying the process. We don’t make the entrepreneurs guess what we want. We tell them, to the best of our ability. That way we can figure out if there is a fit. Some angels prefer to NOt tell the entrepreneurs and see how well they can guess – and use that as a test in and of itself. Not our style! šŸ™‚

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