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):
- "High demand music festival for [Far Away City], at a much cheaper price than our only competitor, which sold 150,000 tickets in 03/2011" – No one looking at our website should think we are deep domain experts in musical festivals. We don’t invest in companies from far away (usually). Time Spent: 10 seconds. Decision: Decline.
- "Did you know that there are no pre-packed mixed drinks on the market conceived with [Large Market] in mind? Well, now there is [NewCo]" – Again, we have zero drink/beverage expertise our website site. looking at their App I see they are >4 hour drive (also outside criteria). Time Spent: 30 seconds. Decision: Decline..
- "Records Management and Compliance for Documents and Email in the Cloud." – We actually have an investment in this space (www.dexrex.com). However, it is located in CA and my group has only 1 or two people with the right expertise. Time Spent: 30 seconds. Decision: Forward info to our portfolio company and see if there is strong interest or synergy.
- "A Revolutionary Sailing Yacht, like no other – it SAVES LIVES." – Interesting opening line. So I read on… " was founded in [Year] as creative design endeavor with plans to produce a revolutionary designs and new concepts. [CoName] created a revolutionary sailing yacht design plans. By design, this revolutionary yacht will save everyone’s life on board, each and every time a vessel gets into trouble while sailing and it will guaranty safe and secure navigation across all oceans." – This is hyperbolic language that lacks substance :(. Also, company is in TX. Time: 30 seconds. Decision: Decline.
- "Distillation column with a side stream for zero CO2 emissions in Ammonia and coal gasification" – a little jargony, but we have a portfolio company in a related space so let’s read on… "[CoName] is aiming to solve the problems caused by the ammonia production process, such as excessive un-reacted methane loss and CO2 removal. The solution includes adding a low energy cryogenic distillation column, with a side stream, to the "Syn-Gas" manufacturing part which diminishes the need for any unique CO2 removal process. Liquid CO2 byproduct can be injected into underground wells, instead of exhausting to the atmosphere" – Company is in more than a 2 hour FLIGHT from Springfield, MA, so we’ll only move on it if one of our members gets VERY excited. unlikely. But I will pass the info on to the CEO of the portfolio company in this area in case synergy can help the entrepreneur. Time: 30 second. Decision: Decline but refer to Portfolio Company.