Tarby Bryant was recently interviewed on Atlanta Business Radio! Tarby explains what all an angel investor has to offer young companies. Listen to the full interview here.
Tarby Bryant was recently interviewed on Atlanta Business Radio! Tarby explains what all an angel investor has to offer young companies. Listen to the full interview here.
Unlike Shark Tank, at the Gathering of Angels, all presenters are given very strict guidelines about what they should and should not say, and how to ask for seed and early stage capital. Over the years, I have had presenters who fly to Atlanta, are ready to present but refuse to practice in front of me and the other coaches before the GOA presentation.
One person came from Cleveland and arrived at 4:15 p.m. before the start of GOA at 5:00 p.m. and refused to practice. I emphasized to them that practice and critique are important components of raising capital from my Angels; and they still refused, saying that they present very often and need no practice. They ultimately packed their bags, walked out of the GOA room without presenting, and flew back to Cleveland. This was their loss, as the coaches during our practice session, are there to help and enhance presenter’s time in front of the Angels from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Gathering of Angels.
I also encourage my GOA presenters to send me their 20 minute PowerPoint in advance for my personal review and critique 1-15 days prior to GOA meeting. I can make changes, rearrange slides and see any gaps in the presentation. This process is always constructive and helpful and ensures that all hot button issues are addressed and as close to perfection as possible before the precious 20 minutes they spend presenting to the Angels.
Practice before the GOA meeting date and the 3 hour mandatory GOA practice session are a valuable part of the entire GOA experience. Practice is a proven enhancer for raising capital at Gathering of Angels…
Snapshots of Our Practice Session before the Last Meeting…
With Shark Tank now in its fifth season on ABC, it is time to recognize and honor the appeal and genuine theatre of this show, and the spotlight it has put on young entrepreneurial companies seeking capital to fund their dreams. The companies that appear on Shark Tank pay a fee of $10,000 for TV exposure and their 3-5 minute presentation before the Sharks… By my observation, 25-30% of the presenters get the funding requested; and many walk away with no money, along with bruised egos and wilted confidences. Rarely do the sharks offer strong meaningful takeaway messages to the entrepreneurs. The interplay between the sharks is often out of line and not constructive. If one or more sharks does decide to fund a presenter, I suspect that the benefits of money and advice is most valuable; but they are stretched very thinly, and their real value is unknown.
The Gathering of Angels is quite different; and once the presentation fee is paid in advance, coaching and counseling begin with review and critique of the executive summary and PowerPoint presentation, advice on the offering to the Angels, and assistance in deal structure. Valuation of the business is also included in the package and is critical to proper pricing of the offering. Presenters on Shark Tank do not get the prep and polishing of their presentation that GOA affords. All presenters at GOA get sage advice from 3-5 Angels during the practice sessions from 2-5pm the day of the GOA event and assistance in follow up after the event.
GOA presenters also get evaluation sheets from all Angels in attendance and are graded from 1-10, based on understanding the business model, management team, financials, and exit strategy.
It is my opinion after managing GOA for over 19 years that Gathering of Angels is a more thorough investment process, and it has now found capital for over 385+ young companies seeking seed and early stage capital. If you are seeking capital, your contact with GOA is welcomed and encouraged by our website at www.gatheringofangels.com
All of the Angels I have been associated with since 1996 when I started the Gathering of Angels in Santa Fe NM, always ask and are most concerned about Exit strategy….how they get their money back. They want both the return of their money in reasonable time period like 2-4 years and a return on their capital for taking the risk to invest. They are not getting a reasonable return on their money today with inordinately low cd, treasury notes and bills and money market fund. Angels are on the prowl for returns of 8-15% with moderate risk and even higher with high risk investments. 25-40% expected ROIs are common for investments in seed and early stage companies.
At a recent Atlanta Gathering of Angels, one of our presenters came before our GOA practice session and suggested he was looking for $100,000 and was offering a 3% coupon for 12-18 months note to provide capital for his business….GOA staff suggested that this was unacceptable and when he finally presented to the Angels later in the night, he offered 10% and was told that even this was not appealing to an Angel investor…Angels want and demand more for taking the risk. Most Angels want an equity kicker and direct investment in the venture. Some will accept and invest in a convertible note with an equity kicker. GOA offers sage advice and wise counsel to all paid presenters to make their offering to the assembled Angel group more appealing.
Each Month in GOA cities like Atlanta and Santa Fe, Accredited Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists and Investment Bankers gather at a private club to hear from 3-5 young companies seeking seed and early stage capital. Each of the presenting companies have been vetted and prepared for their presentation by Tarby Bryant, CEO and Founder of the Gathering of Angels. Angels attend GOA complimentary and normally after some level of due diligence write individual checks to the presenting companies. GOA has facilitated 385+ capital fundings from 20k to 39MM
Each Month, GOA hosts meetings and 3-5 young companies present from a variety of product and service industries. Gambling and sex-related websites are not welcomed at GOA but all other business concepts are welcomed to present their ex-summary for review and consideration. These presentations are critiqued and changes made to assure the audience that their valuable time is not wasted by unprepared or scurrilous presenters.
If you are looking to invests in young entrepreneurial companies of highest quality, the monthly Gathering of Angels is an excellent place to find maybe the next Microsoft or Apple. Many of our presenting companies have been acquired or done a merger with a bigger company. A few have done public offerings and exits are normally 2-4 years in duration.
Registration on the GOA site as an Investor and completion of a personal investment profile is required and we strive to keep networkers and service providers excluded from Gathering of Angels meetings. We hope you will join us at a Gathering of Angels meeting in the near future.
If the ABC show Shark Tank has taught us only one thing, it is that the valuation of a young company is the most important item on the agenda of the sharks when they invest money. The young company that has no idea what they are worth today, will never get money from anyone beyond friends and family. When the company has exhausted all personal savings, and friends and family are tapped out, one must look to Angel Investors for seed and early stage capital. The Angel Investor wants a high return on their invested capital and a % of the stock of the young company. Proper and fair valuation will net capital for the young company, as well as and an exceptional return for the investor, if the venture is successful. Entrepreneurs who offer only a small % with a high and unjustified valuation rarely get any money from Angel Investors. See my recent book for more on valuation… the art of the deal. – Tarby Bryant
As Gathering of Angels enters into the 3rd quarter of 2015, we look back on our capital fundings for our presenting companies with great pride of accomplishment. Young companies from all over the USA, come to our GOA meetings hoping to meet one or more Angel Investors who can help them launch their dreams and fuel their rocket ships. In the last 12 months of GOA meetings across the country, we have found capital for 12 young companies from 50k to 39MM with the largest being a capital funding for the Symphony Senior Living project in Henry County south of Atlanta. One of our boutique Investment Bankers found 39MM from a Canadian Pension Fund and when blended with EB-5 monies raised by the developer, the project has broken ground in Eagles Landing.
Our September 15 Atlanta Gathering of Angels is taking shape and 4-5 young companies will present to 30-35+ accredited Angel Investors, VCs and Investment bankers at the Georgian Club in NW Atlanta. We also plan a private GOA luncheon on Sept 22 for Alkaline 88, an enhanced water company from Scottsdale.
On Monday Aug 24,2015, we met with the new Mayor of Santa Fe NM, Javier M Gonzales in his offices for a most pleasant visit. We had just re-opened the Santa Fe Gathering of Angels the previous week at Buffalo Thunder Resort and had 4 presenters and a good showing of local Angels. The Mayor wanted to include Gathering of Angels in his economic development efforts for his administration. He has a keen interest in young entrepreneurial companies and their capital needs. GOA is most helpful in this arena as we now have found seed and early stage capital for 385+ young companies from 20k to 39MM. The Gathering of Angels started in Santa Fe in October 1996 at the Eldorado Hotel but is now headquartered in Atlanta area.
Below are several photos from this important meeting in Santa Fe City Hall.
I just returned from Santa Fe NM where we re-started the 19 year old Santa Fe Gathering of Angels at Buffalo Thunder Resort…we had 4 exceptional presenters all of whom got strong investment interest and are now in follow up mode for $$$$$. We had 19 Angels in the room and all enjoyed a light supper with red and white wine. The venue at Buffalo Thunder was amazing on the 5th floor in the Executive Lounge with exceptionally good service and amenities.
Several of our presenters stayed at the resort but we chose to stay closer in the CBD of Santa Fe and enjoyed Indian Market and trips to Madrid to the south and Taos to the north. We enjoyed dinners at Rancho de Chimayo, Gabriel’s, and Vanessie’s as well as visiting several local art galleries. There are over 350+ galleries and restaurants in this quaint little town of 68,000 eclectic people.
We hope to make Santa Fe GOA a regular on our investment circuit with 4-6 meetings a year in New Mexico.
This article talks a little bit more about Chapter 3 of Tarby Bryant’s book, “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Capital from Angel Investors”.
The business plan is paramount in any new business venture. It should be at least 25 to 35 pages long, and should be created by the entrepreneur who owns the business… probably you!
While it is true that many people hire professional writers and business specialists to produce business plans for them, this is not a good idea. A committed entrepreneur will develop the business plan, even if it takes a very long time to do. This is because a successful entrepreneurial business plan will come from both the head and the heart of the person who has the business vision. You can ask a professional to proofread the finished article and correct spelling and grammar, but you cannot ask anybody else to create the concept. Well you can, but it isn’t going to work.
In the previous chapter that discussed angel investors, we stressed the importance of business plans. We also mentioned the executive summary that is part of every business plan. If an entrepreneur hasn’t got a well-crafted business plan, with a concise two to three page executive summary the business will likely remain a pipe dream. The new venture might be based on the most brilliant innovative ideas, but until the business plan is formulated on paper, it is meaningless to prospective investors. In fact, without a business plan, no new business is likely to succeed and thrive.
Why do I need to write a Business Plan?
The business plan is essentially a blueprint for the business. You can compare it to a road map that helps you get from one place to another, or to an architect’s plan that shows how to build something. Amongst other things, a business plan indicates how you will get customers and clients; who will be needed to run the business; and how seed and early stage capital will be raised. It will also state how much money is needed to start the business, and will forecast how long it will take to make a profit.
When an entrepreneur approaches investors for capital, one of the first questions they are inevitably asked is, “May I see your business plan?”
A good pitch and video or PowerPoint presentation will help an entrepreneur gain investor interest in the project, and it is essential to include these. But unless there is a carefully thought out, well-crafted business plan, in writing, even the most interested investors are likely to back off.
Both angel investors and venture capitalists will study the business plan before agreeing to invest. They might even re-write portions of the plan and adjust projections, sometimes discounting them by up to 50 to 75 percent before agreeing to write a check or issue a term sheet.
But the business plan is more than just motivation for investors to lend you money. The business plan defines the business and explains how it will work and what will make it successful. Once the business starts to operate, this will form essential guidelines for running the business. It should remain an accessible reference guide for everyone involved in the management of the business, as well as those who agree to invest.
Where can I find help and assistance in the creation of my Business Plan?
Many professionals advertise their services to write business plans and grant applications. Some even “guarantee” the success of their documents in terms of acquiring seed and early stage capital. But there are two problems:
An alternative to hiring someone to write your business plan for you is to use the services of an external consultant to advise and assist. However, even this can result in a more generic, less entrepreneurial business than the one you have conceived in your head.
One vital aspect of business plans that entrepreneurs often struggle with is the financials. This is one part of the business plan that might need the input of a professional accountant – to compile financial documents from information supplied by you, or to review the finished statements.
But on the whole, the best solution for any dedicated entrepreneur is to go it alone, starting with a professional template of sorts. There are sample business plans on the Internet as well as excellent software that will create business plan templates for different industries. There are also many good books that provide comprehensive guidelines that outline what should be included in a business plan, and how it should be structured. Books also give thorough guidelines on how to write business plans.
The seven basic parts of a well-drafted business plan are discussed in the next section. There’s enough information here to get you started.
What are the seven basic parts of a well-drafted Business Plan?
The basic structure for any business plan is the same, even though there will be differences in content, depending on the specific industry the business fits into. For example, if the business offers services, the business plan will not include a production plan, but if it is going to be involved in manufacturing, it will.
In addition to a cover page and executive summary, these are the elements that should be covered. Some can be split if need be.
While every business plan needs to be transparent, reasonable and believable, it is important for it to be positive and compelling. A SWOT analysis could be included as part of the business plan as it would give strengths and opportunities as well as weaknesses and threats.
It is vital that all components fit together and are strengthened by a relatively short but well-structured executive summary.
Is a Business Plan a “cast in stone” document?
No business plan should be “cast in stone.” Rather it needs to be an ever-evolving document that grows and changes as the business evolves and grows.
Even though the business plan is considered to be a vital planning instrument for any new business, to remain meaningful it needs to change as elements of the business change. Since no business can function in isolation from market trends, economic factors, political issues and so on, change it will. These changes might be due to financial or economic pressures, or they may be because of innovations in your particular industry. They may even be a result of new management personnel or additional partners who join the business and see things slightly differently, and suggest changes.
In today’s technological age, it is easy to update the business plan as often as required. There should be a master copy on your computer, and when it is updated, it should be saved as a new version. This way you can keep track of changes made, and can revert to earlier versions or even the original if need be.
Why should I not hire someone else to write my Business Plan?
Anyone who comes up with a feasible business idea and has the survival skills to become a successful entrepreneur, and make the idea viable, should be able to structure a business plan. It’s going to take time, discipline and personal commitment to complete a good business plan, but undoubtedly it’s the person who conceived the plan who will do it best.
This said, even the best writers benefit from someone else reviewing their work. At very least get others involved in the business to check and critique what you have written. You could also hire a proofreader, on the understanding that none of the content is changed. If necessary, the same person might be able format, or check the formatting of the document for you, to ensure it looks absolutely professional.
There is a well-known saying, “If one fails to plan, one plans to fail.” Nothing could be truer when it comes to establishing a new business. Ultimately a well-crafted business plan paints a picture of how the entrepreneur will succeed. The best person to paint this picture is the entrepreneur.