A: Raise money when you need to hire engineers or more team members. The logical time to raise angel investment is when you have some proof of product/market fit or some sort of product validation and you need to hire to scale the company/product. Ideally you have a product that you can show or demo to potential investors, especially if you're raising from institutional investors (vs. family/friends rounds, where having a product built may not be as important).
But, before you raise any angel money, it's best to bootstrap as long as you possibly can since that gives you complete control over the company and you/the founders own 100% of the company.
A: The most successful founders are always rifle-focused on the product...product above all else. There isn't typically one specific thing that pushes me/SV Angel over the edge to make an investment. It's the way the founder tells their story, their focus on the product, and attention to the details. Zuck, Larry/Sergey, Jack Dorsey, Ben Silberman, Stewart Butterfield, Evan Speigel, Chris Wainstrath are all great examples of founders *obsessed* with the user experience and nailing the product from day 1.
A: We get referrals from our network which is now 22+ years old. All the investments we make come from someone within our network - founders, partners, investors, etc who see us as value-add and want us to help the company grow. When we invest in a founder, we "invest for life" and will try to work with them in the future. For example we have invested in every company Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning have started!!
You can get our attention by getting a founder/investor/partner within our network to introduce you. We've never made an investment in a company that has reached out cold/without an introduction - the referral source matters!
- Research: How important is research, research papers and journals, in decision making for you?
- Startup Ideas: What are the qualifiers or determining factor for a startup to be on your radar?
- Entrepreneurship: What are some great practices that you have learnt from your interactions with various founders?