I am writing a blog post for the Clarity blog, rounding up reasons why angel investors and VCs give back to the startup ecosystem. I would love a 1-2 sentence contribution from you to include in the roundup. Thanks!
#1 by far is "People". I invest in startups based on who are the people involved, how skilled they are in their respective roles, how I like them, what their product or service is and if I personally am interested in what they are selling.
#2 by crunching the numbers. They must have a viable revenue stream from paying customers. Too many startups I look at live off their seed round and eat that up and start their A rounds while still in freemium mode. By the time they get that far they had better be producing enough revenue to sustain their day to day operations and use the A round to diversify and expand.
#3 I do my own market research on the market segment and current and future competition. I like companies who are #2 or #3 in their respective market segment. It's a nice comfortable spot to sit and "draft" behind the #1 market leader. When they make a shift you can react by coming up with a revised or better version of the same product or service. Let #1 make the big mistakes.
#4 Lastly, I look at who else has invested in the company or if they participated in one of the many incubation programs out there. I have about a dozen or so angels that I track and about five or six VC firms. If one of my tracked angels or VC's invests I pay attention and most likely follow suit.
#5 I track potential investments by geographic region and general industry segment like this:
Silicon Valley - Big Data
Silicon Beach - Internet of Things
Silicon Desert - Mobile Apps
Silicon Prairie - Aerospace
Silicon Slopes - BioTech
For each category as above I try to track 3 startups in each.