Fred Wilson answered a commenter's question, "When should a startup seek angel versus early-stage VC investment?"On Sunday, VC
Wilson writes, "I believe entrepreneurs should seek angel money when their product is not yet complete, is not in the market and thus they cannot demonstrate real market traction to investors." Angels, he argues, are fairly "hands-off" investors and will allow a company more space to develop and refine their product. Investing in an idea is risky for anyone, but "selling a VC on a concept on a whiteboard is a very hard sale."
If you have the opportunity to take money from angels or VCs, take both, recommends Wilson. If you have to choose, he says, choose VC funding.
And while Wilson's responses seem simple enough, questions of funding and financing are never quite so cut and dry. Many entrepreneurs struggle with making the right connections to get the right introductions to investors. This can be particularly true in communities outside the major tech startup zones.
Utah-based FundingUniverse hopes to offer help for first-time entrepreneurs by matching them with funding sources, both investors and banks. The latter is particularly important, says Brent Davis, Director of the firm's Arizona division, as the vast majority of the companies he sees - upwards of 95% he calculates - aren't really ready for angel investment and are better suited for loans.
For a fee, FundingUniverse analyzes businesses to assess their readiness for investment or loans. The pay-to-pitch model has been lambasted for creating more barriers to funding. But FundingUniverse says that the pitch events it sponsors are free for entrepreneurs and investors.
FundingUniverse has locations in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Maryland, and according to Davis hopes to help cultivate thriving startup communities outside of Silicon Valley.