The learnings we discussed on what to look out for:
- at least one failure
- at least one success
- a team
- the team has competencies across marketing, tech, business, and design/UX
We didn't talk about styles, but on my side I strongly prefer to put in money AND time. For the investments that I've enjoyed, I've always worked closely with the founder and team to make things happen. When I go in, I want to contribute my whole commitment.
After this discussion, I realized I had another strong filter: "Can I go to war with this person?". In my Army squad, I distinctly remember this question as we were preparing to head to the sandbox. The Enlisted would then have a list of NCOs and Officers we'd prefer to stay with - not that we really had a choice, however.
So what does "Can I go to war with this person?" mean in the context of angel investing?: It means to me:
- Can you make the right choices more often than the wrong choices?
- Can you lead your team when needed, and know how to get out of the way when not? Can you tell the difference?
- Do you have the courage to make the hard choices, the sacrifices, the dirty work to accomplish the mission?
- Can you inspire?
- Do you have integrity?
- Can you drive longer, harder, faster?
- Can you care about the right little things when it doesn't matter, because I know you'll definitely care about them when it does matter?