Many tech companies share the same dream: to find a venture capital firm or angel investor that is willing to offer financial backing as well as targeted industry experience. Unfortunately, this is a dream that dies fast and hard for many startup companies.
Over the years, I have kept close tabs on the tech industry including which VCs and angels are most influential. With this knowledge, I have compiled a list of my eight favorite.
There is not much that Chris Sacca has failed to do at this point in his life. In addition to being an investor in Twitter, he manages Lowercase Capital. Through this firm, he has invested in a variety of other tech companies including but not limited to:
Previously, Sacca worked as the Head of Special Initiatives at Google. Check out this vid on thenextweb.com and you will quickly realise why he is one of my favs.
There are many reasons why Shervin Pishevar has made his way onto my personal list. Above all else, he is the Managing Director at Menlo Ventures. This venture capital fund has more than $4 billion (with a B!) under management. Some of the many names in this portfolio include: Carbonite, Eve.com, Uber and Infoseek.
He is also an active angel investor who has invested in a variety of companies, many of which have been sold to top industry players such as Google and Facebook.
Best yet, he has been on the other side of the equation. Pishevar has raised more than $50 million for his own companies.
I won’t argue with anybody when they refer to Dave McClure as a “super angel” investor. This guy puts his money where his mouth is. Best yet, he is not afraid to give the right companies a chance at stardom.
Through his startup accelerator, 500 Startups, McClure has invested in quite a few companies – many of which have gone on to do big things.
His approach to investing is unique, allowing him to attract the attention of start-ups in the search of funding. His involvement with 500 Startups is just one of the details that sets him apart from others.
Conway is not one of those guys who is here today, gone tomorrow. He has been an active angel investor for more than 15 years – long before the internet and startup craze that we are currently experiencing. If you learn nothing else about Conway, let it be this: you have to adapt if you are going to survive in any industry.
From 1998 to 2005, he was the managing partner (and founder) of the Angel Investors LP funds. During this time, he invested in some of the biggest names in tech including: Google, PayPal, Ask Jeeves, and Brightmail.
Over the years, I have developed an affinity for social networking companies. Maybe this is why Reid Hoffman has found his way onto my list. Hoffman is perhaps most well known as the co-founder of LinkedIn.
Like all good businessmen, Hoffman has diversified his investments. He is a well-known angel who many consider to be one of the most successful of all time.
Little known fact: it is believed that Hoffman arranged the first meeting between Facebook wiz kid Mark Zuckerberg and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
Baer is more than an angel investor. He is a startup strategist. When compared to some of the others on this list, it is easy to see that he has a slightly different approach to investing.
According to his Angel.com profile, he invests in eight startups every year at $10,000 to $25,000. For many, including myself, it is easier to identify with Baer as he is not throwing around huge numbers. Instead, he identifies several opportunities on the ground level and gives startups the money they need to get moving in the right direction.
Start-up companies need more than money. They also require targeted advice. Baer definitely meets this requirement. With each new investment, he sets up a weekly meeting with the founders to ensure that they are moving in the right direction and making all the best decisions.
Digg is one of my favorite online services of all time. For this reason, there is no wondering why Kevin Rose – the founder of Digg – is included on this list.
At the present time, Rose is a venture partner at Google Ventures.
Over the years, he has displayed the ability to pinpoint great investments with some of his past successes including: Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.
Startup founders gravitate towards investors who have a proven track record of success. Makes sense, right? Well, there are not too many who have had more success than Rose.
Some of his many investments have been acquired by the likes of: AOL, Google, and the Discovery Channel.
Graham is known for many things, including his work as a venture capitalist. Along the same lines, his work with the seed accelerator Y Combinator is well documented throughout the tech industry.
Through Y Combinator, Graham and his team do not invest more than $20k in a given company. However, this has not stopped him from finding some true gems such as: reddit, Scribd, and Dropbox among others.
When it comes to all around knowledge, I cannot think of many investors who have more than Graham. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in philosophy and then moved on to Harvard University for his M.S. and PH.D.
How do you feel about these eight investors? Can you think of anybody else who should be on my list?
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