Should everyone be an angel investor? + some upcoming events

The biggest question I was asked about angel investing during my New York book tour was, “Can anyone be an angel investor?”

Today I want to try and answer that question and let you know about some upcoming events.

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First, some upcoming events:

This Tuesday, August 15th, I will be in Los Angeles speaking at Google in Venice (Google employees only) from 11:30AM-1:00PM.

Tuesday night, August 15th, I will be speaking at a public event, “Live Talks Los Angeles: An Evening with Jason Calacanis” at 8:00PM, which you can register for here: http://bit.ly/eveningjcal

I’ll be going to Stockholm, New York and Los Angeles in the fall. Frequently updated schedule here: angelthebook.com/tour

Second, “Can/Should everyone angel invest?”

I wrote the book “Angel” in order to detail the risks involved in angel investing, and share strategies that might increase your odds at having a positive outcome if you choose to become an angel.

[ ANGEL book reviews: http://bit.ly/5starangel ]

There is one important rub, however, here in the United States: traditionally private companies only accept investment from “accredited investors.”

Accredited investors are basically rich people, who have a lot of money in the bank or have large, well-documented salaries. Non-accredited investors are the other ~95% of Americans (of which I was one for 75% of my life).

You can read more about this at the SEC’s website here: http://bit.ly/secinvestor

However, last year the SEC introduced a new class of investment commonly called “equity crowdfunding.” This is a way for non-accredited investors to invest in private companies. It’s a bit complicated, and it’s only a year old, but I think it’s a very positive development.

My belief is that all Americans should be able to invest their money in startups, in the same way all Americans can buy stocks, play the lottery, start small businesses, start a well-balanced portfolio at Wealthfront, or even go to Las Vegas to play poker, roulette or place a bet on a football game.   

In that spirit of experimentation and investment in new ideas, we are partnering once again with SeedInvest, a platform that matches startups with investors — both accredited and nonaccredited, to find great startups and help them raise capital live on stage at our events.

We did live equity crowdfunding on stage at the LAUNCH Festival in April and the participating startups raised $7.5 million from 3,900 investors on SeedInvest.

Two companies had notable raises: HelloMD and Kylie.AI. HelloMD raised over $3 million, with investment sizes between $500 to $1 million. In fact, SeedInvest reported to us that HelloMD was oversubscribed by $700,000.

Kylie.AI’s raised $1.5 million and was also oversubscribed. SeedInvest has informed us that they received 110 investments ranging from $500 to $350,000.

We are going to do live equity crowdfunding with SeedInvest again in two months — and we’re looking for startups to participate.  

The Important Details

LAUNCH SCALE is October 17-18, and we have an all-star line up of speakers including Chamath Palihapitiya (Social Capital), Josh Elman (Greylock), Kathryn Minshew (The Muse), Jason Lemkin (SaaStr), Monique Woodard (500 Startups), Loic LeMeur (Leade.rs), Tomasz Tunguz (Redpoint Ventures) & many more. http://launchscale.net

In addition, five startups will get the opportunity to present on-stage and receive product feedback and fundraising advice from a panel of investors. These five startups will be chosen by me from 10 companies that participate in equity crowdfunding on SeedInvest.

To apply for equity crowdfunding and the chance to pitch onstage visit: https://launchxseedinvest.splashthat.com/

If you’d like to learn more about the SeedInvest platform, you can check out their overview presentation: https://docsend.com/view/zv38y6b

Any other questions email the SeedInvest Venture Team at: venture@seedinvest.com

Angel investing is hard, rewarding and complicated. If you’re thinking of doing it please a) read my book ( http://bit.ly/5starangel ), b) only invest money you can afford to lose, c) take your time, making small bets for the first year or two while you learn.

What excites me about equity crowdfunding is that people can typically make very small bets (say $500), while they learn about what I’ve found to be the highest risk and most interesting asset class on the planet: startups.

Did I mention I read the audiobook myself? 🙂  http://adbl.co/2vMZGNc

Best, @jason

PS – We are taking LAUNCH Festival to Sydney in 2018 & 2019. If you want to join us, and maybe even dive the Great Barrier Reef, join this Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/launchsydney