For Impact



On Change in the Social Sector | | Tom Suddes

In our work with Social Entrepreneurs, I am constantly urging start-ups and even second and third-stage organizations/companies to look for ANGELS… not ‘VC‘.

I tell them to go out and look for 3 CHAMPIONS or ‘ARCHANGELS‘ as I call them. (Catholic upbringing.) ‘Archangel’ is much better/stronger than just an ‘Angel’.

Lately, I have been expanding the use of this term to any organization, large or small, when looking for Project Funding. For example, a college running a $300+ Million ‘Campaign’ has a multitude of Priorities and Projects and Programs. Take a Project. Do the Math. Find 1 to 3 ARCHANGELS to provide the ‘seed money‘ to get this Project moving.

This morning I was reading Fast Company (February 2011), which included the article by Farhad Mangoo titled RISE OF THE SUPER ANGELS. Talks about this “emerging class of investors”… re-inventing the start-up economy. Some good stuff.

My big point to the For Impact World (from Social Entrepreneurial Start-Ups to Large National or International Impact Organizations) is: FIND YOUR ARCHANGELS!

1,000 Gifts at $300 won’t work. (That’s like asking family and friends for cash to start your company.) Going to a large (re: bureaucratic) foundation with 75-page grant forms also won’t work. (That’s like going to the Venture Capitalists.)

The ‘sweet spot‘ are the ARCHANGELS who:

    • Get what you do.
    • Understand what you need.
    • Will make the decision fast.
    • Will get you a check fast.
    • Will not meddle with the ‘how’ you deliver.

Here are some additional quick thoughts from THE RISE OF THE SUPER ANGELS:

    “These new Super Angels/Archangels are hybrid between the two investing models that have long ruled the normally placid world of start-up funding.”
    “Smaller, faster, less demanding of entrepreneurs than VC’s.”
    “Super Angels give start-ups much less money than VC’s, but they expect a lot less in return.”
    “(Most importantly), they take a small stake in the firm and hand over their funds in weeks rather than months. THIS FREES UP ENTREPRENEURS TO WORK ON BUILDING GREAT PRODUCTS RATHER THAN WORRYING ABOUT SATISFYING THEIR FUNDERS – WHICH AFTER ALL IS THE ONLY WAY THEY’LL SUCCEED.”

That last point is applicable to everyone in the For Impact World as well.