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January 27, 2009


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Excellent point. I never thought of it that way.

Great post. I agree that many entrepreneurs scare off angel investors with their exit strategy. Even worse than your line "Eventually we will either IPO or be acquired!" is when they preface that by saying in a couple of years they want to raise a venture capital round. If they do, the poor angels will probably be stuck in the company for over a decade. These days very few angels have that kind of patience. I've illustrated this on my blog at

Very helpful post, blog, and related book.

I am a first-time entrepreneur currently developing a business plan for my startup. Developing the exit strategy has been a source of confusion and stress for me. This has cleared many things up.


It's always good to see a single piece of advice that can change the approach we take to explaining a plan while also encourage the entrepreneur to think through their entire planning.

dragging a guy thru the mud for several months and then backing out ..is not someone you want to do business with in the first place.
when I get a deal I like, I tear it down and rebuild it the way i want it and tell the guy..if you can do "this" I'm in.

I just dont have the time to spend back and forth , month after month,,,and not get paid for my time.
..But thats just me,,to bad others dont figure that out..I think.

Interesting post; but doesn't the monthly installment payback approach somewhat defeat the purpose of an early-stage equity investment? If the goal is to avoid a wimpy response (which you accurately described in your post), would it be sufficient to just have a clear exit strategy? For example, I'm going through this process right now and I'm getting favorable reactions from my intent to "sell the company in 3 years". Thoughts? Thanks.

Having 4 decades of experience in closing investors (including structuring and participating in acquisitions and IPOs), I would never say that calling your exit strategy (IPO or being acquired) is "wimpy." Based on timing or the condition of the market, it may be unreal but I doubt it really is less preferable to (basically) a bond or preferred stock scenario. And the ability to pull out profits quickly may not be the most ideal answer to management. It is true that thinking your deal is good enough for an IPO may be wishful thinking and acquisition is all you've really got. And it may be true that being acquired in a share for share exchange is a most likely scenario. Thus, saying one OR the other is probably the best general advice. In other words, don't present alternatives as that can come across as a "maybe" which is what was likely the source of turn-off/turn-down.

Any start-up entrepreneur should have an alternative investment proposal to fall back upon if the angel investor backs out. This alternative with a clear-cut schedule can be a realistic exit strategy. In essence the angel investors should feel that their contribution is preferable to the other source and understand that there really is an alternative.

Are angels ever interested in exploring a re-payment plan for their initial investment or are they always interested in a lump sum repayment?

Yes, most will happily take payments. That's why you use a Revenue Royalty Certificate.

Very Good article and ver informative. We are seeking Angel investors for a large wind project and we have had some interest. I look forward to more information from you

Why don't investors seem to want someone who believes in their business so much that they want to keep it once it is up and running?
Sure you would end up paying the investor many times what you would have to a bank, but that's why you need an investor.

Don't they want someone who knows the business is a long term money maker & not something to cash out & run from as soon as possible.

How would this apply in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry where a company will most likely not be making a profit or even sales prior to an IPO or acquisition?

Good post. The entrepreneur should demonstrate the willingness to 'pay back' in the model, after achieving some level of profitability.
I'd consider - if a portion of the profits are allocated for paying back investors, even after 2-3 years. Demonstrating the willingness pay back - is more important here.

thank you for information I need a funding of 5k what monthly payment with interest would be sound to keep an angel interested this is a very small venture but a real one thank you

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