a founder's take on Angel Bootcamp


Last week while in Boston, I dropped by Angel Bootcamp. The turnout was excellent and it was a great way to get a bunch of investors excited the day before Demo Day for the recent Techstars class.

While there were several interesting panels and breakout sessions, I was only able to attend a few. I’m not going to go into great detail here, but there were a few thoughts that I want to share…

  1. Bubble or not, established angels and VC’s alike are encouraging other angels/wannabe angels to “write checks.” That specific phrase was used multiple times. While this is ultimately a great thing for entrepreneurs looking for funding, it’s also a little scary when it’s paired with…
  2. …A lack of understanding of the instruments of early stage startup financing. In one panel moderated by Eric Paley, he asked the audience if they knew what a “convertible with a cap is.” Perhaps I’m misinterpreting their reaction, but it seemed as though many in the crowd had no idea what he was talking about. I guess that’s the point of Angel Bootcamp in the first place - to educate - but I was still startled by it and it made me realize that…
  3. …I know a TON more than I think just through my own experiences as an entrepreneur. I was hoping I’d leave Angel Bootcamp with a newly profound understanding of the angel perspective, but it seemed I’d already learned it through awesome blog resources (by Fred Wilson, Brad Feld and Chris Dixon among others), one (long) round of angel fundraising and now my first venture round. Don’t get me wrong - I don’t know everything there is to know yet - but I’ve got a great understanding of the process that you can only learn by doing.
  4. I sat in on a panel regarding mentorship, which turned to “advisory roles.” The piece I loved was one of the panelists who said “I’ve never negotiated my equity as an advisor to a startup. I just take whatever they offer.” I think that’s an amazing approach to what is meant to be a supportive relationship and I hope to adopt it if I’m lucky enough to be offered a role as a formal advisor to a startup someday.

In closing, Boston is such an awesome city. It was really nice to be back in MA - especially given the energy around the Bruins! I enjoyed catching up with friends/family and I could definitely see myself digging into the startup culture there soon.

[Update: my friends at Change The Ratio reblogged my post and added a few question marks re: how many women were in attendance. They’re right, there weren’t many. That being said, some of the women who served on panels - Katie Rae, Jennifer Lum - are studs and I really enjoyed their perspective.]