A Conceptual Framework for Implementation: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Southeast Angel Investments

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Conference Proceeding

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The purpose of this paper is to suggest a framework/process approach to guide teaching technology based entrepreneurship at the graduate level. The necessary conditions for engaging angel investors have been well documented in the literature. However, over the past 20 years less than 4% of those submitting comprehensive business plans are actually given offer sheets by angel investors. Figure 1 offers a conceptual framework for teaching the business planning process. The first three steps are essential to get to a business plan with the necessary conditions to be able to get to an offer sheet from an angel investor. These are documented in the right hand column of step four in Figure 1. The left hand column offers an improved list of relationship factors based upon our current research. These relationship factors are now taking on equal importance to the right hand column. This is a fundamental contribution in the current article. Shawn Carson's doctoral dissertation researched the angel investor process in the Southeast United States using a Delphi method [1]. A major finding of this research was that among the comprehensive list of factors critical to decision making process of investors, the relationship factors ranked higher in importance as a category than objective based risk factors. In this Delphi study of angel investors and venture capitalists eight of the 20 or 40% of the critical risk factors identified in the top quartile importance were relationship based factors (see Table 1). This is a Eureka moment for us because we had not underscored the relationship factors in the past so this is a major addition to our framework for teaching technology based entrepreneurship. In the past we had the output from the real opportunity test that gave us the right hand column in step four. That was the end of our teaching. Now we are adding the relationship factors that are equally important to the necessary conditions. This will give us enhanced results with angel investors. This ranking of relationship factors was more important than management team and surprisingly of greater importance than financial risk. What makes this finding so important is that in the early stages of the decision making process this is one of the most obscure reasons. The addition of these relationship factors should provide the sufficiency conditions for obtaining an angel investment offer in the Southeast. While many of the investors discuss the importance of passion and coachability few acknowledge these relationship aspects as more important than traditional measures such as market size and team execution. This research suggests that relationship oriented characteristics when evaluated alongside objective risk factors were more important.