I started watching the godfather of angel investing when he was still trying to figure it out. Sig and I were drawn to the very same business way back in 1992.
I’d just left corporate and wanted to get back to startups. I was running a startup which, it turns out, was Sig’s first angel investment. One day I looked across the boardroom table and decided I didn’t want to run a startup. I wanted to be an angel investor who helped entrepreneurs achieve their dream of starting and owning their own company.
In short, I wanted to be like Sig.
So I watched him. Here is what he did on the way to becoming the greatest angel investor in the history of Atlanta technology. This is Sig’s playbook.
- Sig invested in the entrepreneurs that John Imlay called tigers. These were the men and women who were great leaders with a great vision and great experience. It was always about the entrepreneur for Sig.
- He invested in business ideas that addressed markets with lots of room to grow.
- Sig knew his job was to help them grow using his resources of money, network, and business experience.
- Sig was all about helping these entrepreneurs hit their growth milestones. His goal was to hand them off to the next bigger investor, the VC. In other words, the tee is up for the people who can make the company into a billion dollar deal.
It is here we differed in our investment theses. I was all about helping the business get to profitability and become self-sustaining. To have it run on profits, without dependence on continuous investment.
I had three fundamental beliefs on profitability.
- I never saw a business go out of business while experiencing monthly positive cash flow.
- Any business that makes money will always have some value to someone.
- I believed in business as mission. This was the path to a fulfilling life in business.
It was number three that made my life as an angel investor worthwhile. It was the bigger purpose, the mission if you will.
I worked on God’s purpose for God’s glory. This is what my life as an angel investor was all about.