FINDING INVESTORS: A chat with Angel Investor, Ian Lucey

The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, a weekly blog…

“I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks. Let’s make lots of money.” So goes the song “Opportunities”, from the 80’s electronic pop duo, the Pet Shop Boys.

These days, it takes a whole lot more than intelligence and beauty to make a startup successful. It can also take A LOT of money. If an entrepreneur isn’t self-financed, it becomes necessary to connect with people willing to invest in his or her dream.

But how do you find investors for your business? The answer nowadays is often found in an Angel Investor.

With all the entrepreneurial events I attend, I’ve been hearing that term a lot lately, but I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. So I went to Wiki: “An angel investor is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business startup, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.” They typically invest their own funds, unlike venture capitalists who manage the pooled money of others.

It was with that in mind that I recently attended the Charleston chapter of Startup Grind*to hear Ian Lucey, an angel investor through his venture technology firm, the Lucey Fund (that’s him on the left being interviewed by Daniel Drolet, the Co-Director of the chapter.)

In the past 3 1/2 years alone, this Irishman and his team have invested in over 70+ new businesses. Their expertise it seems, is in product and tech development. Daniel led off the chat with some things he thought were cool from the Lucey Fund website…

“Lucey loves startups. We invest in entrepreneurs who understand their industry, but who have not done technology before… Lucey takes the headache out of R&D… We help startups happen.” In a room full of eager entrepreneurs, those statements certainly had everyone’s ears standing up straight.

Here are some highlights from the chat with the very approachable Mr. Lucey…

What are the four top things he looks for in a company? (1) Does the person really know their industry? (2) Can they sell? (3) Do they know the math? Meaning: Does the entrepreneur understand the finances? (4) Is this a nice person?

When asked about the last one, Ian shared one of his philosophies: “Life’s too short to deal with assholes.” LOVE IT. I’m a firm believer in doing business with people you like.

Amount of their average investment? $140,000 U.S.

Percentage of equity his company requests? 2-20% depending on the deal.

Last year, Lucey reviewed over 3,500 startups and invested in 80. This year they expect that number to be around 50.

How long does it take them to decide if they want to invest? About a week.

Ian looks for a strong company founder and sets out to build a team around that person. As he related about one of his success stories: “It’s all about teaching people how to create a buzz around their business.”

Got the brains? Got the looks? Need lots of money? You might want to check out the Lucey Fund:

* To find your nearest chapter of Startup Grind:

“The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” is a weekly 500-word blog article by Thomas Heath, CLC that explores the world of business from an entrepreneur’s perspective. Its goals are to educate, enlighten and get conversations started. Join Thomas with a Share or Comment, he loves to respond. And be sure to follow him on Twitter @ThomasHeathCLC or here on LinkedIn by going to: 

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