The First Hand Experience of an Enterpreneur at the Open Angel Forum

Posted on January 27, 2010
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When Jason Calacanis said the Open Angel Forum would be good for entrepreneurs, he was right. In fact, the reason I’m just getting to this post two weeks later is that I’ve been swamped with inquires and have been focused on wrapping up our round. Now that it is almost complete, I thought I would take some time to share my experience for those of you who may be invited to pitch Open Angels in the future.

I flew to L.A. the night before the event to present Backupify, and spent part of that Thursday with one of our integration partners. I spent the rest the of the day tweaking my presentation based on feedback from Jason and Tyler (chief strategy guy at Mahalo).

The event was held in Bel Air at the house of a successful entrepreneur, and I’m not sure what I can disclose about that, so I won’t say any more except that the house was awesome. Jason even joked that we could probably fund our startups by stealing just a couple decorations from the house. The entrepreneurs all arrived early and we gathered in one room of the house and exchanged business cards, notes about funding, and pitches about each company’s business. Companies included Tiger Tag, Wakemate, Citysourced, Postabon, and of course, my online backup startup.

The angels gathered outside on an open patio with lots of food and booze. It was a rockstar group including Chris Sacca, Ron Conway, Mark Suster, and some people representing early stage funds. The angels mingled while Jason and Tyler talked to the entrepreneurs about how the pitches would work.

Backupify was the second company to pitch and at the last minute I scrapped my slides and just went through a product demo. I also took a beer with me when I went up to present which seems a little odd when you think about it but it fit the mood of the event. (Plus I can’t get Fat Tire Ale at home, so I snapped it up while I could.) Pitching to this group was awesome because they get it. They understand companies at this stage and they asked great questions. They automatically saw the bigger vision most of the companies were shooting for, and didn’t ask a lot of questions about financial projections and business plans and stuff that really should be left for a later stage.

The format was 15 minutes per team, with the last 5 allocated to questions. When the event was over, the angels and entrepreneurs mingled. My only feedback to Jason and Tyler is that at future events they make it more clear how interested angels should interact with startups. There was a little confusion around that issue but in general, angels started talking to the companies they liked.

All in all, Backupify was contacted by 8 angels over the next week, when we really only needed 2 to finish out our round. So overall, from my perspective, the event was a huge success. Jason is extremely pro-entrepreneur, and in addition to contacts and funding, the night was filled with good startup stories and advice for building companies at this early stage.

I realize the angel superstars that attended this first event won’t make every OAF, but overall, I think the quality will remain high and future chapters of OAF will be a huge success.


3 Responses to “The First Hand Experience of an Enterpreneur at the Open Angel Forum”

  1. Chris Carmichael on January 27th, 2010 6:14 pm

    Really enjoyed reading the above on the OAF with great empathy. It sounds like from a funding and timing perspective we are living in the same world. The highs are incredibly high and the lows…well. I’d like the chance to commiserate and hear more. Also as a former D1 college basketball player perhaps I could provide some insight for your 2010 March Madness picks!
    Hope to connect,

  2. Andrew Fitzgerald on January 27th, 2010 8:08 pm

    Hey Rob, congratulations!

    Good to hear everything went well and your project got a lot of interest. I know what it’s like to have your “baby” out on the table, and how proud you must be.

    It’s also nice to know it was laid back and very open, instead of some black tie event.

    Good luck, and keep hustling!

    Andrew Fitzgerald

  3. Dharmesh Shah on January 28th, 2010 4:24 pm

    Thanks for posting your experience with OAF.

    You got to hang out with some of celebrity angel investors. Glad to hear you had a good time *and* got business value.


  • About Rob

    Rob is co-founder of He likes value investing, the Rolling Stones, college basketball, artificial intelligence, economic history and people who think independently.