My Favorite Angel Investor I Don’t Know

Apologies for having fallen off the blogging wagon in the last year. I’ve also slowed down the angel investing pace–a little bit because of valuations, but mostly because I’m running another startup, BuysideFX which takes up all my attention. (I’ll tell the story about how I decided to fund that later when we have something big to announce early next year.) Blogging, mentoring, investing, adding value has all dropped off the cliff, but offset by hopefully getting on another rocket ride as an entrepreneur.

But I’m back with a quickie post because I heard the best half hour of interviewing of an early-stage investor I’ve heard in a long-time: Jason Calacanis’s This Week In Startups interview with Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital. There are actually two parts of the interview, which lasts a few interesting hours, but the money part comes at the end of Part II, when Chris talks about angels creating value first, not hype. This is the same theme he covered on his Foundation Interview with Kevin Rose before, which I also commented on in a blogpost a year ago. But it’s still a powerful theme of angels walking the walk, not just talking.

But now I have a story to tell. I invested in a startup that I found via AngelList, UpNext. Before I talked to the founder, Danny Moon, I had downloaded the great app, which I use every time I’m getting around in a major city, and immediately saw how useful and powerful his 3D mapping was. For due diligence, in addition to talking with Danny, I saw an interview on Untether.tv, and that sealed it for me.  There were a number of fine investors onboard–David Cohen and David Tisch from TechStars, Paul Sethi, Will Herman, etc. But Danny’s go-to guy in advising him how to negotiate his sale to Amazon was Chris Sacca.  I’ve never spoken to Chris, but I’ve got the distinct feeling that I owe him for helping Danny getting all of the shareholders such an excellent outcome.

There was almost no news on this transaction, and zero humble brags going around. Because it was a small round to start up, the absolute dollars weren’t something that was going to get Chris, who know manages metric tons of dollars, a meaningful difference in his life. But he dug in, helped, without fanfare. Pure value-add, giving back to an entrepreneur who hadn’t been in that position, from an experienced investor who has been in a lot of transactions.

Bill Walsh, former coach of the 49ers, said that if you sweat the details and work hard, “the score takes care of itself.” That’s why Chris Sacca is killing it with his investments, why smart entrepreneurs seek him out, and that’s what everyone of us in the startup community needs to do–just help out. Good karma results.

PS: Chris, if by any chance you read this, I’m down for a well, no swearing necessary.  And in the same vein as charity:water, check out this 2010 MassChallenge winner, Osmopure, for similar social impact. Tell Barack that an incredible use for American foreign aid is dropping 10,000 of these drinking straws wherever there are floods and other disasters screwing up water supplies.


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