Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AngelSift - A Winner for Investors?

I am very fortunate to have been asked to work with a new business angel/business networking site called The site is aimed at business angels and sophisticated investors that are looking for investment ideas for, generally, Internet based businesses.

Having looked at many sites that offer a similar service the founders of the company saw that some sites charge relatively high fees to become members and upload deals, even charging on funds raised. While, as a traditional corporate finance model, this works, on the Internet people are not used to having to pay huge sums for information that, with a little work and research, could be found for free.

AngelSift, therefore, has a free membership level where members can view the site and find out if it is for them. If an investor would like to interact the fee is a mere £20 for a year’s membership or, for a limited time, £120 for life membership.

Entrepreneurs who are seeking funding can upload one deal per month for an annual payment of £20 and multiple deals for a £60 annual payment.

The site is primarily aimed at web entrepreneurs seeking funding and the investors who would be interested in this area, but it also will be encouraging web entrepreneurs who wish to sell there web based businesses.

From our own research, and from some of the businesses we have bought online, we know that there are literally thousands of small web businesses making a profit for very little work, through advertising. There are other marketplaces but most are US based, AngelSift, although welcoming all investors and entrepreneurs, is targeted at the European market.

The first site should go live in a few weeks and the team has promised to furiously add functionality as the site grows. The concentration initially is building up the database of users and the resources available to those users.

Next stage development is being kept hush, hush but I can say that they have an ambitious business valuation project to implement and a variety of data gathering tools that will enhance membership and the information available to that membership.

The great thing that we have found is that the guys putting it together are not taking themselves too seriously. One of the backers, who has been in corporate finance for 20 years and is funding the site, says, "The approach is not like some of the big angel networks who have turned the space into a boring science project. Angelsift, and the guys behind it, are looking at it from a low cost base for users and a genuine desire to fit angels with investors, but in a hands-off, none meddling way"

Looking at the people they have got as initial members (I won't steal their thunder), the founders may not take themselves too seriously but the users of the site certainly should.

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