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Angel Investors For Start-ups: Innovation Bay Angel Dinner

Angel dinner highlights B2C trend

By Michelle Hammond
Friday, 04 March 2011

Investment network Innovation Bay has held its first angel dinner of the year, with three out of the four successful applicants pitching B2C business models to an audience of angel investors.


Innovation Bay was founded in 2003 by Ian Gardiner, Randal Leeb du-Toit and Phaedon Stough, with the aim of facilitating business opportunities for tech companies and investors.


Members are made up of entrepreneurs, senior business leaders and venture capitalists throughout Australia, with a strong technology focus.


In addition to regular breakfast networking events, Innovation Bay holds invitation-only dinners for small select groups, providing a more intimate environment in which to network.


Innovation Bay held its first angel dinner earlier this week after selecting four out of 10 applicants.


The successful applicants were career network The Loop, travel site Rome to Rio, provider of mobile game development tools Javaground, and mobile application builder Global Mobile.


Stough says there was a common thread in that all of the successful applicants operate in highly innovative markets yet to be developed.


He says the dinner attracted a huge amount of interest, with the successful applicants appealing to a broad range of investors.


“We had a really interesting mix from commercial online advertising angels to those with hardcore research and development backgrounds,” he says.


Stough expects lots of follow-up meetings to take place as a result of the dinner, which he labeled a huge success.


He says The Loop, a career network catering for creative talent, was a particular standout in terms of its product positioning.


“The Loop has a really good understanding of where the product is at in the market, where the market is, the size of the market, and knowledge around their product position. They were very concise,” Stough says.


According to Stough, Australian businesses are under increasing pressure from investors to generate cashflow in a much shorter period of time. He says investors also expect a lower level of investment to go further in terms of profits.


“We are also seeing a strong trend towards start-ups operating in the business-to-consumer model… Javaground was the only company [that attended the dinner] that isn’t business-to-consumer,” he says.


With regard to winning a place at an Innovation Bay dinner, he says companies that can effectively communicate their value proposition are at an instant advantage.


“For example, Rome to Rio has no specific targets in terms of its customer base but they really understand where their product is – that can get them through,” he says.


“Angel investors invest more in the people rather than the IP, so you have to be able to communicate.”

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