What’s Really Going on With NY Angels?

angel investors Whats Really Going on With NY Angels?

Too many angels bubble the cloud

A little over two months ago Betabeat weighed in on the state of NY Angels, a group that gained a lot of visibility and respect for backing tech projects during the dark years following the dot-com bust. Every so often a media outlet will cover a NY Angels event or interview one of their executives. The latest is from Xconomy, which is ramping up its coverage of the local tech scene.

Xconomy’s Arlene Weintraub sat down NY Angels vice chairman Brian Cohen. When we last spoke with Cohen, we asked why the group’s portfolio, which has its own page on the website, didn’t show any investments after 2009. “We are building a new website, so check back in 60 days,” Mr. Cohen told us.

Well, it’s been 100 days, and the site looks exactly the same. In his discussion with Mr. Weintraub, Mr. Cohen reveals that the group is aggressively adding members. The idea, he says, is to bring more “smart angels” into the mix, because there are “scalable startups” that can’t find enough capital.

That sounds nice, but it’s simply not the case. Their is a glut of money ready willing and able to be invested at the seed and early stage of tech companies in New York City. The best companies can afford to be very choosy about who they bring on, usually picking angels who can provide more than funding. Business development and connection to top engineering talent is what separates angels from the pack these days.

The NY Angels model, in which retired bankers, doctors and lawyers would cut $25,000 checks and make decisions by committee, was in demand from 2001-2008. Adding more of these folks to the mix by expanding the ranks won’t help to convince local entrepreneurs that the NY Angels is a smart place to go for funding.

What NY Angels really needs to get back in the game is a series of smart, highly visible investments or social proof in the form of endorsements on the blogs and Twitter feeds of well respected investors and founders in Silicon Alley.