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How Shark Tank Is Changing Angel Investing

How Shark Tank Is Changing Angel Investing
Image credit: Shark Tank

Want to get an angel investor to pony up money for your startup? Better be ready with a snappy pitch that can beat the competition.

Thanks to the popularity of the ABC reality show Shark Tank, more and more entrepreneurs are finding that angel investors are open to hearing their pitch if they present it in a quick, contest-style format. Sure, there are still plenty of angel connections happening from networking and pitching individual investors. But the opportunities to get in front of an angel without an introduction at a competition are growing.

Related: The Email That Snagged an Investment from Shark Tank's Mark Cuban

How does pitching an angel panel work outside of Hollywood? Here's a look at the setup for a couple of upcoming Shark Tank-style angel pitching non-televised events happening around the country:

Guppy Tank  This southern California competition is billed as "Shark Tank without the cameras and drama." Candidates are encouraged to submit online applications and then the finalists will present their ideas to an investor panel on Oct. 25.

The angel team has $500,000 in funding that it will award in the form of equity investments and loans to between two and ten area startups. Sponsor Super G Funding, which operates the business-loan site BizCash, is facilitating the funding. The angels who will judge haven't been announced. Applications are being accepted through Oct.15, and this one's only open to businesses based in the region that are already operating, but need capital to grow.

Shark Tank at FutureM- Also on Oct. 25, $100,000 is up for grabs at a Shark Tank-style pitch event at the FutureM (the M is for marketing) conference in Boston. Funding will be provided by Boston Seed CapitalAtlas Venture, Hubspot co-founder Dharmesh Shah and an anonymous investor.

Making the funding decisions are a shark panel including Katie Rae who manages TechStars' Boston incubator program, another TechStars mentor, Mike Troiano, Atlas Vdenture's Fred Destin, and Boston Seed's Peter Blacklow. This one's hosted by angel investor Dave Balter of the incubator BzzAgent.

Related: The Shark Tank Effect: Top Success Stories from the First 3 Seasons

These local versions of a Shark Tank pitch challenge may not have the cameras or offer the huge exposure of being on a national TV show, but they do offer some capital and exposure to a group of angels. For some startups looking for growth capital, scoring at a local event may be the next best thing.

Would you pitch your business to a Shark-style angel panel? Tell us why or why not. 

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at carol@caroltice.com.

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