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Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America

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  • Shane, Scott

Abstract

The stereotype of the "angel investor" is a retired wealthy entrepreneur who sees potential, asks tough questions, takes a large stake, and in a few years makes a massive return in an IPO. This outsider fills the gap between the venture capitalist and the professional investor, swooping in with cash and expertise to bring dreams to fruition. Unfortunately, Shane observes, this figure bears no relationship to reality. In Fool's Gold, he draws on hard data from the Federal Reserve and other sources to paint the first reliable group portrait of the lionized angel investors. Surprisingly, he finds that they are fewer, contribute less, and involve themselves in fewer start-ups than the conventional wisdom suggests. Most angels typically still have their day jobs, make investments of $10,000 or less, and take little or no role in assisting entrepreneurs build their companies. Few of the companies they put money into arrive at IPOs, let alone massive returns. But angels can play a critical role, he writes, if the fantasy is abandoned by all concerned. Drawing on his rich store of data, Shane offers recommendations to entrepreneurs and angels alike for the most productive use of angel investing, and suggests how policymakers can encourage it. Particularly promising are angel groups, which pool knowledge and money for wiser and more productive investments. In groups, angels can rely on each other's expertise, share the labor of performing due diligence, and generally insure that their money is being placed--and used--wisely. Fostering the formation of such groups may be the single most important thing that government can do to boost angel investing. Massively researched and briskly written, Fools' Gold offers the first real resource on this misunderstood aspect of our entrepreneurial system.

Suggested Citation

  • Shane, Scott, 2009. "Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195331080.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780195331080
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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Changhong & Shi, Yulin & Wu, Cong & Wu, Zhenyu & Zheng, Li, 2016. "Policies of promoting entrepreneurship and Angel Investment: Evidence from China," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 154-167.
    2. Thomas Astebro & Holger Herz & Ramana Nanda & Roberto A. Weber, 2014. "Seeking the Roots of Entrepreneurship: Insights from Behavioral Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 49-70, Summer.
    3. William R. Kerr & Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, 2014. "Entrepreneurship as Experimentation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 25-48, Summer.
    4. Elert, Niklas & Henrekson, Magnus & Stenkula, Mikael, 2017. "Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship: An Agenda for Europe," Working Paper Series 1150, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 16 Feb 2017.
    5. Zhujun Ding & Sunny Sun & Kevin Au, 2014. "Angel investors’ selection criteria: A comparative institutional perspective," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 705-731, September.
    6. Stuart Paul & Geoff Whittam, 2009. "Business angel syndicates: an exploratory study of gatekeepers," Venture Capital, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 241-256, September.
    7. repec:kap:asiapa:v:35:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10490-017-9525-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & Tina Xu, 2017. "Personality Traits of Entrepreneurs: A Review of Recent Literature," NBER Working Papers 24097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Ding, Zhujun & Au, Kevin & Chiang, Flora, 2015. "Social trust and angel investors' decisions: A multilevel analysis across nations," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-321.
    10. Kevin Au & Flora F. T. Chiang & Thomas A. Birtch & Ho Kwong Kwan, 2016. "Entrepreneurial financing in new business ventures: a help-seeking behavior perspective," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 199-213, March.

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