For not the first time, I've met with an inventor who has what I consider to be a pretty good idea, and a prototype. His opening statement was something like "All investors want 60% of the company for whatever they invest, so I've developed a plan to maintain complete control while providing them their 60%." Kind of went downhill from there.
I tried to assure him that my own interest was in seeing entrepreneurs succeed and that investment metrics (in my mind) were only there to measure probabilities of returns. We couldn't even agree about that, and within 30 minutes, we were done. I'm disheartened.
My fellow angel network managers say that they usually won't talk to inventors because the company anticipated is usually not ready for angel investment. But then where do these people go? Some wind up in the hands of individual investors who have experience and capability and can forge good working relationships.
Some wind up in the hands of individual investors who do not have experience and no real expectation of loss - little tolerance for risk, in other words. When the inevitable happens, it becomes an unhappy event.
I would love to find a way to give people the opportunities they deserve by their innovation and creativity. There has to be a way to do it. But it is not yet another program or center or something. I don't know what it is, but building a trusting relationship going both ways is right in the middle of it. Maybe it's just the process of talking to a lot of people with a helpful focus. And resisting the urge to be cynical. If you are hopeful and optimistic, someone said recently, you can be mistaken for being naive. But if you're cynical, everyone knows it. Let's be hopeful and optimistic anyway.