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Business

Jul. 19, 2010 4:00 pm

Hacker Angels mentors and raises cash for technical founders

Many computer programmers can piece together a functional web application in days. Dealing with investors for their new creation? That’s another story. Hacker Angels, an informal group of angel investors that includes local entrepreneur and Duck Duck Go founder Gabriel Weinberg, is challenging the conventional wisdom that successful startups need at least one founder with business experience to be […]

Gabe Weinberg of Duck Duck Go and Hacker Angels.

Many computer programmers can piece together a functional web application in days. Dealing with investors for their new creation? That’s another story.

Hacker Angels, an informal group of angel investors that includes local entrepreneur and Duck Duck Go founder Gabriel Weinberg, is challenging the conventional wisdom that successful startups need at least one founder with business experience to be successful.

The group has already received coverage in ReadWriteWeb, among other places and hopes to mentor technically-minded founders as they wade through the often complicated and insider-y world of tech angel investing.

“Hackers often don’t want to deal with investors and would much rather deal with an investor who knows what [the hacker] is doing,” says Weinberg.

Hacker Angels wants to help technical founders get off the ground faster by offering advice and consultation from people who have been there. Group members include Weinberg, AOL executive Roy Rodenstein, Jim Young of Hot or Not, Josh Shakter of Delicious and Jeff Miller of Punchfork. Each has built a business to a successful exit as a technical founder and wishes to help other programmers navigate the often complicated waters of startup life and funding.

There are no official meetings or legal entities, just a group of friends who exchange potential investments over email. Members introduce companies via email with the hopes for getting four or five checks instead of just one.

Weinberg, who says he started taking angel investing more seriously in 2009, says the group has invested in two companies already: one in the 67th Ward and one in Boston.

“We were all doing [angel investing] on our own, so we figured we should just do it,” he says.

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Sean Blanda is an adviser to Technical.ly, the local technology news network, having cofounded its flagship Technically Philly in February 2009. He is a media consultant, engagement editor for Behance and lives in Brooklyn, NYC.

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