This is Technically Baltimore’s Better Know an Angel. We hope to use this space to highlight local angel investors investing in Baltimore-based startups. If you’re an angel investor interested in being profiled here, complete this questionnaire.
Before becoming the vice president of merchant services at PayPal, Vince Talbert was the cofounder and the chief marketing officer for online credit company Bill Me Later, which just so happened to be acquired by eBay in 2008.
Now, angel investing is Talbert’s primary work, and he’s actively involved with the Baltimore Angels. Talbert hopes to help increase the Baltimore region’s appetite for risk in the startup world. Find Talbert on LinkedIn here.
Where do you live?
Name the top three things you consider before investing in a startup.
Great ideas don’t make successful companies. Usually, what sets one technology startup [apart] from the next is having a unique distribution strategy. A team that can execute can make up for a lot of mistakes.
Here are my standard four factors that I seek in a startup:
- A proven team with skills and experiences relevant to the business.
- Momentum/traction, which comes in two forms. Either revenue growth and/or customer growth. Revenue growth (10 percent per month is the gold standard) is most valuable, but extraordinary customer growth (exponential organic adoption) will also be valued.
- Big market [for the product or service]. The company has to be able to achieve at least $100 million in revenue without taking a huge share of the [available] market.
- Sustainable differentiation. There must be some barriers to competition.
Name one local company you’ve recently invested in.
Why do you invest in Baltimore-based companies?
I want to see a more vibrant economic environment in Baltimore. Entrepreneurship is what grows the economy. If we aren’t innovating, we are dying.
What’s one thing you would change about the startup scene in Baltimore?
All constituents (investors, employees, founders, suppliers, customers) [assuming] more risk-taking and accepting failure as a normal and acceptable part of the process.
How can entrepreneurs get in touch?