14

Exits and Other Unicorns

Getting Your Money Out Makes All Things Right

THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK, I've talked about the ancillary benefits of being an angel investor: the opportunity to be an entrepreneur once removed, the chance to work with many of the most interesting businesspeople you'll ever meet, the ability to contribute to the growth of the economy through the creation of world-changing new companies, and more. But the central goal—the outcome that attracted you to angel investing in the first place—is the possibility of making money by having the foresight and opportunity to invest in a company whose revenues, profits, and equity value soar through the roof. That's the happy ending we all dream about—the ending that makes the hard work, long wait, and risk worthwhile.

How often does that happen? In the real world, what can you expect when your investment winds up and it's time to take your money and go elsewhere? It would be great if I could give you a completely sourced, definitive answer based on the specific outcomes of the last 10,000 angel investments in the United States. Unfortunately, angel investing—dealing as it does with private companies and Accredited Investors exempt from most regulation and tracking—is carried out almost entirely away from public view or reporting. That, in turn, means that there are few reliable statistics (despite what you may hear or read in the press), and those that exist are high-level numbers of either economic outcomes or complete ...

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