How To Be an Angel Investor — Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

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If you want to become good at early-stage investing, you need to learn how to size up the fundamental elements of an opportunity. Many investors use checklists or think of evaluation as a process of judging an entrepreneur, or an idea, or a particular set of facts. Based on our experience in doing over 100 early-stage deals, we believe that an investment opportunity has four essential elements, that, when brought together in the right form, represent a high-potential opportunity to make money. If only one of the elements is out of sync, failure is predictable. The elements are represented by the Harvard framework (Figure 11.1), which was developed by William Sahlman 1 and Howard Stevenson 2 is described in Chapter 12.

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