Spoiler: Dragon’s Den isn’t real!
Many first-time entrepreneurs base at least some of their knowledge of business angels on the popular TV show Dragon’s Den (Shark Tank in the US and Australia). Here, a few entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas in front of a group of business angels (typically, famous super angels) who then – based on the pitch – decide if they want to invest or not.
It never works like this in the real world. Ever. Business angels need to evaluate not only the idea but also the people behind it and the traction (how far they’ve come); in other words, all that’s needed to build the necessary trust in the business and founders, on which all angels build their investment decision. This can’t be covered in 15 minutes. It makes great TV, but it’s not real!
I am not suggesting the deals made on TV are fake – they are real, and it makes sense for the angels to do the deals on stage, given the huge publicity it gives them which more than pays for the additional risk of investing in unknown companies. But in the real world you can’t get funding after a 15-minute meeting with the business angel!