What Scott Banister looks for as an angel

Bambi Francisco Roizen · May 13, 2008 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/22c

If you're an angel investor, I bet you'd love to have Scott Banister's line-up of angel deals.

Scott is an investor in Facebook, Powerset, Hi-5, Zappos and Zivity - a company he co-founded with his wife Cyan and helped raise $7 million for. Zivity recently announced that it hired Jordan Ritter as is CTO. Ritter co-founded music-sharing site Napster. (Also watch my interview with Cyan and story about Zivity, titled: You know it when you see it.)

Scott is also best known for being a co-founder of IronPort, which he sold to Cisco Systems for $830 million last year, and being an early investor and Board member of PayPal, which was sold to eBay back in 2002. Apparently, Scott has made some good bets and has a solid circle of business relationships. To this end, what Scott thinks is a good investment and what he thinks of the current investing climate is worth listening to. "Things have slowed down," he said. "Anytime the financial markets get shaky, then people have a tendency to want to retreat to cash." Indeed, if you were an investor in Bear Stearns, I'm sure you would be feeling pretty strapped.

Interestingly enough, Scott doesn't believe angel investors are sitting tight on their cash because they're  strapped. Rather, he thinks angel investors - despite having the cash - would prefer to wait for prices to drop. "Partially, they're (angel investors) doing that to resesrve that cash because they think there's going to be future better bargains," he said. Indeed, many investors, particularly those in the public markets, are waiting for private-market valuations to come in line with public market valuations, which have taken a beating. Read and watch: What Time Warner Investments seeks to fund

Another interesting point Scott makes is that he's noticed that most startups are bootstrapping their companies. Essentially, many founders aren't paying themselves or they're paying employees out of their own pocket. Additionally, when I asked Scott what he would look for in an investment, he said he always looks at the people first and whether they have the domain expertise and the ability to execute. 

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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