Last week saw the release of two significant reports on angel investing. In the US, super-angel Ron Conway presented the results of an audit his company, SV Angel, had conducted on the 500+ investments it has made over the past 12 years. Meanwhile, in the UK, Professors Colin Mason and Richard Harrison published an annual report on the state of angel investing in Britain.
At first glance, the differences between these two reports seem mostly about American vs. British style: the Californian Conway laid out his data casually before a TechCrunch conference, while the British professors wrote a formal, 100-page study that was distributed through a government website.
But closer examination shows that there is also a substantive distinction, and it’s a profound one. Whereas Conway’s short talk focused almost entirely on the performance of startups and the returns that angel investors like him have achieved,
Mason and Harrison used their 100 pages to talk about every other possible topic—levels and types of investments made, tax incentives, co-investment structures and much else—and made merely one passing, vague reference to how these investments actually worked out.
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