I heard about the “angel investor” term a while ago, but I have not thought seriously about their profiles, their networth, etc. This is until recently I thought about doing this myself, I mean providing seed money for some Internet startup in China.
I think in general angel investors are rich people 🙂 As a minimum they should come up with 10,000 to 100,000 (USD? CNY?) to get a company started. My favorite “angel investor” story is when the two Google guys got started, one Sunday morning they went to the home of Sun Microsystems cofounder. The Sun guy listened to their pitch for a few minutes, liked the idea, but he needed to go to church. So he gave them a $200,000 check. We all know the rest is the history.
In the case of two Internet startup I visited a few months ago, they got the initial fund from their family or their own savings. While they are not as rich as the Sun guy, but they share a common attribute: they can afford to lose all the money. The plus side of “angle investor” is: if the business is successful, the return could be huge (say 1000 times of original investment). I guess that’s why despite the high risk of losing all the money, there are still many people want to be “angle” 🙂