Here's What Flickr Investor Esther Dyson Looks For In A Startup

You’d think a startup backer would look for the best money-making schemes.But angel investor Esther Dyson has a different approach: She looks for ideas that are fun, she told Entrepreneur.

It’s paid off, through investments in companies like Flickr and Delicious, both of which were bought by Yahoo.

Here’s the key advice:

  • Fun doesn’t mean frivolous—Dyson wants companies that “ought to exist.”
  • Dyson believes investors should mentor the entrepreneurs they back: “The job of an angel is not to pick winners, but to pick potential winners and help them become winners.”
  • Pay attention to the team, not just the product. “A company is an organism,” Dyson says.
  • Decide on your role: “If you’re not a CEO, find someone who is, and then they can help you realise your vision. If you are a CEO, find people who are better in specific areas than you are and let them do their thing.”
  • Companies need policies as they get bigger. It’s “painful,” Dyson says—like watching your child become a teenager. 

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