In the beginning of 2007, I wrote an article here on the blog called Seed and Angel Capital Strategies for Atlanta. It proved to be a fairly popular post, and I thought provided a decent view of the landscape in Atlanta at that time. Note to self – I should probably go and write a followup to that to see where we are now.
In that article, I described Sig as the “unwitting Godfather of early-stage investing in Atlanta”, a phrase coined by Lance a few weeks prior. It translates into the feeling and belief that the man was, and is, one of the most important pillars of the technology industry in Georgia. And it’s true.
Raising money is rarely easy. It is even harder in Atlanta. The good news is that software/IT is a sector in which Atlanta is very strong. There are a lot of people in this city that get information technology. Whenever the “panels” and “luminaries” are asked this question, they usually throw out the two stock answers: the 3F’s and Sig Mosley. The 3F’s being friends, family, and fools, and Sig Mosley being the unwitting godfather of early-stage technology investing in Atlanta.
Later in the article, I provided a bit more treatment on Sig and his impact on the Atlanta angel investing mood:
Sig is a nice, unassuming type of guy. I don’t know him all that well, but I’ve met him several times. I’ve pitched to him before as well. Sig has a very strong reputation here in Atlanta. He’s made some good picks over the years and as a result, many others here often use Sig as an investment “compass.”
Many angels, VCs, attorneys, and accountants here in Atlanta, when approached by an entrepreneur seeking to raise outside capital, will simply ask “have you pitched to Sig yet?” If you have indeed pitched to Sig, and he passed on your deal (or didn’t get all excited about it,) the effort required to convince those other investors to take you seriously just went way up.
My advice? Pitch Sig last – not first. Maybe I’ve just coined a new buzzword here: “Sig’d: the tainting of the pool of local investors that occurs when you prematurely pitch your deal to the biggest angel in town only to have him pass on it.” :)
Note: I posted that over 5 years ago. Since then, I’ve gotten to know Sig a lot better, having worked with him via various community efforts. Getting to know Sig has been a joy and a thrill. The man has seen it all.
The legendary John Imlay cited the blurb above during his tribute to Sig at the 2008 TAG Technology Summit, where Sig was inducted into the Georgia Technology Hall of Fame (video below – about 60-70% into the video is where he cites the article). At the time, I was CEO of PlayMotion, and we were presenting as one of the TAG Top Ten Technology Companies in Georgia (along with Jeff Haynie of Appcelerator, who by all accounts is currently kicking so much ass in Silicon Valley that his foot hurts – nice job, J). Great crowd of 1,500 or more. I was preparing to go on stage and do the pitch for PlayMotion when I heard John Imlay start reading my blurb on Sig. I got to shake Mr. Imlay’s hand after the event and had a brief chat with him. We had a good chuckle about the Sig post … and he concurred with my comments on Sig, by the way :)
Later that year, Sig and fellow Atlanta angel investor Charlie Paparelli were guests on the 28th episode of our StartupLounge.com podcast. It was a really compelling session, where we really got a chance to dig into the minds of these two gentlemen. We even learned that Sig doesn’t look at your numbers … he just cares about your business model. Sage advice, and I wish more angels would figure that out. This is the result of having been an active angel for as long as he has.
Riffing on my original blog post, Mike Blake and I made the joke either in the podcast or off the air about “Sig saying “NO”‘ on deals. We even got him a custom tee-shirt. That tee-shirt was almost an expensive lawsuit. Apparently, the folks at Despair.com (the de-motivational company of which we are huge fans) actually own the copyright on the sad smiley face emoticon and basically told us to cease and desist. No kidding. BTW, we later had Lawrence Kersten of Despair.com on the SL podcast … he was a stitch.
Oh, and if you are new to the Atlanta scene, and don’t know the origin of the whole “Secret Sig” meme, you can read all about it over on Lance’s blog. Snarky, epic stuff – must read.
Fast forward to 2011. Sig announces his retirement. Then, after a vacation, he pulls a Brett Favre and returns to the angel scene with his new endeavor – CTW Venture Partners. The announcement thrilled the entire Atlanta community, and rightfully so. Hopefully, he’ll be coming back on the podcast to talk to us about CTW – more on that later.
Ever since the announcement of CTW, I had this concept in my head of doing some sort of silly tribute to all of the various memes surrounding Sig, from being “the Godfather”, to “Sig Said No”. The other night, I decided to do a soundboard, and use bits of audio from the podcast that Mike and I did with Sig and Charlie. I was originally just going to have a single, big button that had Sig saying “No”, as sort of a silly spoof. But … well … my gears started spinning and then it sort of took off in its own direction. I’ve been wanting to mess around with some more HTML 5 anyway, so it was a nice excuse.
Click the image below to enjoy the virtual pitch session with “Bobblehead” Secret Sig. BTW, in case you are wondering, Sig thought it was funny. :)
Note: This is best viewed in either Safari, Chrome, IE, or Firefox on a desktop or laptop. It looks wonky in iPad’s Safari, but I’m working on it. If it doesn’t work for you, then chances are you are using an older browser that doesn’t support HTML 5.