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Angel investment decision making as a learning process

Mason, Colin (2010) Angel investment decision making as a learning process. [Report]

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Abstract

This paper extends the literature on the investment decision-making of business angels. Using insights from entrepreneurial learning theory, particularly the use of heuristics and the nature of learning from meagre experience, we explore whether angels learn from experience, how they learn and what they learn. These issues are addressed using verbal protocol analysis, a methodology for examining decision-making in real time, on three groups of business angels with differing levels of investment experience, and on follow-up interviews with these angels. This reveals some differences in the speed of decision making and the emphasis given to various investment criteria. There is some evidence for the use of heuristics in the decision making process, and for the critical role played by vicarious learning from the experience of others. Learning in the individual angel decision making process is a social as well as individual phenomenon.