It's the dream of many entrepreneurs to catch the eye of an angel investor. These types of investors are smart, filthy rich and can turn a twinkle of a business idea into a multi million (or billion) dollar undertaking. They are usually quite thorough in how they vet companies, doing research designed to make sure they are picking the right investments. In no particular order, these are 15 of the top angel investors of all time, where they came from, and what kinds of businesses generally pique their interest. Heaven really can be real for entrepreneurs with these investors perched on their shoulder.
1. Jeff Clavier
Personally, he's made nearly 20 investments doling out up to $6 million per startup that intrigues him. As the founder of SoftTech VC, though, he's worked with his partners and employees to fund 150 ventures in the past 10 years. Like other angels on this list, when he works with a group he dishes up much higher capital. He's most interested in e-commerce, mobile and infrastructure monetization.
2. David Lee
Lee's biggest solo investment to date was $250,000 (but as the founder of SV Angel, LLC he's offered much higher capital). He's been listed by BusinessInsider as one of the Top 50 best investors for early-stage businesses, and has a penchant for big data, analytics, e-commerce and the consumer internet.
3. Benjamin Ling
Also topping out personally at $250,000, Ling made the same list as Lee although he hasn't founded his own firm--yet. He works at Khosla Ventures and leans towards green technology. Recently investing in Vamo, he likes digital media, mobile, big data and social commerce.
4. Dave Morin
Capping out at $50,000, Morin splits his time between angel investing and working with the company he founded, Path. His own company is all about mobile networking, and that's where his passion is. He recently invested in SocialRadar and (fun fact) used to be one of the top ranked skiers in the US. He likes agriculture, Bitcoin, hardware, beverages, sports, and social media.
5. Keith Rabois
Personally investing up to $250,000 and with over 50 investments under his belt, Rabois is part of Khosla Investments and recently invested in DoorDash. He used to be a big shot at PayPal and LinkedIn, but now prefers to back loyalty programs, education, IT, sports and marketplaces.
6. Aydin Senkat
With a personal investment reaching $5 million and already bolstering 80 startups, Senkat is a hot commodity. He's recently backed NOWBOX and is the founder of Felicis Ventures. His interests include 3D printing, healthcare, personal health and SaaS.
7. Ron Conway
Investing up to $50,000 personally for individual startups, Conway is the founder of Angel Investors LP and made the Forbes Top Investors Midas List in 2013. He recently backed Data Elite and honed his investment skills as an early investor for Google, PayPal and AskJeeves. He's also gotten into politics, as the single largest campaign contributor for current tech-friendly San Francisco Mayor Ed lee.
8. Fabrice Grinda
Backing well over 100 startups and offering a maximum of $300,000 (so far) for any one of them, Grinda is the co-founder of OLX and founder of Zingy. He counts Peopleperhour and Brightroll as some of his most famous investments and likes crowdsourcing, online travel, social commerce and location-based services.
9. Jason Calacanis
Calacanis has backed with up to $250,000 personally for individual companies but more as the founder of Open Angel Forum. He's also the founder of Inside.com and recently bolstered Skift. He's shown a preference for blogging platforms, analytics, fashion, search and ventures for good.
10. Chris Sacca
As the founder of Lowercase Capital Sacca has done a lot, but he's personally invested up to $500,000 in companies. Most recently serving as an angel for Streak, Sacca was a prodigy who began college (taking grad school level classes) at 11 years old. He enjoys mobile, developer tools and IT.
11. Paul Graham
Investing up to $1.6 million so far to a single startup, and much more with Y Combinator, Graham is the creator of Viaweb. He's been listed as a top angel investor by BusinessInsider and Businessweek, making around 10 investments which include ClassDojo. It's too soon to sell which industries he prefers, but given his background in ASP you can bet it's tech-related.
12. Jeff Bezos
Like many top investors, Bezos keeps just how much he's offered to a single startup secret--however, he's gone on record to say he "starts" at $1.5 million. Surprisingly, he's only personally backed a handful of companies including Everfi.
13. Marissa Mayer
It's no surprise that such a public figure is hush hush about her top investments. She's "only" been an angel for a dozen companies, but the Yahoo! CEO is renowned for her business prowess. She's said her interests include digital media, human resources, online video advertising and energy. If you're really interested to see what she likes buying, just watch what she and her team do with all that Alibaba money.
14. Matt Mullenweg
Thus far, Mullenweg's personal investing has started at $50,000 and he's backed 25 companies. Famous for creating WordPress, the jazz saxophonist also shows a love of consumer internet, food and beverages, musical instruments (no surprise) and web development (again, no surprise).
15. Kevin Rose
A longtime investor who got in early at Twitter while he was the CEO of Digg.com. Rose a partner at Google Ventures but has also personally backed over a dozen ventures (although he won't reveal the amounts). He has been featured as an angel with BusinessInsider and Businessweek. He leans towards social news, consumer internet, social media and location based services.
Now that you know who the angels are, it's time to start luring them in. Take a look at the investment firms they work with and reach out. Match the angel with their interests and you could be on the right path.