Business investors – Are you a Gekko or an Allen?

If you are a child of the 80s or have ever had aspirations to make your fortune on the stock market, you could not help but have been influenced by the 1987 movie Wall Street (and if you have not seen it, download it or rent it or buy it today because it is not only a classic 80s genre movie, but it has inspired a generation of City types that you can spot a mile off). Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) is the fictional multi-millionaire money-obsessed mogul who has made it to the top by stamping down on everyone beneath him. Gekko’s “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good” signature line sums up his attitude towards life; nothing else mattered to him but money and he did not care who had to get hurt in the process. So single-minded was he in his pursuit of wealth at any cost that he was named 24th out of the top 50 film villains of all time by the American Film Institute in 2003. Basically he was a very bad man. It is debatable whether art reflected life or life reflected art in this movie, as Wall Street is now considered to be the archetypal “portrayal” of the 80s excessive culture, yet it enthused many more to become Gekkos, or to be like Bud Fox (the ambitious and corruptible character played by Charlie Sheen), whose morals were for hire, to make it to the top. But do you have to be bad to be good at business, and are business investors all like Gordon Gekko?

Alan Sugar and Donald Trump through their ‘Apprentice’ TV shows, the business investors on Dragon’s Den and, yes, Gordon Gekko have all influenced the public perception of what business investors are likely to be like. This image of a scary successful person is what has held back many people from looking for business funding/partnerships to help develop their ventures and has also prevented many would-be business investors from coming forward. But “nice guy” business investors do exist.

Paul Allen is someone you may or may not have heard of. He’s a very private man that nobody seems to have a bad word to say about. He has a reputation for being a huge charitable contributor, a philanthropist and, by all accounts, a thoroughly nice guy. But Allen was also listed in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in both 2007 and 2008 and Forbes has listed him with a $16bn net worth. As co-founder of Microsoft his foundation is certainly strong, but he is also a prolific investor in many different sectors including space, technologies, real estate, film and animation to name but a few from his huge portfolio, and he has retained his “nice guy – billionaire next door” image, unlike so many of his peers.

Business investors come in all shapes and sizes, and at Angels Den we are now seeing hundreds of new investors registering their enthusiasm to put their capital behind exciting new projects every month. Many come to us because more traditional forms of investment are showing such poor returns; some because they appreciate the exceptional ROI that is achievable; and others come to us in the spirit of adventure. One thing that seems to be consistent with all of our business investors is that they, too, are nice people – of course, they are often strong-willed, determined, dedicated and hard-nosed, Today’s world of the Angel investor is very different the time that spawned Gordon Gekko. Today it is as much about the entrepreneur choosing their investor as the other way around.

If you have a business idea that could benefit from an injection of capital or if you have a little pioneering spirit in you and would like to help new ventures blossom, making you substantial profit in the process, then visit the angels den website at