We have the angel investor – a person who invests money at the very early stages of a new business. Often they believe strongly in the potential of the company, and while large return on their investment is possible, it isn’t always their sole motivation.
It seems to me that cash isn’t always the limiting factor that keeps someone from starting a new business these days, particularly in technology. I meet people every day with an idea for a software product or service they think people would want. Though they might like money to start such a business, they’d use it only to hire a developer to write the software – their actual barrier to pursuing the idea is not money, it’s technical expertise. So why not skip the whole cash part? It seems that deals coud be struck between developers and those with business ideas to develop the software in exchange for an early equity stake in the company. As with cash investment, it would take some due diligence by both parties, but I think it would work. Many developers already spend time altruistically writing open source software for the good of the community, so I find it fully believable that some would expend that same effort in an enterprising pursuit that could later yield big dividends. An Angel Developer.