American Express: The Real Angel VCs

Fun stuff from Greenwich on credit card vendors as the real angel capital providers:

Greenwich Associates surveyed more than 25,000 businesses with sales of $1-10 million about their use of corporate credit cards. Among the small business owners participating in on-going research, more than half say they use corporate credit cards to finance their businesses. Of these, one in five uses American Express and one in eight uses Bank of America.

So much for VCs.


  1. considering far less than 1% of all startups (yep, that includes dry cleaners, bodegas, pharmacies, etc…) receive non-traditional financing, that seems about right.
    Also–got a nice credit card ad when i added my comment–go contextual advertising!

  2. When we founded SelectMinds, which has just recently become a VC-backed company, at one point we had four founders with $50K+ debt on our credt cards, constantly playing the introductory rate shuffle. We joked about listing AmEx as our strategic investor.

  3. I wonder if the default rates for that sort of credit card debt echoes that of failure rates for angel investors. Does anyone have that sort of data or know where to find it? I bet it would also be analogous to the rate of inability to pay back friends and families. Although, I wonder if I am thinking just in terms of the technology startup world, and as ian mentioned above, the rates of default are much lower for dry-cleaners, Subways, etc.