Revolutionary Angels Closes Down, Shelves Business-Plan Contest

6/8/10Follow @wroush

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Boston TechStars executive director Shawn Broderick, Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis, and Union Square Ventures principal Fred Wilson.

“We certainly had some less than favorable PR,” Hurley acknowledges. “I’d say it was about 50/50 for and against, and that is not enough—you need more positive PR than that.”

Back in November, after Levine posted his attack, Hurley told me that he believed that critics of Revolutionary Angels were misconstruing the company’s mission. He reiterated that view last week. Contestants weren’t being asked to pay for the privilege of presenting their startups’ plans to potential investors, but rather for a whole array of services such as consulting and mentorship from the Revolutionary Angels judges, he says.

“I think the challenge is that we got dumped into the pay-to-pitch category as opposed to the pay-to-play category,” Hurley says. “Just as there is a fee to present at Demo or at TechCrunch, we were providing a service for a fee, as well as an opportunity for low-equity-cost capital.”

Nor does Hurley view the shutdown of Revolutionary Angels as a concession to the program’s critics.

“I don’t think it validates their criticisms at all,” he says. “If they’d understood what we were actually doing, they probably would have been supportive. I talked with a couple of people at Mass Innovation Nights last night and they said they were glad I did what I did, because it set off a little bit of a bomb in the investment community. It got people to acknowledge that there is an issue here that is not being addressed, and that people need to come up with new models to fix it.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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