I was really excited to hear recently about a new collective of investors known as hacker angels. Their simple web site describes the group as:
an informal association and not a fund.
If inclined, we may provide feedback, advice,
mentorship, hacking, investment and/or serve
as advisors or independent board members,
on an individual basis.
While their web site may be understated, their accomplishments are not. They've been the developers and entrepreneurs behind some very successful web products, and they're the exact type of mentors that young hacker entrepreneurs need in the early stages of their business. This group of guys will not only be able to provide investment to the companies that they work with, but also invaluable advice about how to go from product to business.
I predict that they will have success in backing very smart hackers, very early on in their careers. While your average recent MIT graduate may be intimidated by traditional finance focused investors, they'll be able to relate easily, and therefore trust the hacker angels. Fred Wilson has written about VC's Who Code, and the great perspective that they provide in later stage VC deals. I imagine that the hacker angels will provide a similar barometer on early stage financings.