Venture capitalist firms maybe aren’t always an option for startups, especially in seed rounds. And that’s where angel investors come in. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest their own money into startups and ventures.
“But where can I find an angel investor?” is a question that’s crossed every new founder’s mind. And unfortunately, angel investors aren’t always fond of shouting about it from the rooftops. That means tracking one down – and more importantly, getting into contact with one – can be difficult.
But don’t fear: angels aren’t as elusive as you might think. This article will walk you through all the places you might find an angel investor for your business.
1. Finding angel investors in your existing network
You’d be surprised who’s just a mutual friend away. There are other advantages to leveraging your existing network too:
Having a friend or business acquaintance get you a warm introduction nearly always goes down better than dropping someone a cold email. A decision to invest often comes down to trust, and having a third party confirm you’re legit can only help your cause. This goes both ways – having someone vouch that an investor isn’t going to fleece you out of the house and home is always nice.
It can be difficult to find an investor who knows your industry well. But by speaking to people at events, you can easily find out who’s a big investor in your niche. Plus, it’s a simple way of finding out a bit more about their existing investments and what they’re like to work with. You can find out if they follow through on their promises. If you’re always hearing bad things about a particular angel, you know to stay well away.
2. Make the most of networking opportunities
As a startup founder, you should be making the most of opportunities to meet new people and grow your network. The more people you know, the more likely you are to cross paths with that perfect investor. Here are some places you should check out:
When you think of networking, it probably brings to mind schmoozing over a glass of wine or two after a conference. And although it’s a cliche, there’s a reason it’s a cliche. Conferences are often targeted at specific industries, businesses, and interests, meaning it’s easy to meet relevant people. For instance, if you attend a startup launch conference, there will probably be loads of angel investors milling around. And even if not, the other founders you connect with will help you build up your network.
Like conferences, alumni events carry the advantage that you already have something in common with the people you’re meeting. Plus, it’s a great chance to rekindle old connections. The personal touch is normally better than just sending a long-lost classmate turned angel investor a LinkedIn request.
There are advantages to not being able to afford an office for your startup yet. Co-working spaces are cheaper and they’re a great place to meet new people, especially as they’re often full of startup staff. Other startups are often a fantastic way to get a warm intro with angel investors.
Founder networks and meet-up groups
Check out Meetup to find startup-related groups in your area. These are great places to meet new people, make friends and get business advice. There are also smaller groups like 9others, which organizes meals between 10 people (often founders), with the specific idea of talking through business problems.
3. Finding angel investors on social networks
Of course, just because you’ve exhausted your personal network doesn’t mean it’s time to stop looking for an angel investor. You should be using that in combination with some of these online networks. So get online:
As the go-to site for online networking, LinkedIn is a good place to start your search for an angel investor. It’s not always wise to contact an investor without an introduction, but where LinkedIn excels is in making it easy to see your existing network. You can use your shared connections to figure out where an introduction could come from.
Although not quite as business-oriented as LinkedIn, there are plenty of local, startup-focused groups on Facebook that could give you advice on investors in your area.
4. Use angel investor networks
As well as social networks, there are networks focused on connecting startups with investors. Pay these sites a visit:
Does what it says on the tin. You can use AngelList to browse lists of angel investors. You can see their previous investments too, and what the outcome of those was. For example, if the company ended up getting acquired you’ll be able to see that on AngelList.
Crunchbase calls itself the world’s most trusted business information platform. And there’s lots of really valuable information on there. Look at other startup pages to see who’s investing in startups like your own. Plus, their investor search tool has plenty of filters to help you create a shortlist of investors.
Networks like Angel Capital Association can be a way to find verified angels. There’s also the possibility that you can find a syndicate of angels this way. This is where several angels invest smaller amounts as a group and share the equity. This can be reassuring to angel investors as it lowers the risk should your business fail.
5. Angel Investor databases and lists
As well as the investor networks listed above, there are plenty of databases and lists you can find online to simplify the process.
In fact, if you’ve had enough of trawling through Google, we’ve done the legwork for you. Although you should still be using the other methods, that’ll save you the added hours spent just trying to get the right contact details.
We’ve created a mega-investment list from a number of sources. The guys at TechStars, Seedcamp, and serialentreprenuers.co have all contributed with their own lists.
We’ve compiled this to make a mega list that will be more useful than AngelList, LinkedIn, and CrunchBase (but you should use them too).