50 Quick Tips on Raising Angel Funding – Part 1

  1. Remember to tailor your business plan. The plan you pitch to an angel should be different from the one you use to pitch to a bank.
  2. Figure out the least you need to get to the next stage and raise that amount. Then you’ll have to give away less equity.
  3. Always ask for feedback after pitching your company. You can learn from each investor that says no, and improve for the next time.
  4. Try to invest some of your own money in the business. Angel investors like to see financial commitment from the management team.
  5. Have business plans and pitches of various lengths (e.g. 50 words, 200 words, 500 words, 1,000 words, 2,000 words and the full plan).
  6. Make sure you can explain exactly what your business does in under 30 seconds.
  7. Remember that investors will want high returns, due to the high risk nature of angel investing.  Of every 12 companies they invest in 1 might be huge, 2 might be good, 3-4 will be marginal, and the rest will fail.
  8. Never tell an angel “the product will sell itself”. It won’t! An investor wants to see a clear USP & well thought-out sales strategy.
  9. Be enthusiastic – Investors expect energy and dedication from entrepreneurs.
  10. Angels like to invest in deals with other Angels who have done this before and learn from them to get started
  11. Make the most of social media – it’s free and a great way to get yourself known in your sector.
  12. When pitching for funding, don’t get bogged down in technical details, or you’ll lose the investor’s interest.
  13. The management team is one of the most important factors for angels.  Consider what skills you and your existing team have and what needs to be brought in.
  14. Angels look to invest in strong markets.  You can fix a lot of things about a business, but you can’t fix a bad market.
  15. Keep your pitch short and sweet, so the investors stay interested and are keen to find out more.
  16. When you read your business plan, put yourself in the investors’ shoes. Ask yourself: ‘Would I invest in this business?’
  17. Make sure your business plan isn’t too technical and that anyone can understand it.
  18. Don’t be afraid to ask the investors questions about their background.  They should be keen to impress you and willing to answer any questions you might have.
  19. To reassure investors, get someone in your team who has successful experience with start-ups and exits.
  20. If possible, approach investors with a working prototype. Investors like to see, touch and test what they’re investing in.
  21. Use facts and stats rather than personal opinions.  “I think this market will grow” isn’t as powerful as “This market has grown 30% annually for the last 3 years”.
  22. Positive feedback, customer lists, presales and letters of intent are very useful when trying to convince investors.
  23. Join an association in the field in which your business operates. This will give you great networking opportunities.
  24. Decide exactly what you want from your angel: money, contacts, industry experience, entrepreneurial experience, etc.
  25. Investors will expect you to have a very good understanding of your competitors.

Angel Investment Network’s Weekly Twitter Roundup

Angel Investment News 

  • Google has thrown its considerable weight against a new project aimed to give a helping hand to aspiring UK businesses: http://bit.ly/hrNI6G
  • There’s a new iPhone app, Angel Trivia Daily, which tests your angel investing knowledge with a new question every day: http://bit.ly/h6qIZs
  • The UK Government has detailed plans to help small businesses start up and grow in the UK: http://bit.ly/i5DHcR
  • New 2 million Euro technology investment syndicate established by angel investors in Ireland: http://bit.ly/eWuPbh
  • Connecticut tax credit tweak finds angel wings: http://bit.ly/ic3KU8
  • Availability of seed funding for Irish companies at highest level in 30 years: http://bit.ly/ejQdzr

Business Plans & Pitching

Fund Raising

  • Raising capital from business angels and private investors isn’t as easy as some people think. Here are some tips: http://bit.ly/gWCMU4
  • An introduction to Angel Investors and how to find them: http://bit.ly/hmOOyp
  • There are plenty of options for getting money to start your business. The trick is finding the solution that suits you: http://bit.ly/igw0g
  • Ever heard of Apple, Amazon.com, Facebook, Google & Twitter? They all got early funding from angel investors. http://bit.ly/e6DhnH
  • How to Find the Right Investor for Your Business: http://bit.ly/eNk6vz
  • Obtaining Funding from Business Angels and Private Investors: http://bit.ly/hv9Eez
  • The 6 Biggest Mistakes in Raising Startup Capital. Avoid these traps to increase your chances of securing funding: http://bit.ly/fBfBiK

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Start-Up & Entrepreneurship


Raising capital from business angels and private investors isn’t as easy as some people think

There’s no question about it: Raising funding for a start-up from angel investors or venture capitalists is hard.  Some entrepreneurs seem to think that investors should be falling over each other to fund their project, but the unfortunate truth is that only a small percentage of entrepreneurs are successful in raising capital for their start-up. 

Unlike venture capitalists who invest other people’s money, angels invest their OWN money.  It’s important to put yourself in the investors’ shoes – how easily would you be persuaded to give £100,000 of your own hard-earned money to a complete stranger?  Angel investors may be willing to take on more risk than most, but it’s still a tough job to get them to write you a cheque.  Here are a few things to remember when approaching angels.

Business angels are in it to make money

You must be willing to give up some ownership or control of your business, and be able to show a significant return within 3-7 years, as well as a profitable exit strategy.  Angels invest for the same reason other people do: to make money. Investing in early stage companies is high risk, so investors expect to see high returns.

Don’t stop moving your business forward

Try to develop your business as much as you possibly can: build a prototype, interview potential clients to gauge their interest, prove the concept, get some letters of intent or pre-orders and possibly even start generating some revenue. The more traction your business has, the more attractive it will be to investors.

Build a team with experience in the right areas

Angels invest primarily in people, so you need to build an experienced management team that has industry expertise and a track record of growing and exiting businesses.  If your team lacks certain skills, try to plug these gaps before approaching investors.  If you can’t afford to hire staff, you may want to consider giving away sweat equity to make sure you have the right team in place to first make your company investable and then drive the business forward.

Be realistic about valuations

Although you may think your business has the potential to earn you and your investors millions, that’s all it has: potential.  Turning a good business idea into a profitable business is harder than most people think, and there are so many potential pitfalls – a new competitor, misspending your startup budget, hiring the wrong staff, the list goes on… Work with your accountant to build realistic numbers and a realistic valuation with clear assumptions that can be defended.

Take investors’ criticism on board

Entrepreneurs looking to raise capital for their start-up will be rejected by most of the investors they approach. Listen when potential funders reject your ideas – their criticism is the best feedback you’ll get about how to make your business more appealing to investors and increase your chances of getting funded.


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The Top 8 types of angel investors

Another type of angel

Our experience tells us that different entrepreneurs look for different types of investors.  Angel investors can provide the necessary funding for a start-up business. However, this process is not easy, and when entrepreneurs are finally able to raise the desired capital for their venture, they soon find out they are not compatible with their angel investor or the investors have unrealistic expectations of them. To avoid this discrepancy, business owners are strongly encouraged to learn about the different types of angel investors before they go about recruiting one.  Being aware of all the different angel investor types will help the entrepreneur sort through the undesirable ones and choose the correct angel investor for them. Choosing a well-matched angel investor can make the difference between establishing a strong foundation for a company or a failing venture.

After years of meeting and dealing with investor we have found that investors usually fall in to one of these categories.

1. Typical Angels: Individuals with extensive business experience who have operated and owned successful businesses of their own. Their wealth was accumulated over their career.  They are more hands on and can add a lot of value to the company in their input.  They continue to be involved with high risk investments despite their losses. Angel investors like them possess a diversified portfolio that encompasses all industries, including public and private equity and actual estate. They serve as valuable mentors and advisors to their invested firms.

2. Trend Angels: Less experience than typical angels, but invest significantly in the latest trends of modern technology.  Their investments primarily depend on the value of their other high-tech holdings, which can vary considerably.  Many trend angel investors enjoy the risk of their deals as well as the exhilaration of bringing a novel technology to the market place.  Some may even prefer not to be actively involved in their invested firms simply because they dislike dealing with the daily challenges of operating a business.

3. Numbers Angels: Primarily concerned with the financial reward of high-risk investments.  Their motivation behind investing is their perception of what other angel investor gross income may be. Numbers angels tend to stay away from investing when market performance is poor and emerge once the market shows stability and improvement.  They view each of their investments as another company added to their diversified portfolio and rarely become actively involved in the invested firms.

4. Corporate Angels: Former business executives from large corporations who have been downsized, have taken early retirement, or have been replaced.  Even though profitability of their investment is their overall goal, they also seek personal opportunity when investing, claiming that they are looking for an investment opportunity when, in reality, they are really looking for a job. For instance, many corporate angel investors are known to invest in one company and seek a paid position, which is often part of the business deal.

5. Entrepreneurial Angels: Successful angel investors who own and operate their own businesses.  Their steady flow of income allows them to make more higher-risk investments and provide a larger amount of capital for start-ups.  They enjoy the personal fulfillment of assisting entrepreneurs launch a successful start-up and rarely take an active role in managing a company.

6. Enthusiast Angels: These angel investors are older (age 65 and up) businessmen who are independently wealthy before their investments.  They often invest small amounts of capital in many different enterprises and view investing as a mere hobby.  They also do not take an active role in management.

7. Analysis Angels: Considered to be serious angel investors. Even though many are born wealthy, the majority of these angels have acquired their success and wealth through their own independent and strategic efforts.  They often demand a board position and are known to impose the same strategies they have used with their own companies towards their invested companies.  Rarely do these angel investors seek an active management role, but tend to emerge and be more actively involved when their invested firms do not do well.

8. Professional Angels: These angel investors are professionally employed as doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. who invest in companies in their related field. They may also provide services to their invested firm (legal, accounting or financial) at a discounted rate.  Professional angel investors are of tremendous value for initial needed capital and rarely make follow-on investments.


Innovation Is the Top Trait Business Angels Look for When Making an Investment

A great startup begins with innovation. Take Google or Facebook or even the iPhone — these brands began with an idea that would make our lives easier, and eventually, became tools many of us can’t live without.

This is why innovation is the key ingredient that business angels look for when they consider investing in a startup company. An innovator is someone who not only has a clear vision, one he can simply explain in less than two sentences, but also someone who is open and curious to the possibilities that can further his brand or company.

“True innovators don’t just dream up snazzy technology for technology’s sake,” says Mike Lebus, co-founder of Angel Investment Network. “They are looking to solve a real human problem, alleviate some headache in our daily existence. It needs to be something that would affect, for the better, a targeted, good-sized audience.”

Lebus says that when angel investors meet with entrepreneurs, angels can usually spot an innovator right away. Innovators are the ones who come with sufficient knowledge on their product or technology and are open to the problem-solving processes that will get their product to the ideal place it needs to be.

“An idea isn’t just sold out of the gate and then not improved on,” says Lebus. “An innovator is someone who is willing to take a step back and constantly reevaluate how he can make his product or service better.”

Lebus says that entrepreneurs need to be willing to adjust and, in some cases, even take the advice of knowledgeable angel investors. “Many times angel investors are innovators themselves, looking to match ideas with someone who has the follow-through to execute an innovative idea.”

Angel investors want motivated individuals with an innate drive, he says. “Whether that drive is to make money or change the world, entrepreneurs need to show angel investors they’re hard workers, dedicated to creating more than a one-shot idea or fad.”


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Weekly Twitter Roundup covering the following topics: Angel Investment News; Business Plans & Pitching; Fund Raising; Marketing & Social Media; and Start-Up & Entrepreneurship

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