I have been at the New York Angels for the last two years, and in that time we have grown to be the Most Active Angel Group. I am tremendously proud of this achievement and it is made possible with a group of actively participating members. After a conversation with a friend, Tak Lo, I realized that there were many groups out there that could learn from this experience. The following is an overview of what makes an angel group successful. I will expand these points in a series of blog posts.
To run a successful angel group, you need:
- Community – This requires quality membership that are interested in early stage investing that are willing to learn, help and work closely with potential investments.
- Quality Deal Flow – To attract it, people need to know about you, your reputation and know why your group would be valuable to their company. The attracting, building awareness and managing deals is a demanding role and leads to the next point.
- Process to manage the deal flow pipeline. I learned early on in this role that the only way to get a deal through the pipeline is maintaining engagement and momentum with the members. Creating a structure for people to move forward and not be held back by trivial matters.
- Culture – At New York Angels there is a culture of good people, professionalism, accountability, and a group of intelligent experts where the members can learn from each other. We also have a lot of fun.
Managing these four pieces creates a well oiled machine to keep members interested and attending meetings and continue their interest in learning more about the community. Like a startup, I consider the user experience for the members from every touch point of their membership. This is essential to get the desired results of an active member. The product of well structured, interesting bi-monthly meetings is kept by keeping the content fresh and of high quality as well as by having the members engaged with the content.
I always test and improve both the membership experience and the deal flow process. The goal for each of these must have high standards and clear definition. It is the means by which to reach these goals that must stay flexible to trends and recommendations and should always stay ahead of the curve. If a suggestion by a member is logical to improve the process, then it is implemented and tested quickly. I am a producer and execute, the product and user experience are my two main focuses and maintaining external community engagement is key.
Every angel group is different and need to run the organization in a form that best suits their group, but the goals for great membership experience and managing a process to arrive at a decision in a timely manner are essential.