It was a pleasure to moderate the Angel Investing in Action panel. The panelists were an excellent mix with Carol Curley, an experienced angel investor with diverse investment strategy; Anil Dash, an entrepreneur and active startup advisor; and Albert Wenger Partner at USV and angel investor.
The goal was to educate the audience, the new angel investor class of Pipeline Fellows and for them to have concrete actions to take from the experiences of this panel.
The top five takeaways from the panelists for Angel Investing in Action are broken out as deal flow, collaboration, discipline, relationship with the entrepreneur and engage with the community.
To invest, you need to access deal flow. See lots of deals, access to curated deals helps, and be proactive with your deal sourcing. As you get started, try to invest in what you know. If you are looking at a market that you do not know anything about, then see dozens of companies in this space to learn about it. When you do not know enough about an industry, this is where a trusted network for collaboration is helpful. Build a network of experts that you trust. Contact them when looking at a new company and may want to co-invest with. Learn from them and offer your expertise as a resource.
With the inbound of deals and new found experts, you need to maintain a level of discipline to pace yourself with investments and make your own decision. Do not be pressured by social obligations or the fear of missing out on a company you are not certain of. Make your own decision. Stay disciplined when evaluating deals and managing your live investments. Investing through an LLC that you set up is a great way to keep tabs on your companies and you can gauge the status of your portfolio.
Your relationship with entrepreneurs is important as you evaluate companies and build a reputation in the community. Be conscious of the time you spend with them when making your decision and the value you can provide post investment. Most angels may not get board seats and your relationship with the entrepreneur will matter when you want to check on an investment. A good tip is to be a customer of the product of your investment. Entrepreneurs should keep investors up to date with a blanket email.
Lastly, to access deal flow, increase experts in your network, and build reputation you need to engage with the community, on and offline. New York is a fueling startup community and you must engage with the community to get better opportunities and build your experience as an investor. Online you can comment on new technologies and events in the startup world.
Pipeline Fellows is an angel investing bootcamp for women, works to increase diversity in the U.S. angel investing community and creates capital for women social entrepreneurs. Natalia Oberti Noguera is the founder and CEO of the Pipeline Fellowship.