What are Business Angels really like?

Crazy Risk Taking Business Angels?

Crazy Risk Taking Business Angels?


Business Angels come in different shapes and sizes. But are they really like? Crazy? Successful? Generous or in it for the money?

That is a question that not only entrepreneurs ask themselves, but also the Business Angels too.

Why?

Most investments that gain Angel investment will have not one single investors but a small team or committee or even a board. And one Business Angel is going to want to know who they are investing alongside. If the Business Angels don’t have mutual respect among them, then the investment is at risk.

This is why Angel investors will often form a small team and, collectively, invest in a number of projects. 

Sometimes the investor team will include a Venture Capitalist and a passionate / dedicated individual in the role of the Business Angel / board or non-exec director. Sometimes the investors might be a group of Business Angels who may have different expectations

However, the image of Business Angels as someone who gives not just his (or her) money (with conditions) and his time, network and experience (more or less for free)… is often not correct.

There are a number of different types of Business Angel – and I propose these these profiles as personal observation – so do feel free to contribute your own.

Quiet Angels – these Business Angels have never invested before – possibly they were an FD in a highly successful company and saw a big payout on sale – and so tend to be looking for that next entrepreneur that will re-create riches like last time. These are perhaps the most nervous of investors as they are not entrepreneurs themselves and are not used to being on the front line.

Sold Up Entrepreneurs– many entrepreneurs who have sold a business just love being around new ideas and are naturally restless. These are probably your ideal investor but they may get bored quickly and want a quick return. Richard Branson might be an example? Hugely charismatic but a bit of a problem if he decides he doesn’t like the direction of the business. May be looking to sell their stake before the founders would wish.

Professional Directors – some investors are professional non-exec directors and have seen a number of business sales plus been on the purchasing side too. These guys have probably seen a few founders ousted by the board. Their knowledge is invaluable and probably they would bring a calming influence. They probably have the greatest ability to play the long game – think Warren Buffett.

Trader Angels – some entrepreneurs made their money less by building a business than by buying low and selling high. They may add great energy to your sales team and have the best networks in your area but they wouldn’t hesitate to sell and do so on their terms.

Institutional Investors – these guys hail from the VC industry and will expect things to be played by the book. Probably they have the least to offer in terms of business expertise and many smart VCs have learned to team up with expertise in the form of Business Angels as this increases their success rate. You might call them the professional money men.

Some investors will, of course, be a mix of all these profiles or even, make take on different roles at different times. Feel free to contribute your profiles of Business Angels – click Comments at the top of this post.

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