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Angel Network calendar    Oct 11, 2023

What To Know When Writing Your First Check as an Angel Investor

For an Angel Investor the process of investing is not as simple as writing a check or clicking buy through a brokerage portal. It involves research, evaluation, and an understanding of a company’s potential outcomes.

I get a lot of questions about how to get started in angel investing. In the past, I’ve 
written about how to build a portfolio of angel investments to lower your risk, 
methods to value a startup, and how due diligence can be your best friend. 

I haven’t written about the actual process of making an angel investment, from 
beginning to end. That’s a gross oversight on my part, as this is the blocking and 
tackling of angel investing. 

The process of investing is not as simple as writing a check or clicking buy through a
brokerage portal. It involves research, evaluation, and an understanding of a 
company’s potential outcomes.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to write your first check as an angel investor.

1. Discovering Potential Investments

Angel Networks: The first step in the angel investment journey is to find potential 
startups. The simplest way to do this is by joining a group like the Render Capital 
Angel Network. We leverage our deal flow as a part of Render Capital, along with 
our connections, to provide investment opportunities to our members each month. 

Online Platforms: Websites like WeFunder connect startups with potential investors. 
These platforms provide a curated list of startups, making the discovery process 
more streamlined.

Incubators and Accelerators: These institutions support startups by providing 
mentorship, resources, and sometimes initial funding. By partnering or keeping tabs
on these entities, you can get early access to promising startups. 

2. Initial Review
Once you've identified a potential investment, it's time to conduct a preliminary 
review.

Product or Service: Understand the startup's product or service. Is it innovative? 
Does it solve a real-world problem? Is there a market demand?

Founding Team: A startup's success often hinges on its founders. Assess their 
experience, expertise, and passion. A dedicated and knowledgeable team can 
navigate challenges more effectively.

Market Size: Ensure that the startup is targeting a sizable market. A larger market 
often means a higher potential for growth and returns.

3. Due Diligence
Now that you’ve identified the investment and gone through the preliminary review,
it’s likely you have already met the founders. If you haven’t, now is the time. 

Once you’ve met the founders, you can get access to their data room. This will be 
the online vault where their financial and legal documents are stored. You’ll need to 
review these documents.

Financial Health: Review the startup's financial statements. Look for red flags like 
excessive debt or a short runway. Understand their revenue model and growth 
projections.

Competitive Landscape: Analyze the competition. Does the startup have a unique 
selling proposition (USP) that sets it apart?

Customer Feedback: If the product is already in the market, what are customers 
saying? Positive reviews and testimonials can be a good sign.

Valuation: This is crucial. Determine the startup's valuation and see if it aligns with 
industry standards and your investment goals.

Legal Review: Ensure that the startup has all necessary licenses and patents. Check
for potential legal disputes or challenges.

Technical Assessment: If it's a tech startup, a technical review is essential. Ensure 
that their technology is scalable, secure, and robust.

Reference Checks: Speak to the startup's previous investors, employees, and 
customers. Their insights can be invaluable.

4. Negotiation
Once you're convinced about the investment, it's time to negotiate...or not. At this 
point, you need to know if you’re a price setter or a price taker. Neither is wrong, We 
but it will affect your next step.

If you’re a price setter, you’re looking to write a large check and you’re willing to 
lead the round. This means you’re likely negotiating the terms with the founders. 
If you’re a price taker, you’re reviewing the terms offered by the startup and 
deciding if the deal economics make sense. 

5. Funding
After successful negotiations, the final step is to fund the startup. This can be done 
through a bank transfer, check, or even online platforms. Ensure that all legal 
documents are in place and that you receive confirmation of your equity stake.

6. Post-Investment Engagement
Your role as an angel investor doesn't end with funding. Stay engaged with the 
startup. Offer mentorship, introduce them to industry contacts, and provide 
feedback. Your experience can be invaluable to the startup's growth journey.

Angel investing in tech startups is both thrilling and challenging. While the potential
for high returns is nice, the risks are also enormous. By following a structured 
approach, conducting thorough due diligence, and staying engaged post-
investment, you can increase your chances of success

Are you ready to write your first check? Get in touch. 

Director of the Angel Network

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