Many syndicate leads are inundated with deal offers. But the real work can often lie in motivating your fellow investors to commit.
Do your research
One strategy is to thoroughly assess a deal before presenting it to the wider group. Syndicate members are more likely to invest with confidence if they know a lead has done their research.
Christophe Maurissen of the Wolfpack even invests his own funds first. He then proposes it to the community, allowing them up to 10 days to decide if they want to invest too.
“We like to organise a call for whoever is interested, with the CEO. It's nice for people because it gives them the opportunity to ask questions, see if they feel comfortable with it, and after that they usually give their commitment,” he explained.
Focus on your mission
Deals that align with your mission and your syndicate members’ values are more geared towards success.
Some investors are driven by their mission to change the planet for the better via climatetech, for example, or help those who do not start from a level playing field. One example is a syndicate called The Unhiders which focuses on helping people from difficult backgrounds.
Another example is Roxanne Varza’s Angels XX, a syndicate that is focused on women founders. She said her co-investors are particularly drawn to mission and impact-driven businesses.
“They don’t just want to invest in anything. They’re looking for teams where there is already a woman founder, or other women on the cap table – they don’t want to be in an overly macho environment,” she said.
She added: “In terms of the projects, I see a lot of women who ask, does this business make a genuine difference in our world? It’s not just about whether it’s a good business and has good metrics. It has to matter.”
Get involved in the company
All investment communities are unique in terms of how they are set up, and how much involvement is required from members. However, the more involved you are with a company, the more you tend to invest – not just financially – in positive outcomes.
Vanessa Proust, lead of syndicate One Green Club Deal, is a member of 10 strategic boards, which she said helps her to gain a good oversight of day to day management.
“There is a huge discrepancy in information between entrepreneurs and the management team, the board members and the investors,” she said. “To me, it's very important not to have such a big gap. When you are on the board, you are more aware of what’s going on, and the more you can help out.”
If you are not on the board, there are other ways to help out.
“Founders do have ‘asks’ in their reports [this could be introductions, referrals, feedback etc.],” said Quentin Nickmans, Hexa co-founder. “As a lead, you can forward the ask to your syndicate and see if anyone can help. That person can provide the answer either via the syndicate lead or directly to the founder.”
Focus on the people, not just the idea
Investing is not just about innovative business ideas, it’s also about people. Being inspired by the entrepreneurs behind the business idea is one way to stir up excitement.
“I'm fascinated by entrepreneurs,” added Vanessa Proust. “They are true visionaries who take risks. They spend their nights and days thinking about their companies. My place is to help them, not monitor them."