What Is an Angel Investor?

Julien Fissette
Published on
June 5, 2024
Last edited on
min read
min read

What Is an Angel Investor?

Julien Fissette
Published on
June 5, 2024
Last edited on
min read
min read
group of people over a meeting

Angel investors are wealthy private investors who provide capital to startups or entrepreneurs, typically in return for equity ownership. 

But who are these individuals, what role do they play in the startup ecosystem, and what benefits and challenges do they encounter?

Defining Angel Investors

Let’s take a closer look at angel investors and what they do.

Who Are Angel Investors?

An angel investor is someone who uses their own funds to invest in a small business, typically acquiring a minority stake ranging from 10% to 50% [1].

These investors are often experienced entrepreneurs or business professionals. Beyond financial support, they offer mentoring, industry contacts, and business expertise. 

History and Evolution of Angel Investing

The term “Angel Investor” was coined in 1978 by New Hampshire professor William Wetzel [2], but the concept dates back to the early days of American capitalism, when wealthy individuals invested in high-risk ventures like shipping and real estate in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Today, there are over 300,000 active angel investors in the US alone [3], contributing billions of dollars to new ventures annually.

The Role of Angel Investors in Startups

How exactly do angel investors contribute to startups? 

How Angel Investors Impact Startups

Angel investors usually invest smaller amounts than venture capitalists – often between $5,000 and $100,000 [4] – focusing on early-stage businesses with high potential.

They get involved earlier, taking a hands-on approach and working closely with entrepreneurs to drive the businesses forward. In other words, they provide more than just a cash injection.

Choosing the Right Angel Investor

The close relationship between angel investors and entrepreneurs at the seed stage means it’s crucial to find the right match.

When meeting potential investors, entrepreneurs share their ideas and business plan, as they pitch for funding. They will often look for investors with relevant expertise, a proven track record, and genuine enthusiasm for the business.

Becoming an Angel Investor

Interested in becoming an angel investor yourself? Here’s what you need to know. 

Criteria to Become an Angel Investor

To become an angel investor, it’s advisable to have at least $25,000 available [5] for investing. Investing in a syndicate can allow you to invest with a smaller ticket size. 

But it takes more than deep pockets to be a successful angel investor. You also need a diversified investment portfolio, strong self-branding, a can-do attitude, and strong people skills. 

The Process of Angel Investing

The process of angel investing involves several steps: pitching sessions, due diligence, agreeing on the term sheet, raising funds, finalising legal documents, and eventually closing the deal.

This equity stake can then be cashed out later when the company’s valuation increases, earning a profit for the investors.

Advantages and Challenges

Becoming an angel investor comes with its own set of benefits and challenges.

Benefits of Being an Angel Investor

  • Choose how to collaborate with entrepreneurs in ways that match your experience, interests, and time availability.
  • Spend time with early-stage companies and keep up to date with the latest tech developments.
  • Make money while flexing your business skills, meeting impressive entrepreneurs, and helping others grow.
  • Potential for substantial returns, as early-stage investments often yield higher rewards compared to those made in later rounds.

Challenges Faced by Angel Investors

  • Sifting through many startups to find promising investment opportunities takes time, effort, and know-how.
  • Working with early-stage companies often means dealing with inexperienced founders and CEOs, necessitating thorough due diligence.
  • Requires an investment of time, not just money; companies expect your guidance and expertise.
  • As with any investment, not all will succeed, so only invest what you can afford to lose.

Resources and Further Reading

Ready to get your wings? 

Angel Investing: Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Angel investors provide much-needed funding and mentorship to startups, driving innovation and growth. To learn more about becoming an angel investor yourself, check out the above resources or contact us at Roundtable directly to book a demo.  


[1] https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/business-guidance/guidance-articles/finance/angel-investment & https://www.titan.com/articles/do-angel-investors-get-equity 

[2] https://startupprogram.com/what-is-an-angel-investor/ 

[3] https://www.angelcapitalassociation.org/faqs/ 

[4] https://www.myob.com/au/resources/guides/funding-and-finance/angel-investors 

[5] https://www.angelschool.vc/blog/how-much-money-do-you-need-to-be-an-angel-investor