Angels should actively link with potential co-investors, also from abroad. In this article, a summary of 13 points what to consider when planning an angel trip to introduce startup portfolios to international investors.
Business angels have access to a vast majority of all the visible startups in a local region. Therefore angels are great links for any next level investor and industry organisation interested in linking with the next potential growth companies. Angels should also have an active strategy supporting the formation of these introductions as those might lead to new cooperation possibilities, eventually a positive exit.
Benefits travelling as an angel group
For an angel, arranging private meetings in new markets with all the major next level co-investors and potential exit channels can be challenging, at least when done in a short period of time. Attending angel investor delegations is one way to build those relations to international startup communities. One example is NordicBAN’s angel network trips done to Berlin and Paris, that were sponsored by Rising North. The trips were attended by almost 50 business angels from the Nordic and Baltic area, linking them with each other and the local startup investors. A Nordic delegation of angels was well received by the local VCs and M&As, which were able to introduce their investment strategy. They also received a good overview of the angels attending and were able to set up up a next meeting with the most suitable cases.
Fix your own angel trip - 13 highlights below
The trips are relatively easy to create and manage. Angel networks have the great opportunity to act as a host to these angel group trips and link their angels with the local startup investors. Below some highlights to set up an angel trip and what to consider:
1. “ANGELS-TO-INVESTOR” TRIPS - The main purpose
The main purpose of the angel trips is to link investors with the local investors and build relations to support finding potential co-investors and exit channels with the local VCs, super angels and industry M&As. One of the main interest for angels attending, is for them to understand the investor mindset and expectations from the people behind. In addition, the angel group itself becomes a valuable trusted network for future cooperation.
2. ANGELS WANT TO PITCH THEIR STARTUPS - Not to be pitched at
It is easy for VCs to confuse the purpose of the angel trip and start presenting their own startup portfolio ready for new investments. This is not the case, as angels mainly invest in their home region and primarily want to introduce their own startups for the next level investors to evaluate.
3. HOW TO BOOK THE INVESTOR MEETINGS - Introductions and lists
Investor organisations can be challenging to reach, so introductions always help to get your first meetings confirmed. Also the local startup hubs are able to highlight the latest trends and activity and help with some additional links. In addition to intros, a good place to source for investors is to use existing startup city/country summaries like Berlin, Paris, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc.
4. INVESTOR MEETING STRUCTURE - Introducing angels and startup portfolio
The main purpose is to get people meet in person, which makes it easier to arrange a next meeting. With a group larger than 10, it might get tricky to do an introduction round during each visit so a classic attendee list describing the investor profiles sent in advance with their startup portfolio is a handy tool.
Example: “Startup Bingo” - The trip manager asks the host name some of the startups from the list for closer review.
5. INTRODUCING ANGELS’ STARTUP PORTFOLIO - Gather startups to be highlighted in advance
Gather in advance to your program document the main startups companies that should be discussed during the investor meetings. It is great value also for the group to know what companies are represented to be able to help and comment with additional links and recommendations. The info is good to be asked already during registration and allow update accordingly on for example on shared google docs.
6. AN “IDEAL VISIT” CONCEPT - What seems to work
A two day visit to an attractive city, before or after the weekend (many angels also bring their spouse, so Paris is never a bad idea). When structuring the program, try to have at least four investor meetings per day and if possible, end the day with a pitch where angels present their companies. A pitch or investor meetings should end with a good dinner and cocktails.
7. ADMINISTRATION - What should be prepared
Arranging a trip is relatively easy. You just need to focus on having a good communication channel, like a private whatsapp group, and inform which flights and hotels the groups is using and update the group with the program content.
8. REACTIVE PROGRAM - Share all info on gdocs and update on the go
There will always be changes so prefer to share the program document link and refer to it as the program will most likely have last minute changes. Use the private communication group (whatsapp) for this.
9. LOGISTICS - Just use a local taxi app
Big city logistics might be tricky but with all the new taxi(fy) apps it’s easy for larger group to travel “dynamically” in small groups. No hassle and you order the cars on the go. (and cars are an excellent place to mingle with other investors). If you travel to places with lower access to transportation, or that the traffic drives everybody crazy, you can arrange bigger meeting venues, where you meet with multiple VCs or other ecosystem players. Local embassies are usually very interested in working with you on this!
10. INTERNAL COMMUNICATION - Update on the go and build a community
A good idea is to open a chat that the participants can join or are added to already after registration confirmation. This group might also become a valuable community for the future. Use Whatsapp or Slack.
11. ANGEL DINNER - New investor friends for life
One of the visit highlights is the group dinner where closer relations and exchange of best practices will be made. It also helps if you find a sponsor for the dinner and you can also invite some of the local investors to join.
12. THE GROUP ITSELF - Yes, it’s the people who you spend time with
Mingling with each other is already one of the main purposes for the trip so try to make the group as diverse as possible (cross-border attendees!). You can also have preferences about the experience and type of the profile for example attendees should have at least five startups investments.
13. HOW TO ATTRACT ANGELS TO JOIN - Highlight your lead angels attending and key VCs visited
And finally, it is not easy to attract angels to join as you are competing against angels’ private time and they pay it for themselves. Therefore start with attracting some key angels and use them in your communication. Get some preliminary VCs to confirm and build on the program on the way together with recommendations from the group. Who you get to travel with is as alluring as the VCs being visited.
We hope these tips will inspire more group delegations to be done in all investor levels.
Contact the authors