Investing real money into startups is as risky as it is respectable.
At TECHdotMN, we hold entrepreneurs and the investors that back them with their own money in the highest regard.
Talking on the record about one’s early experiences in angel investing can be challenging. Thank you Amber Christian for sharing:
What does angel investing mean to you?
Help! I believe angel investing is providing help, both financially and otherwise for the companies in which you invest.
When did you start and why?
I started angel investing a little over 3 years ago. I felt it was a great way to invest in the startup community as well as offered portfolio diversification for investing. It allows me to pursue other interests in addition to running my own company Ace, LLC during the day.
What type of investment appeals to you?
For me, it is a combination of what I perceive as innovative as well as a company that I feel can execute successfully.
I invest in a variety of opportunities. For technology companies, I am invested in RiteSoft which makes small business solutions to optimize warehouse and manufacturing operations; DonorPath that serves the non-profit community with their SaaS product and services.
My most recent deal was not in tech, as part of a round with Able Seedhouse and Brewery. Growing up on a farm myself, participating in this investment has given me a fantastic way to be part of something that will produce a great product as well as supports the farming community.
How many investments have you made to date and how?
I have made 9 investments to date, including initial and follow on investments. I typically participate as part of a round. I have invested in deals both locally and out of state.
What have you learned?
How much space do I have?
When I first started exploring angel investing, it was difficult to figure out where to start. When you are on the outside of the community, it can be difficult to find your way in. I think many entrepreneurs would agree that even finding angel investors can be tricky, much less pinning them down. My background and experience was primarily working with large corporations, which is quite different than start-ups. I’ve had to research and learn about the networks that do exist within the community.
I’ve learned the importance of perspective from a variety of investors at different experience levels. Building a network takes a lot of time and patience, and needs to be a continual process. It’s helpful to have a network of people since trends in term sheets change.
I’ve also learned to be prepared for follow on rounds, in spite of what I might be told during the initial raise. Things happen- sometimes new opportunities present themselves that need to be capitalized upon or pivots are necessary due to market changes.
What advice would you have for other accredited investors?
As you start angel investing, don’t underestimate the time it takes to learn the process and build your network.
Is the anything you would like add?
I’d like to say thank you to all the other investors in the industry that have provided perspective and advice along the way as I’ve been learning. It’s been incredibly helpful and is greatly appreciated.