What to expect from your business angel? The startup founder’s perspective
The search for a business angel is sometimes troubling. You commit to someone who gets access inside the core of the team’s work for long term. Learning from those who already got through the process and achieved interesting evolutions is one of the best ways to guide your own steps. We initiate a discussion with startup fellows who were kind and willing to share their experience and views about the relationship with business angels.
“Look at the person behind the money!”SmartDreamers , Founder and CEO, Adrian Cernat.
During what phase of your startup development have you started to work with angel investors?
We’ve started discussing with business angels after we had our MVP up and running. Approximately six months after our first discussion, we closed our first BA investment round.
Did you choose your angel investors? What were the thinking and criteria behind it?
We had the opportunity to discuss with multiple business angels. I remember when the leading BA said, “you need to focus on the product first and later on the go to market”. These are the king of mindsets that indicate you are discussing with someone who will add great value to your business, aside from the capital infusion.
Did you choose to work with one or with more angel investors?
Our first investment round was led by a BA, with two others participating in the round.
Looking retrospectively how was your cooperation with the angel investor(s)?
In our case, it was probably the most important step we took. The BA were by our side not only in the first round but also when we were running out of money, and the business was not yet at the stage to raise VC money.
How did the angel investors contribute?
On top of the capital infusions, the investors understood were we needed more preparation to raise money from VCs. In the board meetings, we received feedback on governing the business to raise VC money. When discussing with VCs, the BA helped in the negotiations. There was a synergy between our capacity on receiving feedback, the BA expertise, and willingness to help.
In what areas was the cooperation the most useful?
Helping us to become more mature in terms of business management.
In what areas you couldn’t get specific help from your angel investors?
BA will offer support, but they won’t manage your business (and if they do, you have the wrong BA onboard). It is essential to understand where BA can help and set your expectations accordingly.
If it would be to start all over in this relationship, would you do the same? What would you change?
The current business angel will be the first to receive the pitch deck.
Would you say that the angel investors supported you in a significant way, or it was difficult to gain access to them as a resource?
They were essential. The business probably would have been in the history papers by now without the BA support.
Do you now have a preferred way to work with an angel investor?
Yes, by being transparent. Trust is the foundation of good business relations.
What advice(s) could you provide for a startup looking to find angel investors?
Don’t look at money; look at the person behind the money.
Once they identified the investors, what would your advice be for your fellow founders to engage with angel investors?
If you were a business angel, would you give yourself money? Do you see yourself raising VC money and taking the business at +1M, +10M, and so forth? If yes, you are ready to engage with any BA.
SmartDreamers is a recruitment marketing automation software used by enterprise and fast
growing companies to centralize, automate, and accelerate talent acquisition processes. The SmartDreamers platform creates a streamlined process from the first touch-point to hire, by integrating processes from the top of the talent acquisition funnel with the ATS.
Companies such as L’Oreal, Siemens, UiPath, Infosys, Genpact, and many others are digitally transforming their talent acquisition ecosystem with the SmartDreamers platform.