What to expect from your business angel – Aggranda

“Try to keep a fresh relationship”

Cristian Ignat, CEO and Founder, Aggranda

During what phase of your startup development have you started to work with angel investors?

Aggranda targets international clients. Because of that, our marketing budgets were high from start and I initiated discussions with angel investors from day 1.

Did you choose your angel investors? What were the thinking and criteria behind?

Initially I didn’t choose the angel investors. We had an interesting experience raising money at Aggranda. We had an initial agreement from more angel investors + an investment fund just before Covid came. That put on hold the investment and also forced us to reinvent ourselves. We made it through the initial Covid period of time, and when I reinitiated discussions with angel investors, I carefully selected people that can bring something more than money: connections, advice, work in the company, reputation etc.

Did you choose to work with one or with more angel investors?

From my point of view, it doesn’t make sense to work only with one angel investor. If this is the case, I think it’s better to get a partner who comes with money + involves in the company – which is more than an angel. So, I chose more angel investors.

Looking retrospectively how was your cooperation with the angel investor(s)?

Very good, all the time. Angel investors are very communicative and cooperative.

How did the angel investors contribute?

Money + connections & recommendations, advice, work in the company, personal brand.

In what areas was the cooperation the most useful?

Initially the money were very important. This gave us more trust in ourselves and more courage to invest more what we are doing. After that, advice and periodic meetings with them.

In what areas you couldn’t get specific help from your angel investors?

We are in the b2b market. So, for us, recommendations are very important. This is an area where we would need more help. But it’s not that we don’t get the help from the angels, it’s just our activity is very “delicate” and different than others because we target very large enterprises.

If it would be to start all over in this relationship, would you do the same? What would you change?

Try to get money much faster and try to get angel investors from abroad also.

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?

Every angel investor supported us in a significant way. It’s good to know that you have someone who you can call and ask for an advice, ask a question or a direction when you desperately need that.

What advice(s) you could provide for a startup looking to find angel investors?

Tech Angels is a great start. I have participated at some events organized about Tech Angels that grew our awareness inside the group which created demand from some angel investors.

Once they identified the investors, what would your advice be for your fellow founders to engage with angel investors?

Try to keep a fresh relationship with them and don’t forget about them. It’s not only the money that helps, it’s the human relationships that you build with them and with the future investors.

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Season 1, 2021

Pitch season is always on at TechAngels, we meet over 70 startups per year and we are screening other 200. Every team we meet is unique but there are also some common traits, especially in business organization and management. We asked our angel investors, who have unique experiences and act as individuals when taking investment decisions, to share one piece of advice they see as being constantly needed, as response to the recurrent problems founders may encounter or as a reflection of their own struggles as entrepreneurs, mentors, business professionals. Thus resulted The Good Advice Booklet which in the end looks like a crash course in management.

As Malin Stefanescu, TechAngels President put it: “Learning from your mistakes is great, learning from other’s mistakes is definitely cheaper.”