Why should you become an angel investor? Hear from the AIS community!

Why should you become an angel investor? Hear from the AIS community!

A few weeks ago we published an article on What is Angel Investing?

However, before becoming an angel investor it is not only essential to know what an angel investor is but WHY you want to angel invest.

This is why we reached out to the AIS community and asked them why they angel invest. Here is what they said!

Craig Riviere

“Angel Investing for me is the chance to be a part of the future, to shape what my world and my family’s world could look like. Every company started out small and the initial efforts, energy, investment, belief and support is what made some companies so impactful that they became a part of our everyday life. There is a beauty in helping a founder take their idea from thought to manifestation, one of the greatest things we can each offer to the world as individuals is bringing our ideas to life and not letting them die with us.

In addition, the connections we make with the founders as Angel Investors vs just typical Stock / Index Fund Investing is special, to be allowed join the founders’ journey is a blessing worth paying for, telling people you helped on their journey, owning a piece of that company and just seeing your money go to something that lives beyond the initial “dopamine” we get from buying useless items, it definitely feels priceless.

Angel Investing is about putting your money behind something you believe will be impactful to not only a founder’s world but the world that surrounds us too.”

Katharina Wodenitscharow

“Angel investing is not just another asset class for me. It is an opportunity to be challenged every day, and learn from people who are shaping the future for the better and in a way it allows me to make a small contribution to this exciting future. Whether it is about learning how to market direct to consumer brands, how to acquire new customers or selecting the correct business model for B2B SaaS products, angel investing allows you to never stop learning. 

I have a tremendous amount of respect for founders who choose the road of entrepreneurship over certainty and comfort and I consider it to be a privilege as an angel investor to join these founders on their journey. Learning about an industry and what it takes to build a business is one part of this journey but what I enjoy the most is learning about by working with founders how to develop a winning mindset, learn from mistakes and keep going even if your back is against the wall. 

Angel investing also allows you to meet like-minded individuals. Many other angel investors share a similar passion and reason why they angel invest and as a result you meet many exciting and interesting people who shape how you think. I have also had the opportunity to meet many new friends through angel investing due to our shared passion.  

Of course I think it is important to assess startups based on future returns and potential growth, however, if money was the main motivation to be an angel investor then I believe there are less riskier ways to make a good return on an investment. Angel investing is much more than about returns. I believe it is about feeding your curiosity and collaborating with interesting people who want to build something great. 

If you are somebody who is a life-long learner, loves being challenged and is looking to join an ecosystem full of interesting people then this is the industry for you and if you are looking for individuals who share this passion then the Angel Investing School is for you.”

Nithin Bopanna

“Everyone’s personal approach to learning is different, but mine was always amplified by having skin in the game.

My early career was working within the sell-side of Investment Banks around product and technology. Despite being hugely enriching in terms of gaining a broad skilllset and being around some amazingly sharp minds solving complex problems, often I felt disconnected from the nuances of ‘real-world’ businesses and their broader value and risk.

There were outliers amongst my IB colleagues who left this environment and went on to found startups. Many times, these departing friends would come from underrepresented backgrounds and would (naturally) go on to build successfully diverse teams  – a huge difference from the uniform profiles I was familiar with seeing in an IB C-suite.

I became intrigued in this ecosystem, its breadth of opportunity and the ‘worldy’ type problems that motivated people were looking to solve.

The curiosity led to me joining a startup, finding jewels from Andy and ultimately Angel Investing School, where I gained a much clearer understanding of the ground rules for this brave new world with some great team mates on my cohort to support me into my first deals.

Investing has allowed me to feel greater connection and above all, agency. In building a portfolio, I get to learn from – and around – some incredible human being on a regular basis. Being familiar with new technology, business models and approaches all help to make greater sense of the world and its complexity.

The dynamics of this past year has really sharpened the motivation for me to continue to improve and be as diligent an Angel Investor as I can be. My recent strategy has been to narrow focus to founders who are tackling some of the most significant problems the world is facing . As this often involves high tech innovation in engineering, or significant scientific discovery; yes, the risk is multiplied, but I guess the learning is exponential!”

Finally, we wanted to hear from one of the co-founders themselves at the Angel Investing School and why they angel invest?

Andy Ayim MBE

“I am in the business of changing lives, for me purpose is when I can be a full expression of myself doing meaningful work in service of value-aligned people who care.

At a young age I learned about saving clubs that my parents and other Black British families were doing called Susu or Pardner saving schemes. Susu is a rotational savings practice where a group of family members or friends contribute an equal amount of money into a pot every month to saving together. 

When I was 20, I wanted to do something similar with my family and friends. So I rounded up 7 family and friends and we saved £250 a month together for a few years. Whilst saving I was immersing ourselves in property investing communities, listening to podcasts and learning from other investors. I took all that I learned and shared it with the group. Looking back that was like AIS 1.0. 

We got to a stage where we saved up £40,000 then one by one each member of the group grew impatient and withdrew their money. I learned three vital lessons during that experience. 

  1. I lacked the leadership skills at the time to inspire everyone to trust the journey
  2. I love leveraging my network, skills and knowledge to teach others
  3. I love going on life-long journeys with incredible people where I can learn and add value

All three reasons are core to why I angel invest. Angel investing enables me to trust the journey and support entrepreneurs in unlocking their potential and scale their impact. It provides me with a platform to add value through introductions, supporting with my skills and coaching entrepreneurs from my personal experience as an investor and serial entrepreneur.

My one word of encouragement to anyone reading this is to start from where you are and realise from all these stories above that your primary motivation will be personal and meaningful to you. That’s ultimately what matters most. “

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    Angel Investor Breakdown: Ryan Reynolds

    Angel Investor Breakdown: Ryan Reynolds

    Angel investing is a way for people to make money by investing in small businesses that are just starting out. Celebrities like Ryan Reynolds are doing this too! Most celebrities choose not to be a part of the business world and keep their Hollywood career as their main source of income, but some love to get their hands in the business market and experience investing themselves. Even celebrities are embracing portfolio careers and the importance of multiple streams of income. Not all find success, but some make many smart and well-thought decisions leading to their successful businesses. One of them is Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds. You may have even seen his documentary on Amazon Prime showing his takeover of Wrexham FC in the UK.

    Reynolds has made a lot of money by investing in a budget telecoms firm called Mint Mobile. He owns 25% of the company, and when it was sold to T-Mobile for $1.35 billion, he made over $300 million! It is worth noting he is one of the highest-paid actors in the world so it is clear that money is not the only motivation to do this. Ryan Reynolds believes in making small investments and giving smaller companies a chance.



    The Deadpool actor has also sold a gin brand, Aviation Gin he co-owned for $610 million. He has also invested in startups such as 1 Password, WealthSimple and Maximum Effort. Even though he’s made a lot of money from these investments, he still acts in movies and makes a lot of money that way too. Other celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Snoop Dogg also invest in businesses that are not related to their acting careers.

    So, if you want to make money like Ryan Reynolds, you can invest in small businesses too!

    Join our Foundation or Membership to learn how you can get started too.

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      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


      What are some of the results that students have achieved from participating in your courses?

      Check out the recommendations/testimonials at the bottom of Andy Ayim’s Linkedin profile.

      We have graduates such as:

      • Vera Baker got onto the Atomico Angel programme and has invested in over 7 startups since completing the course and also became a General Partner at Unconventional Ventures
      • Irene Maffini has completed over 4 investments in climate change startups 
      • Nithin Bopana has invested in 3 deals alongside Andy Ayim, Subtly, Whering and Uome. He has also invested as a Limited Partner in a Climate Change fund
      • Jia Hong Shaw has become “the pedalling investor” after cycling across Europe, launching his own syndicate and investing in over 5 startups
      • After training over 100 members of Google’s Black Network, they launched the Black Angel Group and have invested over $1.5M into startups in 12 months.

      Below is an illustration of our impact in our first two years, training just over 300 new angels.

      What is an angel investor?

      An angel investor, sometimes referred to as a business angel, is an individual that invests in privately owned small businesses (startups). The investors can choose to leverage their experience, expertise and network to add value and support the company through growth. They receive equity in exchange for this investment in the hope of sharing in the returns if the company experiences a liquidation event such as an IPO (initial public offering) on the stock exchange or acquisition from another company (trade sale).

      You can read more about it on our blog.


      How do you angel invest?

      There are three main ways individuals can invest in startups:

      1. Direct investment into a startup raising, usually with a Convertible Note, SAFE Note, Advanced Subscription Agreement or Equity-priced round (all terms you can check out in our AIS Dictionary)
      2. Investing as part of a group of angel investors also known as an angel syndicate group. Some of these groups also utilise fund structuring platforms such as Bunch, Odin and Vauban
      3. Investing through an equity-crowdfunding platform such as Seedrs, Crowdcube and Republic


      Who is the  Angel Investing School (AIS) created for?

      AIS is designed for individuals who want to take control of their financial future, make smarter decisions with their money and create wealth whilst having an impact.

      During the last financial crash from 2008 to 2012, companies such as Whatsapp, Instagram, Uber, AirBnB and Slack were all created. Dozens of angel investors invested early in these companies and benefited from the vast wealth generated. 

      We believe that the post-covid financial downturn of 2023 presents another window of opportunity for well-equipped, educated and empowered investors.

      We are here to serve individuals who want to have an impact, support entrepreneurs and take part in this incredible value-creation opportunity.


      How is Angel Investing School different from others?

      Angel Investing School has been described as a movement and not just a course. This is because people come for the course and stay for the community. 

      We take a very personable approach to angel investing to connect with founders on a values level and ensure there is chemistry when making investment decisions. 

      The thing that surprises people most is the diversity of our community and the open transparency from our facilitators. No one is here to sell you but rather to empower you to make the best decisions for your personal and professional circumstances.


      When will I be able to start investing? Will you provide a list of startups that have the potential for great returns?

      Personal Finance is personal, if you are in the UK and meet the Sophisticated Investor or High Networth Individual status you can start investing now. If you are based in the US, check out the SEC’s definition of an accredited investor.

      Nobody can guarantee high returns from startups however experienced the investor is. I don’t want to mislead you. Investing in startups is very high risk because 90% of new businesses fail within three years. Safer, lower-risk investments are things like UK Government Bonds. Property and Public Stocks and Shares Index Funds are also considered lower risk. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.


      On average when do you see a return (timeframes)?

      Startups that succeed in providing a return usually take seven or more years before providing a return. We will cover this in more depth during the classes as there are three primary ways an investor can make a return from an exit (also known as a liquidation event).


      What return on investment can I expect when it comes to angel investing with as little as £1,000?

      Expect that nine out of ten investments will fail and it is best to start from the basis of “can I afford to lose this money.” This is why “making a return on investment” is not a good primary motivator for becoming an angel investor. There are safer asset classes for making regular returns such as investing in Index Funds.

      Making a financial return could be one of your goals, but learning about new technologies, purpose and meeting fascinating people are worthy goals to consider also.


      What type of risks are involved when getting into angel investing?

      The main risk is actually the lack of education which leads to avoidable mistakes. Mistakes such as investing more than you can afford to lose. Or not conducting thorough due diligence because you underestimate the risk of failure.

      Check out this article to learn more about the common mistakes to avoid.



      Do I need to have any previous investment experience to join the course?

      No prior experience is required to take the course. We have designed an experience to take you from amateur to well-equipped, empowered and educated to make your first investments.


      Does the course only cover angel investing or other asset classes such as venture capital?

      This course is specifically designed for teaching angel investing, so we stick to our core competence and don’t deviate from it. For breaking into venture capital, we recommend the Newton Programme, Future VC or Included VC.

      There are several differences between investing in other asset classes like property investing or investing in crypto so we do not teach this in the course.


      What is a cohort-based course and how does it work?

      A cohort-based course (also known as a CBC) is an online curriculum of learning taken by a group of students together. Our CBC lasts eight weeks and covers the core curriculum we have assembled with world-class facilitators on angel investing. Check out the course outline here.


      What times and dates does the programme run?

      The course takes place every April and September with applications open all year round for students to secure their places. Applications usually close three weeks before the course start date as we usually have a welcome session ahead of the course getting started.

      The course usually starts on the first Wednesday of the month (April and September) and then runs for the next seven Wednesday evenings from 18.00 to 19.30 GMT.


      How much does the course cost?

      The course costs £495 + VAT.


      What are the benefits of taking this course?

      Along with learning how to get started with angel investing we provide other benefits such as:

      • Co-investment opportunities
      • Ongoing access to startups who are raising
      • In-person events (London only for now)
      • Partner benefits such as one-year free membership with UK Business Angel Association or discounts from Stripe and others
      • Opportunity to join angel syndicates within our network (some started by our alumni)


      How do I apply to the course?

      You can apply for the Foundations course here.


      Who teaches the course?

      We have a range of experienced angel investors, Venture Capitalists and Operators who teach the course.

      Some of our past facilitators include:

      • Deepali Nangia, Partner at Speedinvest, Cofounder of Alma Angels and UKBAA angel of the year in 2021
      • Matt Pennycard, General Partner at Ada Ventures
      • Marcus Exall, the experienced angel who invested in unicorns such as Improbable
      • Daniel Barrett-Nembhard, a lawyer at Orrick
      • Sarah Turner, cofounder of Angel Academe, an angel syndicate


      Is the course only for UK residents?

      We are based in the UK but our audience is global! 

      90% of what we teach is globally applicable but local jurisdictions have their own regulations. We cover both the US and UK angel legal processes.

      Our alumni span over 30 countries from Singapore and Nigeria to the USA and France. This opens up new ways of thinking, operating and opportunities to diversify your deal flow.


      What key topics does the Foundations course cover?

      The course outline for the Foundation course covers

      1. Overview of Angel Investing
      2. Developing Your Investment Thesis
      3. Sourcing & Assessing Deals
      4. Legal Processes & Tax Relief
      5. Transaction Economics & Valuations
      6. Adding Value Beyond Capital
      7. How To Structure Your Deals
      8. Building A Personal Brand

      You can learn more about each topic here.


      What is the time commitment necessary to complete the course?

      Attendees are expected to attend all eight weeks of the course 18.00-19.30 GMT. Please note that places are limited and highly sought after so we try to ensure everyone who gets on the course maximises the value.

      Outside of class, each week we share pre-read, watch and listen to content and some weeks also have worksheets that we will use during class but can be completed after the class ends.


      What are the main takeaways from the course?

      1. Understanding your primary motivation is linked to your investment thesis
      2. Evaluating why investing is a team sport (value of the community)
      3. Learning from the most common mistakes such as investing more than you can afford to lose


      What support can I expect post-course?

      Post-course, you will receive regular market insights, news and dealflow through both our Slack community platform and monthly newsletter. We regularly share co-investment opportunities for several members of the community to invest together. In addition to this, you will gain early access to our monthly in-person events.


      What happens if I miss a session of the course?

      If students miss one or two sessions, we share a recording available for 48 hours for them to recap the class. Absence from class should be communicated ahead of class at least 48 hours in advance.

      The biggest loss is the opportunity to ask facilitators your most pressing questions which is why attendance is so important. 



      The membership requires an ongoing subscription payment similar to a gym membership. You receive ongoing new pre-recorded masterclasses to learn at your convenience along with regular community Q&A sessions.

      The Foundation course differs from the Membership as it requires a one-time payment for a cohort-based course delivered live across Zoom each week.


      Do I need to have any previous investment experience to join the AIS membership?

      No prior experience is required to join the AIS membership. We have designed an experience where you can access a library of content, attend our community Q&A calls and get support via Slack from the AIS team.


      Does the membership only cover angel investing or other asset classes such as venture capital?

      AIS Membership goes beyond angel investing to share more context on subjects such as Venture Capital, journaling and understanding startups. In the future we will likely expand to cover buying small businesses, investing in other asset classes and building a diversified portfolio. 


      What is included in the AIS membership?

      • Fortnightly live community Q&A calls with Andy Ayim MBE on Zoom
      • Insights on market updates and regular startup pitch decks
      • Access to ALL pre-recorded courses (present and future) and templates on-demand covering subjects such as finding great entrepreneurs, understanding Venture Capital, Fundraising and much more
      • Early access to register for our limited availability monthly events days before the general public
      • Co-investment opportunities alongside Andy Ayim MBE and other angels in the community
      • Networking benefits through personal interactions online and offline with other community members. Build real relationships with others who will help you grow.
      • Ongoing practical accountability in relation to your angel investing goals
      • Ongoing motivation and inspiration from a truly unique and talented community of people


      How much does the course cost?

      There are two payment plans:

      1. £40 per month*
      2. £33.33 per month* (£400 charged annually – equivalent to just under £33 per month over 12 months. With annual pricing, you get 2 months free and only pay for the equivalent of 10 months. This saves you £80 annually.)

      You pay a monthly or annual fee until you choose to cancel your membership. No Direct Debits are necessary to be set up too! Cancel anytime.

      *Note that prices above exclude VAT (Value Added Tax) paid to the UK government. This will be added for UK citizens only.


      What benefits can I expect from the course?

      You will gain access to: 

      • The private Slack community
      • An AIS Monthly newsletter
      • Regular dealflow from startups 
      • Old and newly recorded content exclusive to the membership
      • Direct answers from Andy Ayim MBE


      Will I get access to all courses if I become a member?

      Yes. You will get immediate access to all existing courses (more than 20 at present) and can go through the courses at your own pace. Courses and masterclasses are video-based. Sometimes you will have access to templates and platforms that you can utilise from the course.


      What types of courses are offered in the Membership?

      Here is a screenshot of some of the courses which each have a number of classes within them.

      Are the courses self-paced?

      Yes. Whether you are a busy professional or a working parent, you can take the course at your convenience. To get results, we encourage you to time-block time in your diary at least twice a month to protect yourself from distractions. This discipline produces results.

      So you have made it this far

      You are clearly interested in what we offer so why don’t you join us and take either the Foundations course or join our Membership. 🙂

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