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).
There are three main ways individuals can invest in startups:
- 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).
- 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.
- Investing through an equity-crowdfunding platform such as Seedrs, Crowdcube and Republic.
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. Hundreds 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 wealth creation opportunity.
Angel Investing School has been described as a “movement and not just a school.” This is because people come for the course and membership 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 rich diversity of our community and their open transparency. No one is here to sell you but rather to empower you to make the best decisions for your personal and professional circumstances.
We want to you to leave the school feeling confident about angel investing and how you can utilise your expertise in new and interesting ways to support founders.
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. Investing in startups is very high risk because 60%+ 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.
Startups that succeed in providing a return usually take seven or more years before providing a return. We cover this in more depth during the live course and the membership as there are three primary ways an investor can make a return from an exit (also known as a liquidation event). At AIS one of our philosophies it to measure your angel investing in decades not days.
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 $2.5M into 25 startups in 24 months.
Below is an illustration of our impact in our first two years, training just over 400 new angels.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 five weeks and covers the core curriculum we have assembled with world-class facilitators on angel investing. Check out the course outline here.
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 five Wednesday evenings from 18.30 to 20.00 GMT (BST).
The course costs £700 + VAT (if applicable).
You are eligible for a full refund up until Week 1 of the course. Once the course starts you cannot receive a refund but you can defer your place for the following cohort if needed.
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, discounts from Stripe and many others
- Opportunities to join angel syndicates within our network (some started by our alumni)
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
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 50 countries from Singapore and Nigeria to the USA and France. This opens up new ways of thinking, and operating and opportunities to diversify your deal flow.
The course outline for the Live Course covers
- Welcome & Course Overview
- Developing Your Investment Thesis
- Sourcing & Screening Pitch Decks
- Legal Anatomy of a Deal
- Building a Brand Through Adding Value
We also have two pre-recorded masterclasses we share on Tax Relief (UK only) and Transaction Economics (Dilution, Returns Expectations and Cap Tables).
Attendees are expected to attend all eight weeks of the course 18.30-20.00 GMT (BST). 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.
Post-course, you will receive regular market insights, news and deal flow through both our Slack community platform and weekly 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 regular in-person events.
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 Live Course differs from the Membership as it requires a one-time payment for a cohort-based course delivered live across Zoom each week.
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.
The AIS Membership goes beyond angel investing, it's where we share more context on subjects such as Venture Capital, journaling and understanding startups. In the future, we plan to cover buying small businesses, investing in other asset classes and building a diversified portfolio.
- 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
There are two payment plans:
- £40 per month*
- £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.
You will gain access to:
- The private Slack community
- Regular deal-flow from startups
- Old and newly recorded content exclusive to the membership
- Direct answers from Andy Ayim MBE
Yes. You will get immediate access to all existing courses (50+ 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.
Here is a screenshot of some of the courses which each have a number of classes within them.
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.