How to send your pitch deck to an angel group and get the funding you need for your startup?
Angel groups can be a powerful source of funding for startup ventures. So, how do you get your pitch deck in front of them and run an effective fundraising process?
Keep reading to check out the who, why, and how of raising capital from angel groups.
What Are Angel Groups?
As the name suggests, ‘angel groups’ are simply groups of angel investors who invest together.
These angel groups typically meet together regularly. They listen to entrepreneur’s pitches, evaluate them, and fund them together.
Angel investors are typically individuals with the personal capital to invest in startup ventures. Though there may be other more professional investors involved as well, including family offices.
Angels have been increasingly banding together in these groups.
Groups may range from a handful of members to close to 300 investors. They can invest several million or a couple of hundred million dollars per year in startup ventures.
Crunchbase has 172 tagged ‘Angel Groups’ listed in its database and rankings. For ‘Angel Investment Companies’ they have 928 listings, which have recently funded $1.8B across 196 funding rounds.
According to Entrepreneur, 10 of the most active angel groups are:
- Ohio TechAngel Funds
- Tech Coast Angels
- Investors’ Circle
- Golden Seeds LLC
- North Coast Angel Fund
- Band Of Angels
- Hyde Park Angel Network
- Alliance Of Angels
- Pasadena Angels
- New York Angels Inc
Why Angels Invest Through Angel Groups
Groups are an efficient way to find deal flow. Not only more deals, but potentially better quality deals as well. Just as with any other sector, larger amounts of combined capital can get them into potentially more profitable deals too. This is why you should understand how to send your pitch deck to an angel group.
The collective intelligence and experience of the group can help with making better investment decisions, with more information and expertise. Others may have more in-depth experience in a specific field, and more time leverage can enable more due diligence before investing.
As Peter Theil pointed out in his book Zero To One, more capital injected into few startups can be far more impactful. It is a force capable of driving the success of a venture, increasing the odds of a positive outcome and superior returns.
Being able to bring more value to the table with more capital and experience and connections, angel groups can likely command and warrant better investment returns than individual investors on their own.
Together angels can spread their risks, and gain more confidence in doing so. Instead of having to put all of their investable capital into one deal, they can spread that across multiple ventures.
While sharing risk with other like-minded investors who are also willing to commit their own capital. This can empower them to be bolder in their investments and fund opportunities they may not be willing to on their own.
Why Pitch Angel Groups For Funding?
Why do founders pitch angel groups for funding their startups? Researching the process can help when you’re working out how to send your pitch deck to an angel group.
There are a lot of efficiencies that come from pitching angel groups versus solo angel investors.
The most obvious is being able to get in front of dozens or hundreds of angel investors at one time. That can dramatically reduce the time involved in outreach and nurturing investor relationships, as well as pitching itself.
Larger Amounts Of Capital
Angel groups can also allow startups to raise more money at once, and more than individual angels could or would be willing to risk in one investment.
While there are always trade-offs, angel groups can bring a lot more potential value. They have pools of experience, connections, and other resources that can be tapped. For this reason, you must make the effort to learn how to send your pitch deck to an angel group.
Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
The Role Of Angel Groups In Startup Fundraising
The first stop on the fundraising journey for entrepreneurs is typically the Friends and Family Round.
The next round of funding normally comes from individual angel investors. These are smaller amounts of seed capital to really get the venture off the ground and prove the thesis.
Then there is venture capital. This is larger amounts of money from professional investment firms. Money pooled from sophisticated investors, family offices, and institutional capital. VCs have expanded their role in the market and may fund earlier and later-stage rounds than they used to. This is typically growth money.
Angel groups can most often come into play for seed rounds, though could participate in bridge rounds to fill funding gaps before bigger institutional money is warranted.
Curating Your Pitch Deck For Angel Groups
Before you send your pitch deck you want to ensure you have designed it specifically for the type of investors you are reaching out to.
Angel groups can be looking for slightly different things than friends and family and VC firms. Their expectations can be different. For more successful outcomes, learn the correct strategies of how to send your pitch deck to an angel group.
There are also a wide variety of angel groups, varying by size, focus, and location. The more targeted your pitch deck the higher your pitch to investor conversion rate will be, and the more efficient and profitable your fundraising process will be.
Specifically, look at:
- Check sizes
- Type of ventures they are actively funding
- Industries they are excited about
- Their investment timeline
Keep the overall market in mind too. Depending on the phase of the overall financial market and startup and investment ecosystem, your startup may be wise to raise more money to extend the runway before more funds are needed.
Also, keep in focus why these investors are choosing to invest this way. They could be doing this solo as individual angel investors, by setting up their own venture funds or startup accelerators, or by simply abdicating decisions altogether and investing through brokerage accounts and funds of funds.
There are three stand-out reasons why they choose to invest this way and which you may want to remember when curating your deck and pitching to them.
Impact is one. They want more control and direct impact with their capital than they would have through other mediums. They often want to invest more in line with their personal values.
Secondly, they want better returns than if they invested through the general stock market. They want to be closer to the source.
Every one of these members also wants to feel smart about the investments they are making. They want to feel good at night that they made smarter investments. They want to be able to trump their friends at dinner with the smart investments they made.
How can you edit your pitch deck to convey how your venture checks these boxes? What are the optimum strategies to learn how to send your pitch deck to an angel group?
How To Send Your Pitch Deck To An Angel Group
The first step here is to identify your shortlist of target investor groups. Then find out how to connect with them.
Places to begin finding angel groups aside from Google and Siri may include:
- Angel Capital Association
- Fundraising consultants
- Startup accelerators
Some angel group websites may offer the ability to submit an application online. This can seem quick and easy, though doesn’t really help separate you from all of the other thousands of startups applying to them.
It is far better if you can find a direct connection through a gatekeeper and influencer in the group who can get your pitch deck viewed, considered and give members a chance to make their own decision.
Finding these individuals directly and building connections with them can be much more fruitful. It will give you an edge and ambassador to the group. As you know from any other type of business, being referred by someone they trust is always superior to trying to sell yourself.
Sharing Your Pitch Deck
Sharing your pitch deck with angel groups may happen in several stages.
You may begin by leading in with your shortest teaser deck to get their attention. If they are interested you may earn the opportunity to present your full pitch deck to the group live in person or online in a video presentation format.
Then you may have an even more detailed version of your pitch deck for those interested in funding you and taking the next steps.
When starting out, don’t just send your pitch deck as an email attachment. That can present a variety of challenges and potential problems with getting through. It also doesn’t give you much insight into their interaction or engagement with your deck.
Sending a link to your pitch deck hosted online is far better. Firstly, this allows you to track views and other metrics. It also allows you control over who can view your deck at any time. This way you can also update your pitch deck at any time, in real-time.
Keeping your pitch deck in an online data room also enables you to balance keeping your pitch deck short, sweet and clear, while providing the depth of information investors need to make a speedy decision, and which you are probably inclined to want to give.
This can include hosting a copy of your executive summary, one-page business plan, action plan, and latest investor update. Learn these essentials when figuring out how to send your pitch deck to an angel group.
Don’t just stop with blasting out a handful of emails with links to your pitch deck and sitting back expecting miracles to happen.
If you absolutely need this funding for your startup to come alive or survive, then it is your job as the founder to be working on funding at least eight hours a day until you get it.
That may mean working with your team to promote your campaign, in person or online networking, working with your advisors, fielding inbound calls from investors, and so on.
You also want to be following up to ensure your outreach messages got through. Then tracking the performance of your deck and optimizing for where you are losing investors.
Getting funded and putting that money is just when the real work starts. You may have done a lot of pitching, and survived the due diligence process and paperwork. Now you have to get busy actually delivering on your big promises.
You need to be showing constant progress, consistent growth and that you are knocking down those big milestones.
This is what is going to keep those investors poised to put in more capital and participate in future rounds if it is a good fit for you. Or at least to introduce you to the next level of investors who can help take your venture to the next stage after that.
While you are grinding it out, you not only need to be getting things down but keeping these investors feeling good about their investment and engaged too. How they feel about it during the process is going to make all the difference.
Champion this with great investor updates on a regular schedule. If there is anything they can help with, don’t be shy to ask. They want to help make a contribution and make this business a success. They can’t help if you don’t let them know what you need and can benefit from.
Savvy and experienced entrepreneurs also know that even before the last round is closed, it is time to begin the process of campaigning for a new round of funding.
That means identifying the next round of target investors, making those connections, and building those relationships. As well as updating your pitch deck for the next cohort of investors. Keep these factors in mind when figuring out how to send your pitch deck to an angel group.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.
Below is a video where we cover in detail how to send your pitch deck to an angel group.
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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THIS VIDEO:
Hi, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how to send your pitch deck to an angel group. Before we get started, make sure that you hit that Subscribe button, and this way, you will never miss out on any of the videos that we roll out every week.
Angel groups are a great, great potential profile or target when you are thinking about raising money. Those are groups that have tons of investors that could really make an impact to your financing round. In today’s video, we’re going to be breaking it down, step-by-step, giving you all the insights so that you can understand what it takes to send your pitch deck to these angel groups and how you can cause an impression on them so that you get invited for a potential meeting or even that they explore an investment in your business. With that being said, let’s get into it.
What are angel groups? Angel groups are ultimately a group of angel investors, which are people that have over $200,000 in income or $1 million in assets, essentially qualified accredited investors that come together and that share deal flow, go to meetings together, invest together in companies. There are tons of angel groups, such as The New York Angels, the Houston Angel Network. There are many angel groups out there.
The truth of the matter is that with all those platforms like Crunchbase or AngelList, now, anyone can gain access to any type of deal. So, obviously, the popularity has not increased that much of those groups, but ultimately, those groups came together because those were senior executives that wanted access to deal flow and to early-stage investments. As a result, that was the best channel for them to gain access to these types of opportunities.
Now, the term, angel investor, comes from very early on when investors were financing Broadway shows, and that’s why they were calling them angel investors because they were putting the money in and not expecting any returns back. They were just financing because they liked it because they were excited with the opportunity and so forth. That was actually where that angel investor and where the term, angel group, comes from. Essentially, an angel group is a group of high senior executives, even perhaps some former entrepreneurs, that are coming together to invest in companies.
Angel groups could invest either directly – they see a deal; they like it; they invest. The investors that are part of the group, all directly, with their own names, and that’s the way that they would be showing on your cap table, which is where you keep the record of who has invested what in your business and what kind of equity ownership they own.
They can also invest via a special-purpose vehicle, which is an LLC, or they can invest via a venture fund. Now, you see a lot of these angel groups that are getting more sophisticated, creating their own investment vehicles, which are funds, and using those to invest as a group into your business.
As mentioned, there are many of those angel groups out there. You want to see what they have invested on, what kind of companies, what kind of stage, and if it’s a segment that is perhaps similar to yours. But, in essence, here are the top angel groups:
- Ohio Tech Angel Funds
- Tech Coast Angels
- Investor Circle
- Golden Seats
- North Coast Angel Fund
- Band of Angels
- Hyde Park Angel Network
- Alliance of Angels
- Pasadena Angels
- New York Angels
- Houston Angel Network
The way the angel groups actually work is going to be the following way. First, you’re going to gain access to the person that is the gatekeeper of the angel group. This could be the director, the deal, or analyst, or whatever that is. This individual is filtering all the opportunities that are coming through either via email or introductions. They’re going to take a look and analyze the opportunity, and if it makes sense, they might schedule a call with you.
If they schedule a call, probably they’re going to ask you for the pitch deck before that conversation. Other times, what they could do is that they have the meeting with you, they have the call with you, and then they ask for the pitch deck to be sent as a follow-up after the conversation.
Once they have reviewed, they may share this with the angel investor that takes the lead, or that is the president or the chairman of that organization. If the chairman also likes the opportunity, then they may invite you to a prescreening session. In that prescreening session, you’re going to be meeting either in person or via video with three of the angels or perhaps a few more that are going to come into a small type of environment to get to know you, to get to see you present.
If you do a good job there, then they will probably invite you to the big gathering of the group. At that gathering, all the angels are coming together, either via video or in person. What you’re doing is you’re presenting your business and allowing some time for questions and answers. That’s typically the way that it works. Then after that Q&A, you may engage, and they will be telling you whether there’s interest or not. If there is interest, they will also be sharing what the way is that they would like to invest in your business and what would be that structure.
When it comes to sending your pitch deck to angel groups, you want to create a shortlist. You want to create a shortlist of people that are going to be able to be a fit, especially in those groups, whether it is on your segment, on your financing cycle, or on your geographic location. Some of the areas and tools that you’re going to be using in order to guide yourself during this process are going to be the following:
- Angel Capital Association
- Fundraising Consultants such as us, Panthera Advisors
- Startup accelerators
Some angel groups’ websites may offer the possibility for you to submit your pitch deck. I think that this is a mistake because, ultimately, social proof is everything. So, what you want to do is take a look at who are the founders and entrepreneurs that have received in the last 6 to 12 months an investment from that angel group that you’re looking to target.
What you’re doing is you’re going to be using that entrepreneur to introduce you to one of the angels in that organization or even the director of deal flow at that angel group. That is the best way. That is how you’re going to get that warm intro and how you’re going to be able to reduce the amount of time from the first touchpoint to money in the bank.
When you are engaging with the angel group, you are going to have different types of versions of the pitch deck. First, you’re going to have the version that you’re going to be submitting initially when you don’t know them. Maybe there is going to be a version where you are removing the secret sauce of your business. You could even remove the numbers because you don’t know their agenda, you don’t know if some of those angels already invested in a competing business against yours, and you want to cover your back. That’s the first one that you’re sending.
The other pitch deck that you’re going to be using is if you are presenting in person to that angel group, one thing that you want to do is remove as much text as possible from your pitch deck and increase the amount of visuals in your presentation so that way, they get to focus on you because it’s essential that they focus on you.
The other deck that you want to have or the other version is for follow-ups, for follow-ups to meetings, for follow-ups to phone calls. If you see that there’s a clear fit and that you like them, and they like what you’re doing, you sell them the full pitch deck with all the visuals, with all the financial information, all the text, all of that good stuff, and you would use that as the follow-up email. Again, you want to use those three different types of pitch decks because it depends where you are at in the process, and essentially, you want to use a version that is going to match and fit the circumstances and where you are with them.
During the process, you want to be very good at follow-ups. Once you’ve already put the pitch deck on their end, maybe even that thank you pitch deck that is after you’ve done your thing, it is the last thing so that they get an idea of what your business is about. You will be sharing here the full pitch deck, the full financial model.
Then, you want to go into the follow-up. On the follow-up, every couple of weeks, stay top-of-mind. Try to share something that has been a great update of the business. It could be more revenues. It could be a new team member that you onboarded. It could be a news article, but you want to be top-of-mind and always, always, always use a call to action on those interactions.
Never follow up with, “Hey, I just wanted to check in,” or “Hey, I just wanted to catch up,” because that’s noise. You want to add value, and on every single update, or every single follow-up with an update that you’re sending, make sure that you’re not finishing it open-ended, like, “I look forward to hearing from you,” or “Let me know your thoughts.” You want to finish up with a call to action such as,
Are you available next week or the following for a quick catch-up call?
That way, you are putting the call to action and triggering them, telling you what works on their end to reconvene on a call because your intention always is to get to the next meeting because the more meetings that you have, the less concerns there will be because you would have that possibility of addressing them. When there are no concerns, guess what happens? Money is in the bank because what separates you and the money are the concerns in-between.
When it comes to post-funding, remember that getting your round of financing is not a milestone; it’s a stepping stone because the real work happens once you have the money in the bank. You want to make sure that there are clear expectations. Perhaps you’re going to have one of the angels from the angel group representing them on your board. But again, you want to have expectations. Make sure that you’re delivering on your promises, and make sure that they are always updated so that when you need more money down the line, they already know what’s going on, and they’re ready to jump in.
Hopefully, you liked this video. Put a Like on your screen. Then also, leave a comment and let me know what you’re up to and how you’re finding those angel groups. And as well, Subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss out on all the videos that we roll out every week. If you’re fundraising, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help out. Thank you so much for watching.