Traditionally, people who invested in Broadway shows were referred to as “Angels”. Nowadays, the term has been adopted by anyone who has invested their money in another person’s business or entrepreneurial efforts.
Angel investing has taken off quite spectacularly over the past 6-7 years, because of its ability to earn greater returns on the amount invested as compared to other investment methods. Angel investors can be individuals working in any industry or profession like business executives, lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs etc.
Now you may be wondering, why these people are called angel investors, or how they’re different from regular investors and venture capitalists.
Angel investors usually invest in early growth or mature start-ups. Often, an angel investor also offers advice and can even serve as a mentor. But the most important factor that differentiates angel investors from venture capitalists is that the former invest their own funds in other businesses, while the latter is brought into a business by a variety of firms/companies that make investments using other people’s money. As a result, angel investors are more likely to be personally involved in the business.
Angel investment has been a buzzword in start-up circles for a few years now. Start-ups seem to be eager to get angel investors. Yet the number of angel deals has dropped from 876 in 2016 to 433 in 2017 according to VCCEdge Data.
With a 29% drop in tech start-ups success stories, an overall deceleration of newly active start-ups in India has also been noted recently.
Currently, there are over 1000 active Indian angel investors whose capacity to invest is estimated at $1 billion dollars annually.
A couple of years ago, the angel investor community mainly comprised of CEOs from MNCs or even owners of successful businesses. And their investments mainly remained in the IT sector. But that rule doesn’t necessarily apply anymore. Nowadays, a large number of angel investors are interested in a variety of sectors including communications, logistics, healthcare, travel, and food.
2017 ended with a whopping $13.7 million worth of investments in Indian start-ups. This amount is an increase from the previous years. Areas that witnessed a good number of deals were Agritech, Analytics, CleanTech, IoT and Gaming.
Although the numbers are encouraging, the truth is, start-up giant, Flipkart, accounts for 70% of the total investment value. Excluding the billions raised by Flipkart, Ola, Paytm and ReNew Power, startups in Bangalore and Delhi-NCR attracted most of the other investments.
One of the major challenges that a start-up faces is building a product, service or brand worth the investor’s time. You have to do your research and network like a ninja. Whether the interaction with potential angel investors is in person, over the phone or via email, make sure that you keep it professional at all times.
Work on answering why that particular investor should be interested in your business. Angel investors are intelligent, intuitive and critical of opportunities that merely aim at profits. They prefer being associated with products and services that have long-term growth potential and serve a particular purpose that the target audience will be willing take you up on. Angel investors prefer start-ups that are unique and have set goals for their future growth and progress.
Your pitch should describe to your investors exactly what they will get – tell them your story; tell them what inspired you and try to make them see where you’re coming from.
Your pitch can be a PowerPoint presentation or even a product demo. Your pitch must also cover how you plan to attract customers, pay interests and generate revenue. Also, be crisp and clear about your funding and ownership plans for the investors.
The next big challenge you will face is identifying the right investors. Take a minute and think about what you wish from your angel? Is it connections, expertise, advice, clients etc. Pen down your ‘Angel Wishlist’ and then begin your search. It will help you be more aware of the kind of relationship you would like to build between your angel and your business. It’ll also serve as a guidebook to make future executive decisions much easier.
Don’t look for quick money as that will completely offset the point of having an angel investor on your team. Look for someone who will fit well with your team and is more interested in building your brand rather than being solely occupied with earning a profit. Preferably, find someone who believes in your product as much as you do.
You can overcome these challenges by being careful about how you present yourself and your business from the get-go. Let the process of finding an investor be organic i.e. through networking and professional interactions.
We may not be able to help you decide on all the characteristics one would find desirable in an angel investor, but we can do this – Here’s a list of the most active and valuable Angel Investors in the game right now. Now, it’s your turn to ensure that you give them a business worth their time.
Managing Director – Google, India
Investments include: Druva, Instamojo, Travelkhana, Quench, Miss Malini, Burrp, 24/7 Techies, TargetingMantra, CultureAlley, Social Cops, and POPXO.com.
With degrees from MIT and Stanford, Rajan Anandan brings years of global experience to the table. He has invested in over 80 start-ups. He is interested in the Internet, Mobile and Saas-based start-ups. He prefers to work with start-ups that can prove that their product is likely to work well in their target market and already have a customer base.
Co-founder and CEO at Yulu & Co-founder at InMobi
Investments include: Innov8, Healthifyme, Admission Table.
Amit Gupta holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Institute of Technology, Kanpur. His company InMobi was named among the Top 50 disruptive companies in the world as of 2013. He is personally responsible for helping the company achieve sustainable profitability. His areas of interest include Clean Technology, Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software and Mobile Healthcare.
Founder and CEO Junglee Games & Founder and Chairman Monsoon
Investments include: Airbnb, Junglee Games, Roomify, Cloudability, Back to the Roots, Sphere, 15five, Inc42 and DilMil.
Junglee has over 10 million users making it the fastest growing skill gaming company. Ankush is adept at strategy, data and finance and is an active angel investor. He is interested in Consumer Internet Games, Digital Media, E-Commerce, Gambling, Clean Technology, Advertising Platforms, Flash Sales, SaaS Cloud Computing, Cloud Data Services, Enterprise Software, Recruiting Human Resources, Social Media and Music.
Partner and Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group
Investments include: RippleLabs, InboxVudu, 500 Startups, Firstfuel, 8tracks, PubNub, Mashery, Refinery29, Jugnoo, Rapportive, Disconnect, Founders Co-op, Coderbuddy, Modria, Inside Social.
Vikas Taneja is an expert in strategy, product, and team analysis. He holds an MBA with Honours in Economics and Finance from the University of Chicago. He received a Bachelors degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University. He is interested in Analytics, Social Media, Information Technology, Clean Technology, Consumer Internet, SaaS, E-Commerce, Education, Big Data and Clean Technology.
Founder and CEO at People Group
Investments include: Tushky.com, Ola cabs, Pretty Secrets, Sapience, Druva Software, Zepo, Peel works, Tax spanner, Cafe Zoe and Interactive Avenues.
Anupam’s impeccable business acumen and eye for detail enable him to be a much sought-after angel investor. He graduated from Boston College in the year 1997 and is best known for revolutionizing the arranged marriage scenario in India with Shaadi.com, which is a part of People Group. He is a big fan of ideas that are scalable. He’s particularly interested in clean technology, consumer internet, mobile, healthcare and SaaS.
Co-founder and CEO at Snapdeal
Investments include: Tripoto, Tiny Owl, Bewakoof, Gigstart, Ola cabs and Unicommerce.
Snapdeal.com is among India’s leading online marketplaces. Ater changing his business model multiple times, Kunal finally came up with the current business model which has been hugely successful. He is an alumnus of Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is interested in e-commerce and related sectors.
Co-founder and CEO at Flipkart
Investments include: Ather, TouchTalent, News In Shorts, MadRat Games and Spoonjoy.
The man behind the company which started as a simple bookstore and became one of the biggest multi-product online sales platforms in India – we’re talking about Flipkart of course. Before he set out on his own billion-dollar journey, Sachin was a senior software engineer at Amazon, which funnily enough is Flipkart’s biggest competition right now. Sachin Bansal is a graduate of Computer Science, from IIT Delhi and is most interested in the fields of Technology and Hardware.
Founder & CEO at InMobi
Investments include: Tushky, Moneysights, Mettl and LetsVenture.
Naveen’s first project was mKhoj, a local mobile search firm but he changed direction and started InMobi, which is a mobile advertising network. He also founded a non-profit organisation called SchoolHouse Fund, which works towards providing quality education in rural India. He graduated from IIT Kanpur in Mechanical Engineering and did his MBA from Harvard Business School in General Management. His areas of interest include Internet and Mobile Businesses.
Founder and CEO at QikPod
Investments include: GrexIt, Tookitaki, Socialblood.org, Graymatics, PrettySecrets, Gridcentric, Explara, Core Mobile, SyncUsUp, VMLogix and Aurus
Ravi Gururaj graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and Computer Science Engineering. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He started Frictionless Ventures which is an incubator i.e. an idea experimentation lab for cloud computing, mobility and big data based ideas. He also co-founded Harvard Business School Alumni Angels and is interested in Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Social Media, Cloud Computing and SaaS.
Founder and CEO at Paytm
Investments include: Sourceeasy, SilverPush, Tushky.com, GrexIt, EduKart, Milaap Social Ventures, iimjobs, Dexetra, AirStream and Wishberg Inc.
Vijay Shekhar, the man behind bringing simplified mobile payments to India. He comes from very humble beginnings – it’s said he once had only 15 bucks on him while he lived on the streets. But he never let his shortcomings affect his dreams. He graduated from the Delhi College of Engineering with a degree in Electronics & Communication. His relentless efforts and infectious energy have helped him transform the telecom industry. His investments are sector agnostic in nature.
Co-founder and Managing Director at Qyuki Digital Media
Investments: Tushky.com, Overcart, ZAPR, Pokkt, Playblazer and Thrill.
In his earlier years, he worked as an investment banker at Ernst & Young. He was the Chief Operating Officer at Ernst & Young in 2005 and helped grow the company to a stage where it was finally bought by The Walt Disney group. He graduated from the University of Mumbai with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce and Finance. He is interested in Consumer Internet, Social Games and Development Platforms.
CEO at Indus Net Technologies Private Limited
Investments include: Morpheus Tritya, Neo BVM, Letsventure, Plivo, Shopo.in, CapricornGifting and CarSingh
Abhishek started Indus Net Technologies with 50 rupees and nurtured the business till it grew to earn an annual turnover of 40 Crore. He graduated from St. Xavier’s College in Bachelor of Commerce and holds a post-graduate degree in Multimedia Technology from the University of Bath. He started on his journey to success when he was only 19 years old, pitching for his company at a trade show. He’s interested in Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Digital Media, Advertising and SaaS.
CEO at Fusion Charts & Razorflow
Investments include: Plivo, Azoi Inc., iDubba, Shopo.in, Eduora, CarSingh, CapricornGifting, Cropex, and Eduora Technologies.
Fusion Charts was counted among NASSCOM EMERGE 50 Leaders in 2009. The idea to create Fusion Chartscame to him when he felt like Microsoft Excel was unable to create an accurate chart for one of his high school projects. He graduated from the University of Calcutta with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. He holds a postgraduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh. His areas of interest include Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Cloud Computing and E-commerce.
Co-founder and CEO at ixigo.com
Investments include: Sourceeasy, Silver Push, HackerEarth, Overcart, Little Eye Labs, iimjobs, Azoi Inc., Auto wale, PlayCez, BlueGape, Pokkt and Dogspot.in
An angel investor with a passion for travelling, Aloke started his career at Amadeus Europe where he built the world’s first internet-based travel agency booking tool. He graduated from IIT Kanpur with a degree in Electrical Engineering and completed MBA at INSEAD. He is interested in start-ups in the fields of Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Mobile and E-commerce.
CTO and Co-founder of Sling Media Inc.
Investments include: Sift, Doublie, Shoe Lovers, Giraffic, CultureAlley, WoxiMedia, Whodini, PowWow, Hachi, Frrole, Vapore, Vuemix, Qikwell, Tydy, GoHachi.com and Snap-Networks
Before he co-founded Sling Media, he also co-founded Emuzed Inc. a mobile multimedia based company. The other companies he has worked in include RealChip Communications, Philips, IBM etc. He holds a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is usually interested in investing in Online Startups.
Founder and CEO at Toppr
Investments include: Olacabs, AdPushup, Housing.com, SquadRun and Shopsense.
Zishaan is a tech entrepreneur who runs an angel investment club, Powai Lake Ventures. He also co-founded Chaupathi (mobile commerce marketplace) and has worked at Opera Solutions (Delhi) and ITC Ltd (Bangalore). He graduated from IIT Bombay in the year 2004 and is likely to invest in the E-commerce, Travel, Mobile, Real Estate and Education industries.
Chief of Growth at ChargeBee
Investments include: bounce.io, CirroSecure, Interviewstreet, Sourceeasy, GrexIt, 99tests, Emo2, Practo, Sarga Eco-Fabrics and Phitesla.
Indus previously co-founded Blitzer Mobile, worked at The Morpheus, SezWho Inc., Symantec, Outride, Guru Worldwide, Mindware/NEC and VeriFone. His experience in these companies from varying industries has made him an expert in product development, growth hacking, marketing & sales and social media infrastructure. He graduated from the Birla Institute of Technology with a degree in Computer Science and is interested in companies related to Mobile, E-commerce, HealthCare, Information Technology and SaaS.
Director at Artha India Ventures
Investments include: InVenture, OYO Rooms, Mobilewalla, Exotel, Rolocule Games, Klip.in, Paletly, Carveniche Technologies, Maximojo, purplle.com and NowFloats.
Artha India Ventures invests in high-yielding renewable energy assets and uses the revenue from these projects to fund start-ups. Through its impeccable self-sustaining model, it has added over 2 billion kilowatts per hour worth of energy as of 2016. Anirudh graduated from Austin College with a degree in Economics and Business Administration and is interested in the fields of Clean Technology, Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software and B2B start-ups.
Analyst at Habrok Capital Management LLP
Investments include: Zoom, AdPushup, POSist, Aureus Analytics, Yourbus, ZestMoney, Aureus Analytics, Endless Robotics, Elize, Industry Buying, IndusOS (Firstouch) and Medika Bazaar.
Arun started his career at Axis Capital. His keen eye for strategy analysis landed him a job at Lazard as an analyst in Mergers & Acquisitions. His experience on this job helped him realize his true passion, after which he joined his family business at the Murugappa Group as Head of Strategy and Business Development. He graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in Business Studies. He is interested in start-ups in the field of Consumer Internet, Health Care, SaaS and Enterprise Software.
Co-founder at Zebpay
Investments include: Fab Bag, Wishberry, Aureus Analytics and POSist.
Sandeep Goenka started Zebpay with a vision to make online transactions using bitcoin as simple as using an instant messaging app. He previously co-founded Blynk Systems, which further solidified his position in technology and software. He graduated from NMIMS with a degree in Commerce, got an Engineering Degree from De Montfort University and also completed MBA in Entrepreneurial Studies from SP Jain Institute of Management. He is interested in Consumer Internet, Big Data and SaaS.
Founder and CEO at RateGain, Independent Director at RedDoorz
Investments include: Interview Master, HotelsAroundYou and Mozio.
Bhanu started his journey at Deloitte Consulting. During his time here, he served many Fortune 500 companies in Chicago. RateGain was founded as a response to the rise in popularity of online travel agencies like Expedia and Orbitz. He realized that there was an immense need for comparative prices from different websites on one platform. He holds a double Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Finance from Indiana University. He is interested in start-ups in Travel Technology, Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing industries.
Founder & CEO at Freshworks Inc.
Investments include: ChargeBee, Kaalibi Technologies, Turing Research, germ.io, Flourish and Frilp.
Girish Mathrubootham is founder and CEO of Freshdesk, which is a cloud-based customer support platform. He worked at AdventNet for 9 years. He quit his job after he was inspired by a comment on a Hacker News Post in the year of 2010. He earned an Engineering Degree in Electronics from Shanmugha Research Academy and completed MBA in Marketing from the University of Madras. He is interested in the fields of Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software and SaaS.
Co-founder and CEO at nearbuy.com
Investments: Targeting Mantra and Limetray.
Ankur heads Groupon India, and also previously co-founded Accentium Web. He is a prominent angel investor in India, who mainly invests in Internet and Technology Startups. He completed MBA from the Indian School of Business and also holds a Master’s of Science degree from the Michigan State University.
Managing Director at Redcliffe Capital, Director at Pee Safe, Director at Deyor Camps, Director at Evergreen Power
Investments include: Shaadisaga, LifCare, inFeedo, Zenprivex, SafetyKart and Coutloot.
According to an article in VCCircle in 2016 Jain, the team is the most important factor he looks at when he is looking at investing in a start-up. He prefers to invest in a product that already has good traction and validation. He has an MBA from CASS Business School.
Director Product / Platform Partnerships
Investments include: Makkajai, ToneTag and NoBroker.
Anand previously worked as the Chief Product Officer at Snapdeal. He has worked in a wide variety of roles including CPO at Bharti Airtel, Sr. Director for Search and Mobile at Yahoo and Director of Product at Openwave. He also co-founded Aeroprise Inc. which became the most-deployed solution worldwide for mobile service management. He was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in the year 2010 and named in Fortune’s ’40 under 40′ list (India) in 2016. He is interested in consumer internet, B2C and P2P Marketplaces, Fintech and SaaS.
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