I am an angel. I am an entrepreneur. Yes. I still am. Entrepreneurship is like a virus. Better! It is the ethos of the angels.
I have been an angel investor for more than 15 years, after creating my own startup from scratch, developing and exiting. My angel experience had several phases, and has been amazing. I love what I do.
Some people say the angel market is heterogeneous and diverse, almost personalized. Some angels invest through groups and networks, others alone, some create funds, others syndicate. Some invest in their own country; others do it cross-border. Some make follows-on, others not. Some succeed, until fail. Others fail until succeed. Each angel each story.
We are close to 1 million of them around the world.
Research has tried to organize, identify and classify angels in types, clusters and segments of them using different variables. Some typologies are as expected as the economical; some are exciting others bizarre so that you can choose from a panoply of possibilities. I've identified more than 50 categorizations of different names and profiles in angel literature. Some of the funniest are
Devils, Godfathers, Virgin, Hedonistic, Altruistic, Very Angry Angels...
and others more. Those names and categories tell us that there are many angel profiles.
In recent years the angel market is changing, and angels began to organize themselves in groups, managed by gatekeepers that acts as a managing partner, pressing angels to uniformize behaviours becoming closer to venture capitalists.
Also, VCs are investing earlier in startup phases, with some going into seed and pre-seed stages and invading the natural space of the angels, "attacking" them from the right side.
Additionally, with crowdfunding and equity crowdfunding sharing te early-stage financing, angels are also "under attack" from the left side. Of course, cooperation is the keyword and angels born to cooperate and co-invest with several players.
I think we are living a great moment for reflection about our angel identity and role. Who are we, the angel investors? What is our purpose in becoming angels? What is the value we give and obtain from it? Is it proportional? Is it changeable? I know we make our best to add proper value and co-create new value with the entrepreneur in a shared adventure.
No one else, from the early-stage investment, has that mission so clear. Not like us. That is crucial in our identity.
But are we doing what we think we should? Above all, I think each one must discover their own role and be happy doing it. But please. Find the adequate entrepreneurs and angel groups for you. Find those where an angel can be the type of angel one's dream of being.