One of the most brilliant academics and dean of University of Aveiro (Julio Pedrosa), once, told me in a corridor talk: "Do you know, we must create "thought" in society. Creating valuable thought is the most important thing we can do. That's the main mission of the university". Some years later, that interaction came to mind, and I recognized for myself, how much I liked the formulation of creating thought regarding something.
Suddenly it seems irresistible: I need to create thought about angel investing. After 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur and business angel, through both victories and failures, I’ve decided to come back again to the university and make a Ph.D. on angel investing.
And the new adventure began four years ago. Come again and sit in class, with colleagues younger than me, read thousands of papers, take exams again, stay late up into the night preparing presentations, doing group work and writing "papers"...and above all, having a lot of pleasure trying a completely different lifestyle, compared with the demanding entrepreneurial days of startup development.
Concerning the serious part of my reflections, I really think we need to create thought about angel investing. Creating thought is not only for academics, but a shared responsibility. Firstly, because angel investors generate a lot of hope in society and the world needs that. Secondly, because angel investment grows in activity and relevance, being effectively the main contributor to finance startups in early stage (EBAN, 2017).
Angels are needed because they believe in people while they are not yet “believable” and invest their own money and credibility in testing and validating ideas from unfamiliar people, stimulating new solutions, empowering young entrepreneurs that in many cases have no more than vague ideas.
Angels also persist investing at an initial stage, when all others close doors and decide to wait and see. Of course, angels follow the money, but not only. A lot of other relevant motivations such as giving back to society, supporting innovation and research, stimulating entrepreneurship in local communities, giving guidance and mentoring, sharing their knowledge and experience enthusiastically, helping to create new opportunities and new jobs, retaining talent in regions, supporting social impact investment… to give a few examples.
But not everything is smooth sailing. Our startup investments fail more than 50% of the time, the aimed 25% of IRR seems to be real only for professional angels and organized groups, but the lack of information concerning failures and the global and real financial balance of all the market must be clarified. We need more research to support a serious discussion concerning angel taxation. Fiscal policies do not fairly recognize the contribution of the angel investor in society. In most European countries, venture capitalists with special regulations of venture funds, have more tax benefits than angel investors,
in Portugal, individual angel investors pay 28% of the gains, while venture fund investors pay only 10%
and contributions are equivalent or higher in favor of angels. We must create thought to guarantee more economic justice and recognition for the input of angel investors in society.
Let me finish by talking about my current research right now and come back to the point of my Ph.D. Currently, I’m doing research on angel investor goals — a qualitative study followed by a quantitative one.
I hope to contribute to provide valuable thought to several players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem:
(i) to angel investors themselves, giving light and expression about their motivational goals and values, helping them to become more professional
(ii) to enlarge the angel investment experience perspective (it’s so much more than money) and attract more people to the angel investing cause.
(iii) To help entrepreneurs understand angel investor motivations and prepare their pitches
(iv) to fuel angel networks and their gatekeepers by assisting them to organize meetings, to structure activities and experiences producing more angel engagement
(v) to help governments and policymakers design angel investment policies more connected with angel investor goals and guarantee more interest and participation in public initiatives. There is a lot of thought to create.
That's why I challenge you.
My research is not for me but to be shared with the community of angel investors.
If you are an angel investor, that shares this pleasure, and the responsibility to create thought about angel investing, then click on the links below. The first one is a one-minute video that briefly shows why this research is essential for angel investors. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bcgy0zAiygc2Q4IvnvlIImddZH9gkuLd/view?usp=sharing
The second one is my research survey. To complete it, please click on the following link: http://questionarios.ua.pt/index.php/638647/lang-en
I hope you will enjoy it. Thank you very much for your support. Let’s create thought together.