As an angel fund leader, you're in for an exciting journey of discovering the intricacies of evaluating early-stage companies. In this article, we're going to provide you with a broad overview of the valuation framework that serves as the foundation for assessing the worth of startups. Remember, while we won't go deep into all the methodologies, we'll help you understand the fundamental concepts that will guide you in creating your valuation calculator tailored to your investment thesis.

Introduction to Startup Valuation Framework

Valuing startups is not as straightforward as valuing established businesses. In the startup world, information is often scarce, and investments are based on belief in a promising future. The valuation framework you'll be working with is tailored to the entrepreneurial landscape, considering the uncertainties, innovation, and potential growth inherent in startups.

Key Concepts of Startup Valuation

Before we dive into building a valuation calculator, let's explore some key concepts that drive startup valuation:
  1. Investment Thesis: Your investment thesis defines your focus areas, such as industry verticals, stages, and special attributes you're interested in. A well-defined investment thesis helps you narrow down your evaluation criteria and make informed decisions.
  2. Startup Stage: The stage of a startup significantly influences its valuation. From concept stage to product launch and revenue generation, each phase has its unique valuation considerations.
  3. Comparables and Market Sentiment: Valuation often relies on comparable companies in the same industry. Understanding market sentiment, industry trends, and how other startups are being valued provides crucial insights.
  4. Milestones and Achievements: Recognizing a startup's milestones and achievements can impact its valuation. Progress in product development, market penetration, or revenue generation affects the perceived value.
  5. Valuation Methods: Valuation methods vary depending on the startup's stage. Qualitative methods like scorecards and checklists are common in early stages, while quantitative methods like discounted cash flows gain prominence as startups mature.
  6. Special Attributes: Each investment thesis may have specific attributes that impact valuation. Understanding what makes a startup valuable in your thesis context is essential.

Building Your Valuation Calculator

Now that you're familiar with the foundational concepts, let's outline the steps to create your valuation calculator:

  1. Define Your Investment Thesis: Clearly define your investment thesis, including industry verticals, stages, and special attributes. This focus will guide your valuation efforts.
  2. Collect Specific Information: Gather relevant data for your investment thesis. Utilize sources like PitchBook, Crunchbase, and industry reports to gather insights on valuations, funding rounds, and other relevant metrics.
  3. Benchmarking and Comparative Analysis: Compare your startup with similar companies in your investment thesis. Look for valuation trends, median valuations, and key metrics to identify patterns.
  4. Identify Impactful Characters: Determine the characteristics that significantly influence valuation in your investment thesis. Is it revenue growth, team expertise, intellectual property, or market potential? Tailor your calculator to these factors.
  5. Develop Metrics and Scoring System: Create a set of metrics and a scoring system that align with your investment thesis. Assign weights to different attributes based on their importance to valuation.
  6. Adjust and Conclude: Fine-tune your valuation calculator based on feedback and real-world use. Continuously refine your methodology, considering the dynamic startup ecosystem. Conclude your valuation based on the calculated score and metrics.


Creating a valuation calculator for your angel fund is an intricate process that needs a deep understanding of startup dynamics and your investment thesis. By grasping the key concepts of valuation and tailoring your calculator to your specific areas of interest, you'll be well-equipped to make informed investment decisions. Remember, while general calculators can be useful as reference points, crafting your own tool based on your investment thesis is essential for accurate and meaningful startup valuations.

This article has been written inspired by a presentation by Fernando Andreolla, Financial Manager of COREangels, during a 2023 Leaders Meeting. Leaders Meetings are bi-monthly online events exclusively for COREangels Fund Leaders.