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08-01-2018 - Modwenna Rees-Mogg - 0 comments
The rise of the 'personality' angel website

It’s a growing trend.  Angels are emerging from behind their clubs and networks and possibly a phone number and email address, and going public on the web. The first signs of this new desire to get known, is the preponderance of now individuals self-identifying as angel investors on social media, especially LinkedIn. A quick search of LinkedIn for this article finds that as of 7th January, just over 4,900 are describing themselves as “angel investor” with a further 3,284 describing themselves as “business angels” and 1,590 describing themselves as “business angel investor.” Meanwhile the Angel Investor Group on LinkedIn claims 74,340 members.  Of course, AngelList and Crunchbase are throbbing with 10,000s angels in the US and beyond. 

But the really interesting phenomenon is the rise of the angel who goes to the effort of building a website describing their angel investing activities.  These range from the straight forward “corporate style” websites such as Avonmore Developments 7 percent, Wren Capital Thames Valley Capital and Delta2020 to the much more self-promotional style adopted by the likes of Luke Johnson, Simon Hulme and Peter Cowley  The latter are more than just an explanation of investing activities really acting as an invitation to the right type of entrepreneur to get in touch (and perhaps to encourage the wrong type not to!).  They are sites styled more as a CV and “available” to work in areas related to angel investing (such as mentoring, public speaking and NEDs). They are “personality websites.”

Peter Cowley has moved on an admirable next step by launching The Interested Investor which is an online social enterprise dedicated to his and his friends’ and contacts’ experiences of angel investing and beyond. Although newish it is already packed with interesting content and is worth book-marking.

There is a gang of angel “families” now finding a public pitch on the web.  At Bran Investments, Beena, Ram, Ashish and Nisha Goyal describe themselves literally and charmingly as a family of investors.  But there are also families of angels in the other sense, by which I mean co-founders of businesses who post sale, turn their attention to angel investing.  The grand daddy of these is probably Jam Jar Investments the founding team at Innocent.

Common characteristics of all sites are details of the individuals’ business and charitable interests as well as, of course, some or all of their angel investments.  They tend to go long on portfolio companies (majoring on the most successful ones), but can be more coy on how much they have available to invest or with whom they co-invest. But between them they showcase the kaleidoscope give a fuller flavour of the angel investment market. 

Is this trend going to take off more widely I wonder?  Will 2018 going to be the year of the personality angel? I hope so. These websites and their ilk add a new dimension to the angel investing world and offer the added fillip that entrepreneurs can reach out direct to the right type of angel for them.

With a judging panel of 1 (me!), this year the award for best angel website goes to Jam Jar Investments. It looks the part, tells the story and makes you want to hang around on it for ages.  If I was operating in their space, I would want the JamJar team to be backing me.

But let’s hope loads more sites are set up this year to add more to the mix and, of course, so I can justify forming a panel of judges to give the 2019 award!

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