Small Business Financing 101: Angel Investors

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A woman with hand-drawn wings represents an angel investor

Angel investors are individuals or networks of people who invest in new, small, or growing businesses to provide them with capital for startup or expansion. They provide a form of equity financing that grants them an ownership position in the company or, in some instances, they provide debt that can be turned into equity in exchange for either a one-time provision of cash or an ongoing injection of capital.

 

Why are angel investors interested in businesses like mine?

Angel investors are interested in opportunities that allow them to develop a business that’s capable of producing returns beyond what they might realize through other investments. Many provide capital to businesses that may one day deliver annual returns of 25% or more, but some have much higher return requirements.

 

What’s the difference between an angel investor and a venture capitalist?

Angel investors are a subset of venture capitalists who may commit to a business before its concept is fully proven. Often, these investors use their own money to fund a business rather than investing through a strategically managed fund, an approach that’s common in other forms of venture capital.

You can learn more about the nuances in this guide:

 

Should angel investors be part of my funding strategy?

It depends. In the right context, angel investors can be a good source of capital, especially for owners who can’t attain other forms of financing because of their size or lack of collateral.

Of course, there are several pros and cons you should consider before choosing this funding strategy.

 

The pros:

Angel investment financing has less risk than debt-financing options because it doesn’t require repayment if the venture fails.
Angel investors offer experience-backed advice and counsel where other providers of capital typically do not.
These investors can connect you with other venture capitalists, people in your industry, suppliers, and partners who can help you ramp up quickly.

 

The cons:

Angel investors will share in your business’s profits.
Angel investors will have a say in how your business is run, and it may not align with your style of management.

 

Be sure to speak with a banker before choosing this or any other funding strategy.

Would you like to connect with a banker to discuss this or another funding option? Consider reaching out to one of the following financial institutions:

 

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Commercial Loan Direct

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Commercial Loan Direct is a no-frills lender that provides conventional loans, SBA loans, construction loans, bridge loans, and other forms of financing to help business owners go after their goals. Many owners start with CLD's Commercial Loan Finder, a tool that points them in the direct of loan programs that best suit their needs. Interested in learning more? Visit their website through the link below to get started.

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GoKapital

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With their simple, streamlined two-minute application, GoKapital makes it easy to apply for financing. GoKapital offers a wide range of financing options. These include business cash advances, equipment financing, unsecured loans, and no credit check loans. They also offer more traditional loan products that, on average, close in two-to-four weeks. Ready to explore their loan options? Click the button below to get started.

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Square Banking

Money to Keep Your Business Moving Forward

Square offers checking accounts, savings accounts, and loan products exclusively to owners who process with Square. Their loans, which are backed by your card sales through Square, charge a flat fee (no interest) and are repaid automatically with a percentage of your daily card sales. Would you like to learn more about this new way to finance your expenses? Follow the link below to explore the offer.

 

How can I find angel investors?

Most angel investors fall into one of these categories:

Angel investors can be family members, friends, individuals who have a high net worth or a level of comfort with risky investments, or people who join together to form an angel syndicate or business investment group.

 

Often, entrepreneurs locate angel investors through professional connections. You may find angel investors through other business owners, your attorney, your accountant, your banker, or online platforms like AngelList, FundersClub, or the Angel Capital Association.

 

How can I attract an angel investor's attention?

Email introductions are perfectly acceptable, provided you share a mutual connection. Be sure to lead with who referred you to the investor. Then, share a brief, to-the-point summary of what your business is, the traction it’s been getting, and the plans you have to take it to the next level. Attach an executive summary or pitch deck that dives in the details and the ways you plan to use the cash you raise to accomplish your goals.

 

 

If you have no connections to the investor, try building some. Network with people they may affiliate with by attending association meetings, seminars, or social functions that will provide you with opportunities to connect with a broad group of people.

 

How will they decide if my business is worth their investment?

Most angel investors will want to examine your business model, market, and industry, and they'll also want to see your capacity to bring your idea to fruition. Then, they'll look for opportunities to add value and realize significant returns.

More specifically, angel investors want to see:

  • Your passion, commitment, and integrity
  • Your plan for market penetration and growth
  • How your idea stacks up against alternatives in the market
  • Proprietary information or intellectual property that will make it difficult for others to replicate your product

 

To understand the financial picture of your business, angel investors will ask questions about the capital you’ve raised and how you’ve used it. They'll want to know how you plan to use new injections of capital, what your costs look like, your anticipated gross margins, and the assumptions you’re making about growth.

They will also want to learn about your sales and marketing strategies. Most will ask questions about your marketing approach, customer acquisition costs, and sales cycle to understand how you’ll position your product and get it in front of your prospective customers.

Finally, they’ll ask about the people you have in place to strategize, plan, and run the business.

If an angel investor rejects your pitch, it’ll likely be for one of these reasons:

  • Your market is too small
  • Your product will struggle to differentiate itself
  • You didn’t show knowledge of your market or strategies for growth
  • Your business or market doesn’t interest them, suit their area of focus, or align with their core set of competencies
  • You weren’t convincing
  • Your location is too far from them and their other businesses
  • Your forecasts aren’t credible
  • You approached them without being referred by someone they know

 

What are my other options for funding?

There are many other ways to raise the cash you need to start or grow your business. You can learn more in this article:

 

 

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