Finding the Right Angel Investor for You

by Cooley LLP

Finding the right investors is really important. It’s kind of like marriage.  A great spouse makes for a great life, while a bad spouse could cause a lifetime of misery or an ugly divorce.

In finding the right investor, you’re looking for a great, life-long partner and someone you can count on in good times and bad.  So, chemistry is critical.

If you check the box on chemistry, you will want to find investors that will add bench strength to the management team.  That is, investors with domain expertise — either through prior investments or operational experience — or investors with access to additional sources of capital that can further fuel your growth. The best investors will be able to advise you on strategy and help with introductions to potential customers, partners or key hires.

With that in mind, how do you go about identifying and targeting potential investors? Let’s start with angels. Angel investors can be hard to find but with a little bit of research you can typically locate individual investors who are interested in your business vertical or in supporting entrepreneurs in your community. Sites like QuoraCB Insights or AngelList are often useful. For example, you may query Quora with “the most active ecommerce angel investors.” Look for investors who made early bets in companies that created new categories or otherwise had a real point of differentiation.  That’s usually a sign of insight and vision, not to mention courage to avoid just the “me too” investments.

In terms of accessing angels, the most common method is still via personal introduction. Scan your network for common contacts to ask for a referral. Talk to fellow entrepreneurs or startup-service providers to see if they may be able to make an introduction. Go to startup related events in your community to build your network in this area. LinkedIn and Twitter are also common ways to reach out to investors. While the hit rate is likely lower than with a personal introduction, more than a few companies have been funded by engaging and impressing an investor over social media. Another avenue to consider is angel groups in your community. Angel groups have a more structured pitch and investment review process and provide access to broad group of investors. Angel groups can often take a bit of time to make an investment decision, so keep that in mind when pursing this option.

When assessing angel investors, you’ll want to ask questions about their most recent investments, what they typically provide to companies in addition to capital, their expectation of CEOs and how involved to they like to be in the company, among other things. All of these questions can help you evaluate whether you and the investor are aligned and if it would potentially be a good partnership over the long haul.

Finding venture capital investors can be a less opaque process but the same principles apply. You’ll want to find investors who have domain expertise and have portfolio companies that are complementary to yours. You’ll want to gather as much information as possible about which venture funds are active in your business vertical and, more granularly, which partners at the funds made the investments in those deals. Secondly, you’ll want to look at the size of the fund and the size of its typical investment. Again, online resources such as CB Insights,Mattermark and CrunchBase are useful tools for gathering much of this information.  Once you’ve identified, you’ll similarly want to leverage your personal network to find a personal referral.

And remember, if you’re working with the right legal team, they are often the best gatekeepers when it comes to introducing you to venture and angel capital and can open many doors for you.

This article originally appeared on


Written by:

Cooley LLP

Cooley LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.