The AngelCentral Story
Ning & I have been angel investors since 2012 or so. We saw this as a way to give back to ecosystem and also to make use of our knowledge having built JobsCentral. Needless to say, we made many, many rookie mistakes of bite sizing, over optimism, poor due dilligence etc. By 2015, we worked out a methodology and start picking much better. If we just look at our last 15 picks since 2015, we are at 2.1X or about 40+% IRR. Only 1 failure with 1 exit and 9 uprounds. The other 4 are new. We are now committed Angel Investors and have set for ourselves a 100 startup investment goal over the next 20-25 years.
We thought we should share our learning via Angel Investing Workshops. In 2017, we ran a total of 6 workshops and trained over 120 angels. Then, we thought since we met about 100+ startups annually, we can help organize pitch days for those whom we thought were good. Last year, we ran 6 pitch days for 19 startups and we had S$3+m in capital commitments.
Moreover, on a more macro level, we know that there are insufficient well trained angels in the region. Add on to the fact that tech businesses are booming in ASEAN and we have a classic growth area. Though i must say if we do our market sizing properly, the revenues at scale are not large.
However, we still feel this space needs help and from our pitches and workshops, we realize that we have tested out our MVP and it works very well for both startups and angels. So the next step is to actually start charging users and building a team.
Shao Ning as the boss/driver, came up with a vision and business plan for AngelCentral. AngelCentral's goal is to build a community of competent and effective angels in ASEAN. We will do so by offering quality deal flow and by creating learning platforms to widen investor knowledge. She then roped in Teck Moh who is a co-investor with us on some startups and whom we share similar investing philosophy.
Next, we all approved the budget and decided to invest S$200K of our own money to see if we can build up AngelCentral to be a sustainable enterprise.
First Month of Operations
AngelCentral incorporated in early Feb and since then we launched our membership tiers. Testing out a MVP really matters and accumulating goodwill initially helps. Within 1 month, we now have over 30 paying angels and corporates/VCs. We also organized our first well attended pitch day for 5 startups on Feb 23rd and have received 30+ decks from startups.
The hardest part turns out to be on the administrative and technical bits as we needed to build up the web site and forms. I must say the stack of tools available are amazing and much better in UI and features than what we had back in 2000 (basically non-existent).
We are also recruiting interns and key staff to help drive AngelCentral. So if you are keen on the topic of early stage investing and have great project management skills, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV.
We have a goal to grow our membership base, double the pitches and funding amount in 2018. We also want to help educate angels with deep dives into legal and sector specific areas. Finally, we also want to provide syndicate structures so that Angels can invest together and with lesser bite sizes. If we succeed, we would have done our part to make AngelCentral more sustainable and also help improve our early funding climate.
So if you are an angel or a startup, do take a look at what AngelCentral can offer you!
For Angel Membership- https://www.angelcentral.co/angelinvestment
For Angel Education - https://www.angelcentral.co/learningevents
For Startups - https://www.angelcentral.co/startups