The startup marketplace by design is mostly cash-strapped, especially in their early stages. Founders start a company pooling in resources from personal savings and donations from family and friends. Beyond this, a steady injection of funds is required for the company to innovate and grow. This is when startups find angel investors.
Startup fundraising happens in stages. It begins at home with the founder’s contacts, moving towards angel investors and finally scaling up to venture capitalists. These investment instruments are unique in design and entrepreneur-friendly. As we can see angel investors are the first external funding source for a startup.
What is an angel investor?
Angel investors are typically high net worth individuals who invest in the early stages of a startup in exchange for equity in the company. Angel investors for startups are also known as private investors, seed investors, angel funders, informal investors, or business angels. Angel investments are mostly one time and aim at assisting the take-off of a startup.
By design, an angel investor is funding the entrepreneur with company funds and a brilliant idea, unlike a regular business investor focused solely on profits. Unlike venture capitalists, angels are helping the startup take their first steps and business gains are only secondary.
Why do startups prefer angel investors for funding?
Startups in their early stages need as much hand-holding as possible. Money is one aspect, but the optimum use of it and resourceful expenditures are key to a startup’s financial stability. Angel investors for startups provide this wonderful combination of funds and expertise. Some of the obvious reasons for preferring angel investors are:
- Offer wealth and knowledge – The best angel investors are usually the ones with a wide gamut of first-hand experience of running successful enterprises. Apart from the money, they contribute by mentoring the startups as well. Research shows that startups backed by angel investors stand a higher chance of growth and greater rates of returns.
- Helps in networking with industry experts – Since angel investors for startups are themselves part of a wide professional network, the companies they invest in and the entrepreneurs they mentor receive a good introduction into these circles. It is a crucial addition as apart from access to a wide range of experienced professionals, these introductions form the basis of further funding rounds as well.
- Willing to take risks – A typical angel investment gives an IRR of 20 – 40% over 5 – 7 years if the startup succeeds. Thus an angel investor has only his experience and the community’s know-how to spot potentially profitable ideas and support them to fruition. Despite all checks, most startups fail and the investor loses a substantial chunk of the funds. This is a prevailing risk in this sector.
Finding a Right Angel Investor
Angel investments despite being risky are trending in equity circles owing to the possibility of massive returns in comparison to regular investment methods. An entrepreneur has to be careful while choosing a connection as their company’s equity is at stake. The way angels carefully scrutinize proposals and decide whom to invest in; founders must research as well before agreeing to onboard an angel investor.
How to find the right angel investor for a startup?
From a sea of potential investors, let us look at some pointers to find angel investors suited for your company:
- Know their profile – As discussed in the previous section, though not mandatory, an accredited investor might be your best option. Their financial background is vetted thus making them more reliable. Apart from this, some other important aspects of their profile could be:
- Ready to invest at least $150,000 and open to participate in angel syndicates increasing the total value of investments.
- Ready to hold the investment for at least 5 – 7 years.
- Successful entrepreneurial experience, preferably in the same industry.
- Enjoys mentoring and willing to be part of a growing venture.
- Geographically well suited, preferably in the same region as the company.
- Participate in business networks – Due to the risk factor involved in angel investments, deals are granted mostly to the ones introduced by a reference. As an entrepreneur, one must focus on establishing their identity in their regional business networks and connect with as many business owners as possible. Business owners have the potential to become angel investors for startups or happen to know many of them.
- Online networks – Online platforms such as websites and social media pages are increasingly trending as active networking platforms. Creating favorable connections has never been easier.
Top 100 Active Angel Investors List – 2021 Updated
Now that we have a fair idea about how to identify a potential angel investor based on business needs, we present you a comprehensive list of 100 active angel investors. This list aims to provide a snapshot of the investment profile of each of these 100 angel investors.
|Name||Number of investments||Key Angel Investments/Exits|
|Alex Chesterman||29||Tide, Secret Escapes, Uniplace, Swoon Editions, Perkbox|
|Alex Moskalyuk||88||Pillow, Hitch, Sense, Switype, Zirtual, Worklife, Verbling|
|Alexis Ohanian||129||Virool, VHX, URX, Tutorspree, Tilt, Switype, Socialcam|
|Amos Ben-Meir||104||Ceqoo, Juul Labs, Carta, Lenda, Loop, Magisto, ThetaRay|
|Auren Hoffman||70||Klout, Wove, Sense Platform, Sendbloom, Rentlytics|
|Aydin Senkut||70||Notion.so, MUBI, Wildfire Interactive, Wordly Developments|
|Benjamin Ling||72||Wholeshare, Vamo, Space Monkey, Sosh, Redcap|
|Brad Feld||142||WallStrip, OneRiot, OntheGOPlatforms|
|Brad Harrison||51||inSparq, Voyat, Sverve, SIdestep, Seedinvest, Scoot|
|Brendan Wallace||68||Yoi Corp, Uproxx Media Group, Tripping.com, Tapiture|
|Brent Hoberman||13||Yplan, WAYN, Treatwell, Snips, 1aim|
|Carlos Blanco||120||Glovo, Holded, Deporvillage, Housfy, Habitissimo, Citibox|
|Charlie Songhurst||104||Zeuz, Verse, Vamo, Strikedeck, Sendbloom, Rollbox|
|Chris Sacca||34||dotCloud, VHX, SimpleGeo, Photobucket, Omnisio, Instagram|
|Christine Tsai||153||Reesio, Geekatoo, Culturemap, Binpress|
|Clark Landry||80||harvest.ai, ecomom, WONDER, Uplevel Security, Sellbrite|
|Daniel Curran||176||Zirtual, WedPics, VetPronto, Verbling, Ticketbis, Pillow, Luxe|
|Dave McClure||79||ecomom, Zappli, WePay, Virool, Versus, Social Tables|
|Dave Morin||58||Yobongo, Workpop, Wavii, Wanderfly, Venmo, Vamo, Tilt|
|David Cohen||129||Uvize, Storenvy, Solidware, OneTrueFan, Foodzie|
|David Sacks||44||gyft, Uber, Scotty Labs, PlanGrid, GrabCAD, GetFresh|
|David Tisch||83||numberFire, ZOZI, Welcome, UpNext, Tomfoolery, Solidware|
|Dharmesh Shah||51||oneforty, Xconomy, Visible Measure, Smarterer, RolePoint|
|Elad Gil||68||iCracked, Twice, Tilt, Tagomi, Qwiki, OpenDNS, Foodzie|
|Esther Dyson||99||tbh, eCourier.co.uk, VIzu Corporation, Square, SponsorHub|
|Fabrice Grinda||647||spotflux, eve Sleep, ecomom, Zesty, Xango.com, WiseStamp|
|Farzad Nazem||63||talech, inui Health, Virool, Viewics, Tubi, Sano|
|Garry Tan||59||Virool, URX, Tilt, Swiftype, SpoonRocket, SendHub|
|Gary Vaynerchuk||55||Yobongo, Wildfire, Uber, Songza, SimpleGeo, Rebel|
|Jaan Tallinn||28||Dextra, Lendlayer, Teleport, Fleep, Lingvist, Teamscope|
|Jacques-Antoine||30||Smart Me Up, Pumpkin, BandSquare, Appsfire|
|James Sowers||81||VetPronto, Spotify, Lemonade, DocuSign, BitTorrent|
|Jason Calacanis||72||gdgt, Zirtual, Wanderfly, Uber, ToutApp, Space Moneky, Jibe|
|Jason Seats||89||Statwing, PivotDesk, Moveline, Lua, Keen, GoChime, Glider|
|Jeff Bezos||26||Uber, Traceme, Google, General Assembly, Business Insider|
|Jeff Clavier||117||Ustream, OneTrueFan, Grovo, Grouply, Dogster|
|Jeffery Brown||85||Abra, Coinbase, Eloquent Labs, Grabango, harvest.ai, Trusted|
|Jeremy Yap||45||Amino APps, Monzo Bank, Mapillary, Gojimo, Zesty|
|Jim Pallotta||87||Workpop, Spongecell, Scan, Qualia, Bluefin Labs|
|Joanne Wilson||66||littleBits Electronics, Switchboard, Scoot, Red Stamp|
|Joe Caruso||123||docTrackr, Zagster, Fam, Directr, Crashlytics|
|Jose Marin||57||eve Sleep, Virool, Ticketbis, Reverb.com, Pillow, Olapic|
|Joshua Schachter||64||Worldly Developments, Verbling, UXPin, TalentBin, Square|
|Keith Rabois||55||Zimride, Yammer, Votizen, Vamo, Trip.com, Topguest|
|Kevin Mahaffey||65||Zesty, Voyat, Teckst, SkyGiraffe, Siftery, Shift, RedLock|
|Kevin Moore||85||Verbling, UXPin, Streamlabs, Stamplay, Ringadoc|
|Kevin Rose||22||Zynga, Yobongo, Twitter, Square, SImpleGeo, Path|
|Lee Linden||72||Workpop, Vungle, Shift, Propeller, PlanGrid, Pillow, OKpanda|
|Lukasz Gadowski||20||tutoria gmbH, brands4friends, amiando, StudiVZ, Lemoncat|
|Marc Benioff||129||Zuora, Vurb, Tapulous, Skylight, Salesforce, Quip|
|Marissa Mayer||24||Square, Parlio, One Kings Lane, Luvocracy, Kamcord|
|Mark Cuban||138||The Mobile 360, Superfeedr, Soundwave, Ranku, Meta Saas|
|Matt Mullenweg||41||npm, VHX, Tilt, Summly, SmartThings, SendGrid, Milk|
|Matt Ocko||119||Zoom, Sold, Socialcam, Locu, Keen, Impermium|
|Max Levchin||85||Yelp, Yammer, WePay, Wavii, Vurb, Vamo, SmartThings|
|Mitchell Kapor||51||Yobongo, Wavii, StumbleUpon, Sprout, Posterous, Odeo|
|Naval Ravikant||200||Vurb, Visually, Uber, Twitter, Trusted, Topguest, Tinychat|
|Nihal Mehta||90||Wild East Group, Tapad, Stepout, Adbrain, AdMob|
|Oleg Tscheltzoff||28||WIZEE, SoCloz, Producteev, MerchantAtlas, Delivery Hero|
|Oliver Jung||37||tutoria GmbH, brands4friends, amiando, WillCall, Tilt|
|Paige Craig||94||klout, fitmob, ecomom, Shop Hers, Prevoty|
|Paul Buchheit||154||reMail, lvl5, Zesty, Wufoo, Weebly, Virool, URX|
|Paul Graham||27||Wufoo, Socialcam, Seed, Octopart, AppJet|
|Paul Singh||100||Social Tables, Fitocracy, Contactually, Tout, Sendhub|
|Peter Kellner||127||Social Finance, LearnVest, Beepi, Contactually, Polymorph|
|Rajan Anandan||65||Zenatix, Threadsol, Mypoolin, InstaLively, EasyGov|
|Raymond Tonsing||48||dotCloud, WePay, Vurb, Spool, Sapho, Qwiki, Parse|
|Reid Hoffman||62||if(we), Zynga, VigLink, Tiny Pictures, Shopkick, Socialtext|
|Richard Chen||84||onefinestay, Forge Global, Kinnek, Mytime, AnyPerk|
|Rick Marini||53||fitmob, Wavii, Soma, Reddit, Pillow, Payable|
|Robb Kunz||98||Stateless, TRACE Live Network, ClientSuccess|
|Ron Conway||90||imeem, iCracked, dotCloud, Weebly, Vook, Twitter, TrialPay|
|Saad AlSogair||158||Abra, Onfleet, Ripple, Skykick Tovala, Wefunder, Spire|
|Salim Mitha||86||Notion, Ticketbis, OwnLocal, AirHelp, Mapkin, Pillow|
|Saul Klein||10||Worldly Developments, Thington, Lookery, Gojimo|
|Scott Banister||130||iLike, Zappos, Wavii, Vamo, Uber, ToutApp, Topsy Labs|
|Scott Belsky||72||Uber, Shape Analystics, Shake, Sayspring, Poptip, Pinterest|
|Semil Shah||74||Airmap, Carta, Chariot, DoorDash, GiPHY, Hired, Instacart|
|Semyon Dukach||91||tbh, Terrafugia, Fam, Codeship|
|Shakil Khan||15||Yplan, Quill, Spotify, Bitpay, invi, SPring, Thread.com|
|Sherry Coutu||19||Yplan, Teads.tv, PeerIndex|
|Shervin Pishevar||90||Yobongo, Wordly Developments, Votizen, TaskRabbit|
|Simon Murdoch||100||Vision Direct, SubHub, Spikes Cavell & Co., Shutl, SeeWhy|
|Sophia Bendz||20||Deliveroo, Dogbuddy, Greta, Omnius, Roger, Sana labc, Tictail|
|Taavet Hinrikus||47||TweetDeck, Fameron|
|Talmadge O'Neill||168||Abra, 500 Startups, Facebook, Hitch, Linkedin, Mattermark|
|Thibaud Elziere||21||Notion.so, Meero, Algolia, Front, Agricool, Memo Bank, Virtuo|
|Thomas Korte||98||Postmates, Iterable, Klout, LoftSmart, Bufer, Paintzen|
|Tim Draper||76||isocket, Vungle, Vizify, Socialcam, Skyward|
|Tom Fallows||118||ONtheGO Platforms, MobileDevHQ|
|Tom Peterson||91||Rentlytics, Skyscraper, MobileDevHQ|
|Ty Danco||125||Stitch, Localmind, Crashlytics, Codeship|
|Ullas Naik||48||iRobot, Visually, UpCounsel, TriTek Solutions|
|Walter A. Winshall||84||docTrackr, The Shared Web, Simple Energy, Rapt Media|
|Wayne Chang||55||tbh, Yoi Corp, Uplevel Security, Triggerfox Corporation, Marble|
|Wei Guo||148||tbh, YesGraph, Worklife, VetPronto, Verbling, TalkIQ|
|Will Herman||56||Zagster, UpNext, Ubersense, Sequence Design|
|Xavier Niel||72||Zenly, Trainline Europe, Stootie, Square, Snips, Smart Me Up|
|Zachary Aarons||109||Keen, Buildingconnected, GateGuru, Kanvas, Lightwell, Pillow|
List of important Active Angel Investors
Further, we have shortlisted the 20 most influential, well-networked, and diverse individuals who are leading the angel investing scene today. This section provides a brief about each one of them.
1) Fabrice Grinda
Fabrice Grinda is a New York based French entrepreneur and super angel. His entrepreneurial journey began in 1998 at the age of 23 when he co-founded and served as the CEO of Aucland, which later became one of the largest auction sites in Europe. He also co-founded Zingy and OLX.
His investments are focused on marketplaces that connect buyers to the target group of sellers. Some of his early investments were in Alibaba, Flexport, Delivery Hero, Betterment, and Brightroll. He presently runs a startup studio and venture fund by the name FJ Labs that helps startups build successful companies.
Grinda along with his team of experts are known to analyze about 100 companies every week and commit to a new investment almost every 15 days. He has 640+ startups in the portfolio, of which 70% are in the US and the rest 30% distributed globally over Brazil, France, Germany, UK, Russia, China, and Turkey. Grinda is also a regular business blogger and a public speaker addressing themes such as technology, emerging markets, and investing. Some of his top investments are Airbnb, Boxed, Dropbox, Lending Club,Palantir Technologies, Viagogo, Uber, and Wikimart. Grinda is reputed to hold $300 million in over 150 exits.
2) Paul Buchheit
Paul Buchheit is an American entrepreneur and angel investor based in Mountain View, California. He had co-founded FriendFeed that Facebook later acquired in a private acquisition in 2009. He was also the creator and lead developer of Gmail. Buccheit co-founded Y Combinator and presently spearheads the Y Combinator Core program. Previously he has also served as an engineer at Intel, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft.
After a rich experience spanning close to a decade, he turned towards angel investing. Buccheit’s investment focus is on media, information technology, health, enterprise software, and analytics based companies in the Silicon Valley and Mountain View region. Over the years he has invested in 150+ companies in the US and seen close to 80 successful exits.
3) Alexis Ohanian
Alexis Ohanian is an Armenian-American multi-faceted personality. He is an entrepreneur,investor, activist and author. He openly advocates about the open internet, STEM education, and paid family leave and has authored the best selling book titled ‘Without their permission’.
Ohanian is best known as the co-founder of Reddit and an early-stage venture capital firm Initialized Capital. Also a former partner at Y Combinator, his other entrepreneurial experiences include Hipmuk and Breadpig. Some of their early stage seed investments were in Instacart, Zenefits, Opendoor, and Cruise. Alexis Ohanian identifies himself as a business dad and believes in investing and building companies that really matter. Through Initialized Capital, Ohanian is managing investments worth more than $500 million in a portfolio worth a market value of $36 billion that include six unicorns.
4) Naval Ravikant
Naval Ravikant is an American entrepreneur and investor best known as the co-founder and CEO of AngelList. His entrepreneurial journey began in 1999 as the co-founder of Epinions, a consumer product review site. However his investing journey began in 2007 when he founded the early stage venture capital fund with $20 million – The Hit Forge.
Around the same time he had started to co-write a blog by the name Venture Hacks that “offered detailed advice on negotiating term sheets, explained which sections mattered, and which provisions were bogus.” This blog eventually grew into AngeList, co-founded by Ravikant in 2010.
In 2014, Naval Ravikant launched an investment fund called Spearhead including founders from about 35 companies with a cumulative worth of over $10 billion. Some companies he has invested in are Uber, FourSquare, Twitter, Wish.com, Poshmark, Postmates, Thumbtack, SnapLogic, Opendoor, OpenDNS, Yammer, and Clearview AI. Over the years, Naval has invested in over 200 companies of which 10 are unicorns and recorded over 70 successful exits.
5) Daniel Curran
Daniel Curran is one of the most dynamic, well networked angel investors and tech entrepreneurs in the US receiving a deal flow of close to 300 decks a week. His areas of passion are stopping/reversing human aging, bci, brain emulation/download and cryonics, empowering customers/voters via new CustEx platform launching soon, and he believes in building $B companies that would improve the world.
He is best known as the Founder/CEO of USLab(NASDAQ), AlaStor (concept later productized by Cisco), and the CustEx Internet Platform. Also ran strategy as VP/acting COO at Western Digital’s silicon valley San Jose units. Curran is skilled at quickly sizing up a company’s potential and executing the necessary cash flow and customer centric actions. During his 35 year long career, he has founded about 14 startups, invested in over 176 startups with 50+ exits of which 11 were unicorns and one decacorn that alone returned 201x return in just one year. 10% of Curran’s seed picks become unicorns, while top vc Sequoia yields only 3%.
6) Scott Banister
Scott Banister is an American angel investor and entrepreneur. His career began as a pioneer of the email business in 1996 when he co-founded Submit It. Serving as the vice president of technology, the company’s product ListBot ultimately went on to be acquired by Microsoft in 1998. After this success, Banister went on to co-found and serve on the board of many startups such as eVoice, Idealab, Powerset, and Slide.
He is best known as the co-founder of IronPort and an early investor at PayPal. Along with his wife, Banister has also co-founded an adult-themed social networking site Zivity. Some of his other investments are in Uber, Zappos.com, LiveOps, Facebook, Hi5.com, Tagged.com, iLike, Causes.com, Topsy Labs, Teleport, Inc. and TekTrak. Scott Banister has a record of 44 exits among 116 portfolio companies.
7) Marc Benioff
Marc Benioff is an American internet entrepreneur and individual angel considered to be a visionary in cloud computing. He is the Chair/CEO/Founder of Salesforce, the #1 provider of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software globally. Benioff sold his first piece of software “How to juggle” at the age of 14 and founded his first company Liverty Software that created video games at the age of 15. Prior to founding Salesforce, he had spent 13 years at Oracle and served as the youngest Vice President in the company’s history.
Benioff is also a member of the World Economic Forum and invests in many tech startups. Some of his current investments are in Zuora, Illumio, Convoy, Compass, PernixData, HIghfive, Thrive Global, Kano, Gigster, RedOwl, Rainforest QA, Wingz, Domo, Cloudwords, Mashery, and Nuzzel. He is known to have made more than 130 investments, deals with close to 71 portfolio companies, and seen 30 successful exits.
8) Mark Cuban
Marc Cuban is an American entrepreneur, individual angel investor, media proprietor, and TV personality. His entrepreneurial journey began by founding a computer consulting service called ‘MicroSolutions’ that was eventually acquired by CompuServe. After this, what began as a solution to not missing out on basketball games, along with his longtime friend Todd Wagner Cuban founded ‘Broadcast.com’ that streamed audio over the internet. This venture too became a grand success and was later acquired by Yahoo for $5.6 billion dollars.
Cuban is popular for owning the NBA Dallas Mavericks and for being the main ‘shark’ in the TV series ‘Shark Tank’. Some of his most profitable investments at ‘Shark Tank’ are Tower Paddle Boards, Nuts ‘N More, Gameday Couture, and Simple Sugars. He also co-owns ‘2929 Entertainment’ and is the chairman of AXS TV.
Mark Cuban is the renowned investor of 11 patents families and 23 distinct patents publications for his inventions and also founded ‘Sharesleuth’ a research and investigation website that uncovers frauds in the financial markets. Cuban has 97 portfolio companies and 21 exits so far.
9) Simon Murdoch
Simon Murdoch is a UK based entrepreneur and early–stage tech investor focused on early-stage software driven businesses based in the UK. His investments cater to the mobile, enterprise software, and SaaS markets. His entrepreneurial journey began with founding the online bookstore ‘Bookpages’ that was later acquired by Amazon.
He is now co-founder/managing partner at Episode 1 Ventures. Murdoch was previously the Founder of FriendsAbroad, Board Member of Triptease, Global App Testing, SimplyCook, Passfort SwiftSwift, Paramount Zone, Profitero, and Autopaid. Some of his angel portfolio companies are Shazam, Zoopla, LoveFilm, Natural Motion, Covestor, and Shutl. He has close to 53 portfolio companies with 18 exits so far.
10) Ron Conway
Ronald Conway is an American entrepreneur and investor best known for being the Founder and Managing Partner of the Angel Investors LP funds. His honest commitment towards helping entrepreneurs and inculcating good practices in the business has led him to serve as a Board Member and take up advisory roles at giants such as Twitter, Digg, Brightmail, Ask Jeeves, Rupture (acquired by EA), Associated Content (acquired by Yahoo!), Facebook, RockYou, ScanScout, Zappos, Trulia, StumbleUpon, Plaxo (acquired by Comcast), Photobucket (acquired by Fox), and Anchor Intelligence (co-founder).
Conway believes in taking an early stage approach towards investments and as a result has taken up many senior roles in companies such as Airbnb, GitHub, Poshmark and Zenefits as well. He currently manages 80+ portfolio companies and has recorded 50 exits so far.
11) Esther Dyson
Esther Dyson is a Swiss-born American entrepreneur who wears many hats. She is an avid investor, philanthropist, journalist, author, and commentator. Dyson is the chairman of ED Venture holdings and Executive Founder of Wellville, a decade old non-profit project that focuses on demonstrating the value of investing in health. She is passionate about new business models, new technologies and new markets and is one of the leading investors in healthcare, open government, digital technology, biotechnology, and outer space.
Apart from investing in startups, she also enjoys mentoring them by being on their Board. Boxbe, CVO Group (Hungary), Eventful.com, Evernote, IBS Group (Russia, advisory board), Meetup, Midentity (UK), NewspaperDirect, and WPP Group and Yandex (Russia) are some companies where she presides on the Board. Currently she holds 80+ portfolio companies and has seen 25 successful exits.
12) Dave McClure
Dave McClure is an American entrepreneur and angel investor best known as the founder of the startup accelerator 500 Startups that during his 7 yr tenure had invested in 2,500 companies and 5,000 founders across 75 countries. Some of these companies were Credit Karma, Twilio, SendGrid, The RealReal, Life360, Grab, Intercom, Ipsy, Canva, Udemy, Lucid, Flywire, FabFitFun, TalkDesk, and many more.
McClure has previously worked at Founders Fund and PayPal as well. Later in 2019 he founded Practical Venture Capital, a new venture capital fund that aims to continue funding the companies he had backed at 500 Startups. Investors in this fund include senior executives of companies like Credit Karma, Lyft, Facebook, and many other experienced private equity investors. He currently manages 48 portfolio companies and has seen 24 successful exits.
13) David Cohen
David Cohen is an American entrepreneur and angel investor. His entrepreneurial journey began as the founder of Pinpoint Technologies in 1993 which was later acquired by Zoll Medical Corporations. After a brief failure with iContact.com, he founded earFeeder.com that was later acquired by SonicSwap.
Over the years he has founded many more companies and invested in several startups of which some top names include Uber, Twilio, SendGrid, Pillpack, Classpass, and FullContact. Cohen is best known as the founder of Techstars, which is a startup accelerator program aimed to provide the most needed support for startups in finding angel investments. He has co-authored the book titled ‘Do More Faster; Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup’. Cohen currently holds a portfolio of 13 companies and has seen 7 successful exits so far.
14) Max Levchin
Max Levchin is an Ukranian born American entrepreneur and angel investor best known as the co-founder of PayPal and its lead contributor to the anti-fraud processes. His investments are focused on cryptography, product and user-interface design, security, web applications, multi-tier server and network design and implementation. He has also co-founded businesses such as Slide.com, HVF, and Affirm.
Among his many investments, Yelp is notable, where he was one of the earliest investors and their biggest shareholder for a while. Levchin has also invested in Evernote for almost a decade and served in Yahoo’s Board of Directors for three years. Professionally he is a software engineer and was the first executive from Silicon Valley to be appointed for a three year term to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board. He owns 71 portfolio companies and has seen 23 exits over the years.
15) Joe Caruso
Joe Caruso is an American investor and business mentor. He has also served as the interim CEO for companies in need of a strategic change. He is best known for his advisory roles as Board members of companies like ACT Medical, Acumenta, Adhesive Technologies, Boston Restaurant Associates, Boston University’s Photonics Center (advisory director), Coffee Connection, Colonial Mills, General Analysis, Haymarket Bank, Iconics, Zentox, the Turnaround Management Association (founding director, New England Chapter), the National Association of Corporate Directors (New England Chapter), the Association for Corporate Growth (New England Chapter) and WEST (Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology).
Caruso is currently a member of the Launchpad venture group and has been members of many other such groups investment groups for early stage companies. Over the years he has invested in 120+ companies and has seen close to 30 successful exits so far.
16) Carlos Blanco Vázquez
Carlos Blanco is a Spanish entrepreneur and angel investor considered to be one of the main contributors to the digital Spanish ecosystem. During his 25 years long career he has co-founded more than 20 companies and invested in over 120 startups, which include some very renowned names such as Glovo, Deporvillage, Meller, GOI, Holded, and many more.
He is best know as the co-founder of the Nuclio group and Conector Startup
Accelerator. He’s also launched an investment fund called Encomenda Smart Capital, a venture capital fund that aims to fund digital startups. Serving as the vice president of Barcelona Tech City and co-founder of First Tuesday, a pioneer entrepreneurs event in Spain. He has co-founded startups focused on digital solutions such as Housfy, Finteca, Typs, Verone, Casum, Proptech, DocFarma, Profe.com or Kintai. Furthermore, he has authored the book titled ‘Los principales errores de los emprendedores’ (The main mistakes of entrepreneurs).
17) Talmadge O’Neill
Talmadge O’Neill is a Los Angeles based serial entrepreneur, angel investor and crypto enthusiast. An ex-BCG consultant, he went on to become the co-founder of Juvo+ , Mezimedia, HTKR, and Vivo Holdings. He also holds an advisory position at Swan Bitcoin.
Some of the companies carrying his investments are 17hats, C2FO, MakeSpace, Seattle Bank, 500 Startups, Aloha, AngelList syndicates fund, BeachMint, Beepi, Breeze, Brewbird, Chegg, CloudTags, Clutter, Cola, Dash, Dronesmith Technologies, eSolar, Facebook, Hitch, Instamotor, ivee, LakeHawk technologies, Leadgenius, Life360, LinkedIn and many more. Talmadge has made over 170 investments over the years with 44 successful exits.
18) Christine Tsai
Christine Tsai based in San Francisco is the CEO and Founding Partner of 500 Startups. She began her career at Google and between 2013 and 2010 she held product marketing and operating roles at Google. This included monetization and developer products such as Google AdSense, Google Analytics, YouTube APIs and syndication, and Google Developer Platform Tools. In 2010 she became a Founding Partner to 500 startups and has played a pivotal role in expanding the company to over $600M in committed capital, 2,400 portfolio companies, and a dynamic group of entrepreneurs across 77 countries.
As an angel she has invested in 15 early stage companies that include brands like Barn & Willow, GoPillar, Headout, AstroPrint, ViralGains, Partender, CultureMap, Geekatoo, Friend Trusted, and MailLift. Besides, Christine has made 5 partner investments with Stack, Abound, ProSky, Alphaus, and AppZen. Christine also has 4 notable exits to her credit – Reesio, Geekatoo, CultureMap, and BinPress.
19) Jeff Clavier
Jeff Clavier is a Paolo Alto based angel investor who founded the seed funding company Uncork Capital in 2004. He is an experienced investor with more than two decades in the business. Some of the successful companies he has financed and mentored are Eventbrite, Sendgrid, Fitbit, Vungle, Mint.com, Postmates, Poshmark, Brightroll , LiveRamp, Wildfire, Bleacher Report, Sapho, and Vungle. Personally he has invested in 18 companies that include brands like ClassDojo, ADstruc, OneTrueFan, Ustream, Get Satisfaction, Kongregate, Grouply, and Mashery. Meanwhile he has entered into 198 partner investments backing companies like Inscribe, Memfault, Trace, Menten AI, Shippo, Molekule, Dronedeploy, Front, and Memfault.
Jeff Clavier is famously known as the “first large check and the longest relationship of a founding team.” He had also served as a board member of the National Venture Capital Association between 2015 – 2019. Jeff individually has 11 succesful exits to his credit that include companies such as Ustream, Onetruefan, Mint, Maya’s Mom, Mashery, Kongregate, Kaboodle, Grouply, Get Satisfaction, and Dogster.
20) Paul Singh
Paul Singh was one of the early partners of 500 Startups. Later he moved out to Washington DC and became the Chief Hustler of a unique seed capital funding organization called the Results Junkies. As part of this team, he travels across North America to the actual spots where startups begin their operations. His focus is on high-growth technology companies. He is also the founder of Disruption Corporation which specializes in providing tools, research, and advisory services to angel investors, venture capital funds, and other corporations. Paul is also currently serving as the Entrepreneur in residence with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and DHS/USCIS.
Personally Paul has invested in 7 companies – RepHike, Social Tables, Risk Pulse, Storm Pulse, Loku, Fitocracy, and Manpacks. ToutApp and Loku are the two partner investments to his credit in collaboration with 500 Startups. Paul’s two successful exits are Social Tables and ResHike.
Top 20 Angel Investors with Highest Number of Exits
In the investment world, “exit” refers to the stage in the funding cycle where investors cease their involvement in the business. Naturally, these decisions can’t be adhoc. An exit strategy must be built into the investment contract so that all stakeholders are aware of their timelines. Angel investments usually last 5 to 7 years. Keeping the exit in mind, operating strategies are designed. The two most popular exit modes are either acquisition by a business giant or an IPO. Either way, without a proper exit strategy in mind, both founders and investors could run into losses.
Here is a compilation of the top 20 angel investors who have had the highest number of successful exits. Smooth exits indicate a healthy investment. In many cases, early exits are preferred as well. To choose the best angel investors who not only provide funding, but also a business mentorship strong enough to guide a growing startup, the number of exits it has is a reliable indicator.
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Top 20 Angel Investors with Highest Number of Exit Rate
The ‘exit rate’ indicates how often an angel investor is exiting from its portfolio companies. This is directly connected to the fund holding periods. For example, imagine Angel A has invested in 5 companies with a planned exit after 6 years, and Angel B has invested in 5 companies with a 3 year exit for two companies and 6 yr exit for the other three. At the end of 6 years, Angel A will have the highest exit rate as he exits all five at a time.
However, the dynamics are much more complicated in real time investments. Every company in an Angel’s portfolio will have a customized exit plan and the timelines will overlap. Exit rates can be indicative of a higher chance for accepting new funding applications as the investor is quickly moving out of their existing holdings. Founders must research well as the flip side of this story is that longer holding periods indicate problems in the deal and hence difficulties at sale.
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