Monday, January 20, 2020

How to Screen Potential Angel Investments - Ren Carlton Investment Criteria - Doing Your Research as an Angel Investor

Angel investors can earn high rewards, but it is not without risk. There are 400,000 businesses started in the U.S year. How can you choose the right ones for investment? Here are my selection criteria:
- Scalable
- Fast path to profitability and positive cash flow
- Not a lot of hard assets
- 10X potential return in 3-5 years
- Moat to protect against competition
- Unfair advantage
- Access to capital
- Likable founders with skin in the game
- Hot industry
- Low regulation
- Avoid companies with legal risks, especially ones with risk of imprisonment
- Low startup costs
- Ability to leverage technology
- Ability to compete with the FAANG companies if they enter your market, Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX); and Alphabet (GOOG) (formerly known as Google)

Geographic convenience and industry familiarity are also nice. It is also important to note that not all of my investments meet all of the above criteria. It is not much fun being an entrepreneur if you cannot break some rules--even if those rules are self-imposed.

Traditional due diligence methods are often ineffective when analyzing early-stage businesses because you are frequently investing in the future. Reviewing financial information and customer data is not possible when they don’t exist.

Before investing, we evaluate several aspects of the company or concept: the business model, the game plan, the leadership and the potential return. Key goals during the evaluation process include confirming that the entrepreneurs are exceptionally talented and that there is a need in the marketplace for what they offer. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

What’s being offered? 

The startup’s product or service should be clearly differentiated relative to competitors. It should fulfill an important customer need and compete in a market that has solid potential. Most importantly, the target audience should be excited about the product and be able to articulate how the product will make their lives better.

Does the game plan make sense? 

The startup should have a business plan with reasonable goals. The plan for investing angel funds should make sense and be based in sound logic. The startup should have a scalable model and attractive unit economics. You need to ensure that the amount of cash raised will be enough to cover the length of time required to firmly establish the business. A startup that runs out of cash will surely fail.

How competent is the leadership? 

Successful startups are led by a founder or a team with the right experience, talent, and vision. Important character traits include confidence, fortitude, creativity and determination. Having the ability to identify talent and build a strong team is critically important.

What’s the potential return? 

Tanya Prive, the co-founder of 1000 Angels, provides some helpful perspective on the returns you should expect from your startup investments: “We focus solely on highly curated direct investments and aim to offer a well-balanced portfolio selection with startup investments that can yield an IRR (internal rate of return) of 25% or a cash-on-cash return of approximately 3X over 5 years and 9X over 10 years. Again, returns are never guaranteed and it is possible to lose all of your investment. Angel investing can yield binary results, meaning you can either enjoy a healthy return or lose everything. This is why it is important to build a diversified portfolio of startup investments that help mitigate the risk.”

Before making any investment decision, you may also want to talk to a CPA, attorney, and/or financial planner.

Do you need help screening your angel investment opportunities?  Our team can help you,

Have you dreamed of being on Shark Tank? Now is your chance.  Click here for more information.


Disclaimer:  This does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation of any security or any other product or service.  We are not offering any legal, investment, tax, or medical advice.  Please consult the appropriate professional before doing anything you learn from the content posted on any of our digital properties.  All stories are based on true events, but are altered to protect the identity of the individuals involved.


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