Angel Syndicates: Unleashing a New Era of Startup Investing

Unlike traditional VC funds, LPs retain control over investment decisions. Syndicates streamline fundraising, offer curated deals, but profit sharing concerns some investors.

Manoj Singh
20 May 2023
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The Syndicate

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In the dynamic world of Startup investments, there is a rising trend that has caught the attention of both entrepreneurs and investors alike: Angel Syndicates. These syndicates bring together a pool of individuals who join forces to invest in promising Startups, guided by experienced operators known as General Partners (GPs). This article explores the concept of angel syndicates, their key differentiators from traditional venture capital funds, and the pros and cons associated with this approach.

Beyond VC Funds: The Power of Angel Syndicates in Startup Financing

Unlike traditional VC funds, where Limited Partners (LPs) entrust their funds to GPs for investment decisions, angel syndicates operate with a distinct model. In an angel syndicate, LPs retain full control over their investment decisions, evaluating each opportunity individually. This level of autonomy allows LPs to choose whether or not to invest in specific deals, setting angel syndicates apart from the traditional VC structure.

How Angel Syndicates Invest in Startups?

Another distinguishing characteristic of angel syndicates is the relatively lower investment amounts per deal, often starting from Rs 1 Lakh in India. Unlike VC fund LPs, syndicate LPs are not required to commit capital upfront. Instead, they have the flexibility to invest on a case-by-case basis. GPs of the syndicate curate and present investment opportunities to LPs, who then decide whether to participate. In return for their efforts, syndicate GPs receive a Carry, which is a share of the profits similar to GPs in VC funds.

Investing with Wings: The Advantages of Angel Syndicates in Startup Funding 

Angel syndicates offer several advantages to both founders and investors. For founders, syndicates streamline the fundraising process, saving time and reducing paperwork. Instead of seeking investments from numerous individual investors, founders can secure funding from a single syndicate. By signing just one term sheet and having only one shareholder (the syndicate), the founders can avoid the complexities of negotiating with multiple parties. This proves especially beneficial in the early stages of Startups when most VC funds may not yet show interest.

Choosing the Right Angel Syndicate

Startups also prefer syndicates associated with well-known GPs due to their extensive networks and expertise. GPs devote their time to comprehensive research and due diligence before presenting investment opportunities to LPs. This in-depth analysis ensures that syndicate members are presented with curated and promising deals. Such dedicated efforts are often challenging for individual investors who lack the reach and bandwidth to conduct thorough research on numerous potential investments.

Disadvantages of Angle Syndicate

However, angel syndicates are not without their drawbacks. Some individuals may find the profit share, known as Carry, to be a deal breaker. Giving away a portion (typically 10-20%) of the profits to syndicate GPs may deter certain investors. Prominent angel investors, such as Kunal Shah, Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal, and others, can afford this arrangement as their reputation alone attracts Startups, even for smaller investment amounts. The association with such influential angels brings valuable publicity and validation to Startups. Nevertheless, for most investors, joining a reputable syndicate becomes essential to access the best deals and avoid missing out on lucrative opportunities.                                                          

Breaking the Mold: Angel Syndicates Changing the Face of Startup Investments

Angel syndicates have emerged as an innovative and efficient way to invest in Startups. With their flexibility, streamlined processes, and curated investment opportunities, syndicates have become an attractive option for both founders and investors. While there may be concerns surrounding profit sharing and missed opportunities for solo angels, joining a reputable syndicate remains a recommended approach for individuals embarking on their angel investing journey. As the Startup ecosystem continues to evolve, angel syndicates pave the way for increased collaboration and support, fostering the growth of promising ventures in the ever-competitive landscape of entrepreneurship.