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Real-Life Angel Investing Returns 2012–2016


I comprise been doing angel investing since 2012 after the Fb IPO. Since then I comprise invested in more than 150+ startups. 50+ of them are teach investments the set apart my establish is on the cap desk and 100+ are thru SPV (special goal vehicles) and crowd funding platforms love AngelList, FundersClub and MicroVentures. After I first started, there used to be no longer a amount of public information in regards to the returns of angel investing. 8 years later, there remains to be no longer a amount of public information about angel investing returns. Chances are returns fluctuate loads because the tip 10% of the investments resolve the performance of an angel portfolio. Due to this truth, the variance of the returns is extremely high.

Despite every part these years, I imagine stronger that angel investments as an funding class is price pursuing while you can even just comprise the money and the time. Whenever you happen to invest in a startup, the money without lengthen goes to the financial system to fetch up a industry, to set jobs and to if truth be told contribute to the trickle down financial system. Quite the opposite, investing in the final public market is barely procuring stocks from various investors. The cash doesn’t without lengthen fade into the financial system. To boot, I imagine angel investors can compose greater returns than the final public market thru diversification. We are going to accumulate to that later nonetheless let me originate with sharing my true-lifestyles angel investing returns.

For the return calculation, I am including the investments made between 2012–2016 to give sufficient time for the companies to earlier. It in overall takes a firm no no longer up to 5 years from founding to if truth be told snowball and damage out. Every firm I invested all the blueprint thru 2012–2016 will not be any no longer up to 5 years primitive now.

I am only including companies that I either without lengthen invested or invested no no longer up to $20Okay thru SPV or crowdfunding platforms. I am no longer including the colossal assortment of minute investments (average <$5000) because they are passive investments mostly thru AngelList syndicates. I function intend to jot down one more post about my syndicate and fund investments. Your whole investments listed listed below are investments I spent no no longer up to two hours vetting.

The following is your whole listing of 39 companies (in step with the elements mentioned above) I invested all the blueprint thru 2012–2016 and their newest multiples. I am publishing the listing here for transparency and accountability. I moreover want to demonstrate that folks don’t comprise to invest in Uber or Coinbase to build up correct sufficient returns. I am lumping companies into groups if they haven’t function no no longer up to 5X markup. I upright don’t if truth be told feel it’s the exact component to function to demonstrate in public that a firm lost or is more likely to lose 100% of my funding. Loss is portion of the game. For companies which comprise been around for an awfully lengthy time nonetheless are no longer in a correct trajectory to prevail (or failure), I marked them down to 10% of my funding amount. Chances are they are presumably price greater than that from the earnings or EBITA standpoint. However I am being devoted conservative for this glimpse. I am assuming the an identical amount is invested for every firm. In actuality, it varies somewhat nonetheless the general return remains the an identical.

9 out of the 39 investments may per chance be thought of breakouts. They all generate $10M+ annual flee price. KiwiCo and Reddit generate greater than $100M annual earnings already. Iterable and MatterPort are presumably reaching $100M in the following couple of years. I didn’t comprise any insider information here. I looked up these earnings numbers thru vivid googling. Their mixture multiple is 12.5 based completely on the valuation from basically the most newest financing spherical nonetheless they are all mute rising love weeds with correct unit economics so the extra life like multiple of 26.3 is presumably mute an underestimate.

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My Breakout Investments

14 of the final 30 companies are mute vigorous. The combination multiple is 1.49 based completely on very aggressive markdown. The companies are:

WonderSchool(Soldsie), BackTotheRoots, Volta, PicCollage, Postmates, FundersClub, Indinero, Hapara,, BountyHunter, BoxC,, Microventures, Onera Commerce

16 of the 30 companies are realized. The combination multiple is 0.61 realized. The companies are:

Moxxly, meetup, Balanced, pic6 Studios, Flurry, Evertoon, MightySignal, Blue Bottle Espresso, LoveWithFood, LaunchTrack, Beepi, SlidePay, Freshplum, Shopgenius, Bento, Munchery

For these that desire to undercover agent the numbers in spreadsheets, please focus on with this google sheet for additional amount crunching.

It’s somewhat laborious to give one amount for the returns as if they are correct. The real fact is these investments are illiquid and it’s laborious to pinpoint the exact consequence. However listed below are some estimates:

The exhaust of the conservative multiple of the breakout companies, the general return multiple will be (12.5*9 + 1.49*14 + 0.61*16)/39 =~ 3.67

The exhaust of the life like multiple of the breakout companies, the general return multiple will be (26.33*9 + 1.49*14 + 0.61*16)/39 =~ 6.86

We don’t know the set apart the closing return goes to land nonetheless I will be personally pleased with a 3X return and based completely on the estimate, it’s very likely the return will if truth be told be worthy elevated than that.

A attention-grabbing exercise will be to overview this return to public market returns. Particularly, to overview this return to SPY and QQQ. To function that, I sure to calculate the final public market multiple based completely on the return from January 1st, {Investment Yr} to Dec 31st, 2019. The standard thought is that if I were to invest in the money in SPY or QQQ pretty than firm X at the time, what’s my anticipated funding multiple from SPY or QQQ? As an instance, the funding multiple of SPY and QQQ from 2012 may per chance be 3.01 and 4.15 respectively and the funding multiple of SPY and QQQ from 2016 may per chance be 1.71 and 1.91 respectively. The exhaust of this, the blended multiple of SPY and QQQ based completely on my funding timing will be 2.29 and 3.04 respectively. In any measure, my angel investments mute function greater. Again, while you are drawn to crunching the amount please focus on with the spreadsheet.

I protect in mind myself a engrossing average angel investor. I don’t protect a high profile so my deal flows are presumably no longer amazing. I didn’t invest in devoted hot companies love Uber or Coinbase. I was moreover if truth be told naive after I first left Fb and if truth be told had no thought about working a startup or gross sales or marketing and marketing. I was an engineer so I do know infrastructure, machine studying and whole stack engineering. However that’s all I knew after I left Fb. I comprise come a lengthy capability since then. I am a little amazed regardless of all these, I am mute generating acceptable returns.

For these that leaf thru the breakout listing, they are moreover engrossing worthy distributed. It’s no longer love I only invested in breakout companies in a rapid timeframe. Each 365 days between 2012–2016 I invested no no longer up to one breakout. From the 2nd half of of 2015, I did decelerate my angel funding tempo on account of a unique little one and a unique job I took in unhurried 2016. I picked up the tempo again in 2020 and I comprise made 16 teach investments this 365 days. I am engrossing certain that no no longer up to one of them will change exact into a breakout. However I will file support in 2025.

So why did it work? I am no longer going to pretend I knew Justin Zhu used to be going to be a startup celeb when he used to be pitching me in regards to the muse of Iterable. I only chatted with him for an hour sooner than deciding to invest. I moreover had no clue that KiwiCo can also change into so ubiquitous and my children fancy them. After I invested in HealthSherpa, they were known as and so that they desired to pivot the firm to make it work. My level is I don’t assume I comprise amazing judgment or the relaxation. In traditional, I attribute the exact returns to diversification and proximity to correct startup founders. Diversification is achievable by investing in 10+ companies a 365 days. Proximity to correct startup founders is more straightforward to build up at the 2nd since each person looks to be making funding choices thru zoom. My definition of correct startup founders is moreover engrossing straightforward. I love founders who can clearly communicate, whose progress to invested capital ratio is high(aka scrappiness), who know what they are doing and who are devoted vigilant about their spending. I terrorized a long way from founders who don’t seem like sober and who see attention and external validation too worthy. I’m in a position to confidently relate the total founders I without lengthen invested made earnest effort to make their firm work whatever the consequence.

It’s moreover price noting that 6 out of the 9 breakout companies I invested comprise female, immigrant or various founders vs 21 out of 39 all investments. It’s successfully documented that the FID founders outperform the non-FID founders. However I’m in a position to also thunder you that systemic bias mute exists very strongly at the present time and I look my willingness to invest in FID founders as an edge.

Would I imply angel investing as portion of your portfolio blueprint? For these that can also assign in the time and money to invest in somewhat just a few investments and don’t need liquidity, I extremely imply it. To boot to generating correct returns and investing money without lengthen into the financial system, the delight of seeing the hardworking entrepreneurs constructing amazing companies from scratch is unparalleled.

I listed all teach investments since 2020 at For these that are a startup founder searching out investments or a fellow investor desirous to alternate notes, function attain out!

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