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How Does Starlight Select Presenting Entrepreneurs for its Angel Network?

Each month, we receive inquiries from about 100 entrepreneurs interested in reaching out to our angel investor network of about 30,000 people.  Usually, a dozen are appropriate and we invite them to present.  About six do so, and the others decide to meet a few milestones first and then circle back later. What are our criteria for selection and why?

Since 2000, the geographies, stages, and sectors that resonate most with our angel investors are:

  • Expansion stage companies (already selling products or services, even if not yet profitable, and/or they have already raised a round or two of funding)

  • Most are in the USA and Canada, and 

  • Most are in the industries of real estate, property technology, and other technologies.  

We do invite some exceptions.  Geographically, we have featured companies from the UK, Australia, Norway, Israel, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil.  Stage exceptions can include a brand new property development by a long time developer or a spin-off of an existing company.  Industry exceptions include companies brought to our attention by well respected referral partners.  For example, we have presented to our angel network innovative companies in cannabis, food products, and aviation.

What about Startups?  We are happy to take their calls, but we do not invite them to present.  The most promising of these, we invite to attend our conferences as observers, so we can get to know one another better.  In the future, some of them return as presenters.   In the meantime, we can refer them to companies we know that do great work with startups, including advisors, accelerators, incubators, service providers, and pitch venues.   It is always a good idea for startup entrepreneurs to build their network of professional resources, skills, and marketing documents before seeking investment.   

By what criteria do the angels engage with a presenting company?  This varies widely, because Starlight Capital does not have a fund pooled by the investors.  Rather, all of them make their own financial decisions.   Some prefer to serve as an advisor or a board member of a company before committing any funds and to remain actively involved.  Others are content to be passive investors.  Some specialize in particular geographies or industry niches; others are more open.   Some prefer equity investments; others make loans based on collateral or receipts. 

Final words:  The benefits of presenting to Starlight’s network of angels extends beyond the brief presentation and Q and A.  It includes the database of everyone who registered to meet the registered presenters so that the entrepreneurs can follow up on their own.  This contact list is not a “one and done” document, but a long term and multiply useful resource.  Presenters gain entrée to these warm investor leads now and in the future, for board members, advice, and referrals, as well as investment now or in the future. 

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