Building the World’s Largest Angel Investor Community Since 1997!
Maureen Smith from Women’s Millionaire interviews Jeff Barnes, CEO of the Angel Investors Network
In 2018 Jeff took over the CEO role at Angel Investors Network to help more entrepreneurs bring their products, services, and technology to the market as an advisor, mentor, coach, and venture fund manager. As an entrepreneur, two-time best-selling author, and CEO, Jeff enjoys helping business owners’ structure, systemize, and optimize their operations allowing them to scale quickly. As the manager of both the Angels & Heroes Venture Growth Fund and Angel Ventures Real Estate Fund, he finds opportunities for his investors to make great returns through angel and other private investment opportunities.
What is the mission of Angel Investors Network?
Angel Investors Network’s mission is to help individuals create wealth and abundance through entrepreneurship and angel investing. We are democratizing angel investing by giving individuals the tools, resources, and community they need to succeed as an investor!
We believe in making a positive impact in the world by helping entrepreneurs fulfill their missions leveraging angel investors and our community. In doing so, we create wealth and prosperity for the entrepreneur, the investor, the employees within every company we help fund, as well as their families and society around them. By helping enough people build successful and impactful businesses, we will make this world a better place for everyone.
What exactly does the Angel investors Network Do?
We are a training, education, and publication company helping people navigate the complex world of angel investing. We do this through our work with entrepreneurs, teaching them how to properly position their business to secure investors, along with marketing services to help them get in front of these investors when they’re ready. On the investor end, we educate and inform our members through our online programs and print publications as part of our Inner Circle.
How does an entrepreneur apply with their company to Angel Investors Network? Is there a cost to join for entrepreneurs?
Most entrepreneurs think “If I could just get in front of investors, my problems would all be solved!” Unfortunately there is a lot of work that goes into getting a company “investor ready”. This is exactly where our Inner Circle for Entrepreneurs is vital. We get every entrepreneur who comes through our program ready for investors by providing everything from online education and training to “done for you” marketing services to increase their exposure and likelihood of finding and securing investments. Costs start as low as $20 for our basic training and go up into several thousand dollars per month for entrepreneurs who are further along in their Series A investment rounds.
What are the main requirements that you look for with start ups? What are the main pieces should they submit in their pitch deck?
For AIN to promote a company to our investors requires a few things: first, do they have a $1 Billion+ potential market value? Many entrepreneurs fail to gain investment capital because they don’t really need it, or not that much anyways. Partly because their market doesn’t justify a potential $1 Billion value. So for starters, you want to shoot for the moon.
Second, you have to be in business for at least 12 months with operating history AND either have revenue or raised at least $500k on your own. If a company hasn’t achieved those milestones yet, that’s okay. Those are just the companies we would consider promoting to our Inner Circle members. However, anyone can get started learning the systems for as little as $97 per month and self-promote their business inside our Inner Circle without our involvement.
What criteria do you look for from entrepreneurs to determine if you are going to do the deal or not?
Beyond the criteria listed above, we need to understand the mentality and cohesiveness of the senior management team. Are they a good team to work with? Would I want to speak with them daily? Is their vision strong enough? And are they solving a big enough problem that people will pay for? If not, then it’s a hard sell at best.
Do you have regular events that entrepreneurs can go and partake in? How do they meet with the investors? Can they also meet online?
Through our Inner Circle, members can network, communicate, and meet online. Beyond that we have live “Shark Tank” style events called Pitch Tank where a small group of highly qualified companies can exhibit for three days and then pitch their business to investors live on stage. There’s a qualification process for this and it’s not meant for first time presenters or new companies that don’t meet our above criteria.
Where are the events and how often do you have them?
Last year (2019) we hosted four Pitch Tank events and a few smaller events as well. That was a bit too much honestly, so this year we’ve scaled back to two events: one in July and the other likely in December. These events are generally in Las Vegas and then in the NYC area.
What do you recommend as your best tips for preparing a pitch to the investors?
Know your audience. Are they new angel investors, or sophisticated VCs? The way you speak to them is dramatically different. Then, know your customers and the problems you are solving. Put real hard facts and numbers behind all of it to justify your valuation, and then, most importantly, wrap it all up in a story that helps people understand what you are doing and why they should be interested.
HELPING INVESTORS SUCCEED
How does a person become an Angel Investor? What is the criteria?
Anyone with a little money in the bank can technically be an angel investor. However, we suggest working with your financial advisors to not put too much of your liquid net worth at risk with angel investing. Beyond that, the criteria is that you have a willingness to work with and speak to the founders. Unlike a traditional Wall Street investment, you have access to the senior management team of a private company, and you should take full advantage of that before you ever consider an investment in a private company or a startup.
How does an Angel Investor get started with you?
The best way for anyone to get started with us is as an Inner Circle Member (https://angelinvestorsnetwork.com/innercircle/). Inside our member’s area you will learn how to get started as an angel investor, the most important characteristics to look for in a potential investment, and several different training modules on advanced topics like due diligence as well. Additionally, members receive our printed newsletter every month showcasing one potential investment opportunity and several other ways to generate wealth outside of the traditional avenues.
What are the benefits to the Angel Investors?
The biggest benefit to joining our Inner Circle is the community, hands down. Our members like to help each other, network, and even make investment decisions together. Beyond that, you will see dozens of investment opportunities every single month and we will show you how to review pitch decks to determine if it’s a good opportunity or not.
What is the best way for them to get more education on investing and choosing the right deals to invest in?
Beyond our Inner Circle, the best way is to attend local angel group events to watch pitches and network. If you want to fast track your results, the best is to build your knowledge base, review dozens of quality deals, and pull the trigger on one or two. Beyond your knowledge and network, the next most important thing to look for is Quality Deal Flow. You only get quality deal flow by looking at dozens, if not hundreds of potential investments, which is why we have a member’s area and forums inside our Inner Circle where you can share your ideas and even potential deals.
How do you surround yourself with the best investors in the industry? Where should one go to meet them?
The best place to meet investors is at live events. Events where companies are presenting their opportunities are the best for you to learn and develop your skills and network. Beyond that, online forums and communities like ours can help you engage and learn without the hassle of travel.