How Angel Squad Helps Cultivate a Long-Term Network
He’s also actively angel investing and leading his syndicate, I & Z Investment Club. We sat down with Ian to learn how Angel Squad acts as a launchpad into legit investments. We dive into:
- How Angel Squad enables hands-on deal experience
- The value of cultivating a long-term angel network
- Nurturing the growth of diverse angel investors
“The learning and the community were my major priorities in joining Angel Squad. Fast forward, and they’ve nailed these experiences — 10 out of 10 in both cases.”
Learn to invest by handling real-time deal flow
While he was already actively investing before joining Angel Squad, Ian remembers he was “really just winging it.”
In comparison, Angel Squad taught him actual frameworks from professional investors that could be reused and adjusted to evaluate unique startups.
These approaches can look as simple as a scorecard on an Excel spreadsheet to evaluate all the key factors of a potential investment, but they’ve dramatically simplified his process while leveling up his insights.
As Ian puts it: Angel Squad has taught him to define and leverage a set of concrete criteria to easily filter for potential projects.
Investing alongside some of the best in the industry
He made significant strides in learning to tactically assess a company by watching the experts at work: reviewing decks, working through their mental assessment models, and applying their individual investment frameworks and theses.
Of course, Angel Squad participants then get to implement these learnings and get their reps in by working with their cohort on actual Hustle Fund deals.
Even more, all of the content shared with Angel Squad members includes, as mentioned, real frameworks that can essentially be reworked and used as templates.
This streamlines the initial filtering and selection process and allows Ian to refocus his energy on the fun part of investing (i.e., the actual evaluation of and getting to know founders).
“The Hustle Fund team shares what works for them while being super concrete: working deck by deck, example by example. That has been super helpful.”
How Angel Squad helps cultivate a long-term network
The other key reason Ian joined Angel Squad was simply the value of having a community of people who share your passion for supporting excellent startups.
Building that network of connections, including founders and other investors (whether they’re fellow Squad members or other pro investors from the broader Hustle Fund community), has easily been one of his most valuable takeaways from the experience.
While he hasn’t been able to participate in in-person meetups, Ian highlights that the Hustle Fund network still feels naturally welcoming and invested in each member’s success.
By participating in various investor spaces, he’s also been able to cultivate circles at different levels: from friends to partners to mentors.
In addition to personal checks, Angel Squad has contributed to Ian launching a syndicate with his friend and investment partner, Zach Waterfield.
Much like Angel Squad, the two met through an investment community and began exchanging deals and constructive feedback. They soon realized they had similar backgrounds (like attending the same university), personal interests, and investment approaches.
So, they partnered up, began working on I & Z, and built a brand for themselves as investors.
Throughout this, having Hustle Fund’s support provided both Ian and Zach the resources and community they needed to grow their syndicate and successfully raise their first couple SPVs (without any major snags) in such a short period.
Nurturing the growth of diverse angel investors
This initiative aligns well with Hustle Fund’s larger mission: making angel investing a far more inclusive practice than it has been historically.
While no two Angel Squad members are especially similar, they all have two things in common:
- Everyone enters the community to build their angel investing skill set and network
- Everyone comes from a demographic and/or professional background that may not comprise the “typical” pedigree for angel investing
So, Angel Squad creates an educational community where participants from wildly unique backgrounds can find each other, create connections, and fund startups in line with their values.
The ultimate goal? Transforming the investing landscape into a much more equitable space that reflects consumers today.
Supporting underrepresented investors empowers startups by underrepresented founders.
“I found a lot of value-add in being in the Angel Squad community with people who all care about the same thing. That in itself presents a ton of value.”