The Compounding Value of Angel Squad's Investor Network
Azella Perryman is the VP of Customer & Sales Operations at Flyhomes, the proptech startup streamlining the search, purchase, and move-in process for even the newest of homeowners.
She also led teams at Lyft, DoorDash, and Square, and has recently started angel investing. We sat down with Azella to learn how Angel Squad was crucial to getting her foot in the door.
Our conversation dives into:
- The value of sharing a community with expert angel investors
- How Angel Squad’s network reach sets you up for future success
- Building and refining your first investment thesis with Angel Squad
“What got me interested in angel investing as a whole is how you’re deep in this tech world, hearing about all of these cool companies. And Angel Squad knows how to vet them, gain access, and invest.”
Breaking down barriers to early-stage investing
Azella first joined Angel Squad in part because she was unsure of what size and maturity company she wanted to work at next in her career. And she’s glad she did, because doing so led her to incredible opportunities to network, learn, and invest like a professional.
She was initially introduced to the community by a friend, who sold it as: “The buy-in is pretty low. And they vet every deal and resource before they give it to you.”
From there, she remembers how Angel Squad took her in with open arms.
It didn’t take long before she was fully immersed in their ecosystem, interacting directly with their extended network of founders and seasoned investors.
“The experience has been awesome,” summarizes Azella. “For example, we have a call every week where you get to actually check out deal flow and ask founders questions.”
The outsized value in a diverse community of experts
Before her experience with Angel Squad, Azella had truly never done anything like this.
It was inspiring for her to become part of a typically exclusive and inaccessible ecosystem. Today, she’s realizing she and her cohort actually hold the keys to the business.
Within months with Angel Squad, she internalized frameworks (supplied by some of the best in the industry) for asking founders the right questions and checking for the right health indicators.
And it wasn’t just novices like herself whom she got to collaborate with.
She emphasizes the privilege of learning from and even working with industry leaders like Elizabeth, one of Hustle Fund’s Co-Founders and GPs. “I remember reading her blogs and smart insights multiple times — and then also learning directly from being meetings with her.”
For Azella, something she’d previously seen as cutthroat and exclusive quickly morphed into something she was a core part of. And that was only the start of her journey with Angel Squad.
“With Angel Squad, it’s not just watching other people work on deals. It’s actually about absorbing crucial information and hands-on learning.”
The compounding value of Angel Squad’s investor network
Not only did Angel Squad offer Azella invaluable knowledge about the angel ecosystem, but it also fostered a friendly community for her where she felt both valued and challenged.
To best engage with her expansive Angel Squad community — from her immediate cohort to their wide-reaching network of industry pros — she asked questions. Lots of them.
She also quickly realized that she wasn’t the only person taking this approach.
One core part of Angel Squad is Squad Pals, a program designed to match individuals based on common investment interests and styles. The best part is it’s done entirely for you.
According to Azella, “They’ll just ping you and say, ‘Are you interested in any of these specific topics?’ If so, they easily connect you with someone who might know it inside and out .”
All in all, her Squad cohort quickly became one of the reasons she loved her Angel Squad experience so much — as well as one of the reasons she’s where she is today.
From your Squad cohort to Hustle Fund’s network
Her Squad’s greatest asset, by a wide margin, was the networking opportunity it offered.
Angel Squad offered Azella a large, diverse community of experts — people who’d been in investments or defining their respective fields for at least a decade.
The best part about the Squad was that it wasn’t “just the deal flow,” explains Azella.
It was “the connections, the extended networks that you can form so you have access to other deal flow,” even outside of Angel Squad.
It makes sense since the entire thesis of Angel Squad is setting up aspiring angels to go out and execute incredible investments on their own, while always having the support of their Squad community and Hustle Fund’s network.
An opportunity to leverage her current network for future deal flow and potential investments in other spaces? This was invaluable.
“I try to attend everything I can for Angel Squad. I signed up for Squad Pals and, whenever they come out, I’m going to the Wednesday meetings.”
Refining investment theses alongside Angel Squad
One of the most valuable takeaways from Angel Squad for Azella has been not just learning the investment basics — but also beginning to formulate her unique investment thesis.
For instance, she learned to shift her focus away from the startup and toward the founder, because that’s where the ultimate success (or failure) will come from.
She’ll ask herself questions that are less about the product and more about their mindsets.
- How do they handle adversity, like understanding the competition or having to pivot?
- How much are they looking out for the future and crafting a plan?
At the start of her angel investing, Azella was dedicated to interrogating standard metrics like ARR. These days, she’s focused on these soft qualities of founders that might go overlooked.
Beyond this, Angel Squad has taught her to build a portfolio that makes sense to her and that she believes in as an individual investor.
Ultimately, every investor has a unique set of expectations and passions.
Azella’s found that tapping into the investment opportunities that she wholeheartedly believes in has been one of her keys to success — and continues to guide her to this day.
“The more people you talk to about their processes, the better you can triangulate on what’s important to you and build a portfolio that makes sense for you.”