How to Build Community as an Angel Investor
Adam Spector is the Founder and CEO at levy, the back-office, HR, compliance, and finance team for startups. They run your operations so your team can focus on building product and winning customers.
levy is Adam’s fourth business on top of the 100+ startups he’s invested in during his career in Silicon Valley. Previously, Adam served as Co-Founder and COO of AbstractOps, a platform unifying and automating back-office workflows, and remains as a Board Observer today.
For the first piece of this three-part series, we sat down with Adam to hear his two reasons why Angel Squad has been an unparalleled investing experience: unrivaled access and community.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to work with the Hustle Fund team and have them guide you through this scary, exciting journey of funding cool tech startups.”
Expanding access to investing for non-traditional backgrounds
Adam got his start in investing roughly ten years ago. He had been in touch with wealthy folks on the East Coast who had money to invest but little access to incredible tech startups.
He was in San Francisco — with more than enough access to up-and-coming companies. The rest was history, and he formed his own small syndicate before they had become the norm.
Years later, Adam looks back and emphasizes the reality of it: Most people who are interested in investing don’t have the privilege or luxury he did to break into the space.
Angel Squad: Breaking down inaccessibility in investing
In Adam’s own words: “What I love about Angel Squad and the beautiful work they do is how they grant access to investing that most people just wouldn’t have otherwise.”
And that could be for any number of reasons:
- Maybe you have the cash but no startup ecosystem where you live
- You might not know the right people to facilitate access to deals
- Or perhaps you don’t even know what or whom to look for
The last scenario is especially relevant for Adam. He built his investing muscles over time through simple practice, but it was more painful, expensive, and solitary than it had to be.
That’s why he’s been floored by his time with Angel Squad and our operating thesis:
From the very start, up-and-coming investors — coming in from unique backgrounds and with varying experience levels — are shown the ropes by industry vets who’ve seen and done it all.
And this only reflects the broader trend to come of highly diversified angel investing.
“The democratization of access to investing through Angel Squad, syndicates, and everything else growing in the ecosystem — it’s a wonderful thing.”
Why community and networks are crucial for angel investors
For angels or other independent investors, the close-knit community of Angel Squad becomes essential because investing requires seeing lots of companies and interacting with people with hard won expertise.
Community enables like minded investors all over the world to come together to invest in startups. If you're located outside of a major hub, an angel group gives you exposure to more deal flow and perspectives to level up as an investor faster.
Adam has long questioned why angel investing fails to take off in other cities with tech startup scenes, especially when compared to Silicon Valley.
He eventually landed on two essential elements of angel investing: community and networks.
For instance, if you call yourself an angel investor in SV or New York City, there’s a good chance that’ll carry weight. People generally understand the work and might even know other angels.
As you venture away from those hubs, your chances of meeting individuals with knowledge of the tech investing ecosystem are slim.
And even investors in other cities are more likely to ask for robust five-year business plans or be wary of startup investing altogether. All around, it’s a different cultural mindset and approach.
At the end of the day, this is a space dominated by social networks. Without a community — whether through Angel Squad or some other close-knit network — angel investing cannot thrive.
How Angel Squad encourages diversified investing
Angel Squad encourages members to think in small bets by building diversified portfolios.
Members get access to companies in the Hustle Fund portfolio that the GPs have decided to follow on with, derisking investments and sharing access to the highest potential companies Hustle Fund has invested in.
For Adam, the magic of Angel Squad is finding a whole community that not only “gets it” but is right there to learn and invest alongside you.
As he puts it: “Hustle Fund gives you a network where it is normal to honestly say, ‘I could very well lose money on this. But this is really cool and I’m thrilled.’”
“Investing communities like Angel Squad bolster an ecosystem trying every day to make the world a better place. It’s a beautiful opportunity to be a part of this.”