Investing abroad may force you to change the typical role you play as an Angel. When you’re investing locally, you might find it comforting to know you can drop by the office to meet the team and play a small operational role where needed. But it’s very hard to get the same sense of security from another location. The first question Stephan Reckie, Angel Investor and executive director at GEN Space asks is, “Are you comfortable with remote investing? Ask yourself, can I really be comfortable not being day-by-day?”
To some Angels that answer will be no, but Jeremy Yap, a financier turned Angel investor in dozens of companies across the world (including a couple unicorns) looks at this to his advantage. When he first got started in Angel investing, his mentor told him there are three different types of Angel Investors. As he remembers it, “There’s smart money, there’s dumb money that thinks they’re smart, and then there’s dumb money. The first and the third are just as good.”
Yap decided to use that advice to his competitive advantage and branded himself as purely a cheque writer in his early days. With now around 200 founders in his portfolio, he’s clearly learned a lot about running startups, but doesn’t consider himself “smart money” in the traditional sense. Instead of being the Angel that will know exactly how to set up a SaaS sales team, today he considers his value-add is his international network, fundraising advice, and personal relationships with his founders.
To Yap, being clear about your intentions before going in on any investment is key.