Angel Investor Definition

angel investor definition

Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest in small business owners, often receiving a portion of ownership in the company in return.

Key Takeaways

  • Angel investors are typically wealthy individuals who provide financial support to startup businesses in their early stages, often with personal funds.
  • Angel investors often provide funds to startups who prefer it to other financing methods that can be exploitative.
  • Angel investor support for startups encourages innovation, which has a positive effect on the economy.

What is an Angel Investor? 

An angel investor is a high-net-worth individual who provides financial backing for small startups and entrepreneurs. This type of investment is typically done in exchange for ownership equity in the company. Angel investors are often found among an entrepreneur’s family and friends, as they are more likely to have the resources to invest in a startup. The funds that angel investors provide can be used as a one-time investment to help the business get off the ground or as an ongoing injection to support and carry the company through its difficult early stages.

Angel investing has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with many angel investors looking for promising startups with potential for growth. Angel investors can provide invaluable advice and mentorship to entrepreneurs, helping them navigate the complex world of starting a business. They also provide much-needed capital that can help businesses grow and succeed. With their expertise and resources, angel investors can be instrumental in helping startups reach their full potential.

Angel Investor Origins 

The term “angel investor” has its roots in the Broadway theater, where wealthy individuals would give money to help fund theatrical productions. This practice of giving money to support creative endeavors was then adopted by entrepreneurs seeking capital for their business ventures. The term “angel investor” was first used by William Wetzel, founder of the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. Wetzel conducted a study on how entrepreneurs gathered capital and found that angel investors were an important source of funding for many businesses.

How an Angel Investor Works 

Angel investors are individuals who seek to invest in the early stages of startups, providing more favorable terms compared to other lenders. These investments are usually risky and do not represent more than 10% of the angel investor’s portfolio, as they have excess funds available and are looking for a higher rate of return than those provided by traditional investment opportunities. Angel investors focus on helping startups take their first steps, rather than the possible profit they may get from the business. They are often referred to as informal investors, angel funders, private investors, seed investors, or business angels and provide an invaluable service to entrepreneurs who need capital but don’t have access to traditional sources of funding.

Why Angel Investors Matter

Angel investors can be a great source of capital for entrepreneurs who don’t have access to venture capital or other forms of financing. They provide much-needed resources that can help startups get off the ground and grow into successful businesses. Angel investors also provide mentorship and guidance that can be invaluable for entrepreneurs who are just starting out. Angel investments can be a great way for entrepreneurs to gain access to capital without having to give up too much equity in their company.

The Disadvantages of Angel Investors 

Angel investors can be a great source of funding for entrepreneurs, but there are some disadvantages to consider before taking on an angel investor. One of the biggest drawbacks is that angel investors typically want a large percentage of your company in exchange for their investment. This means that business owners could end up giving away 10% to 50% of their company in order to get the funds they need. This can be especially problematic if the business doesn’t succeed and the angel investor has more ownership than the original owner.

Another disadvantage is that when you take on an angel investor, you may lose control of your business if they determine it’s not succeeding. Angel investors often have a say in how the company is run, which can be difficult for entrepreneurs who are used to making all their own decisions. It’s important to think carefully about how much equity you’re willing to give away in exchange for funding because if you give too much, you may not own your company anymore if things don’t go well.


Angel investors are wealthy individuals who offer financial support to small business owners and entrepreneurs. In exchange for equity in the corporation, this form of investment is usually completed. Typically, an entrepreneur’s family and friends are the best sources of angel investment, as they usually have the funds to finance a startup. Angel investors can give businesses a one-time infusion of money for a start-up or an ongoing supply of capital to help them survive challenging times.


Who can be an angel investor?

Angel investors can be anyone who has the financial means and desire to invest in startups. This type of funding is often preferred by cash-strapped startups because it is less predatory than other forms of financing. Angel investors typically receive equity in return for their investment, which can be beneficial if the startup succeeds and grows into a profitable business. Furthermore, angel investors often provide valuable advice and mentorship to entrepreneurs, which can help them navigate the early stages of launching a business.

How do you find an angel investor?

Finding an angel investor can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step is to focus your search geographically. Many angel investors prefer to invest in businesses that are close to home, so you should look for someone within 50 miles of your location. This will give you the best chance of finding an investor who is interested in your business and willing to provide the necessary capital. Once you’ve narrowed down your search geographically, you can start looking for industry associations and digital platforms that specialize in connecting entrepreneurs with angel investors. By researching these options thoroughly and taking advantage of the resources they offer, you can increase your chances of finding an ideal angel investor for your business.

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