23 Places to find your first investor

Does your new idea need an angel on its shoulder? Here's where you should look.

By Lisa Calhoun


More angels than ever find their wings. People who make direct, high-risk investments in brand new companies—angels—are a growing army that contributed $24 billion last year to new companies at the early or idea stage. As public markets show their volatility, more people with discretionary, investable cash are wondering if perhaps they are their own best interest rate.


Pipeline Fellowship has just accepted its last applications for its class of new angels. Soon, Pipeline will deploy a fresh battalion of angels into the innovation economy.

Female Funders by founder Kate Hague also recently joined a growing list of angel organizations that democratize the process of direct investing. FemaleFunders is challenging 1,000 new women investors to step into their program and learn to be angel investors.

Groups like Pipeline Fellowship, FemaleFunders, Golden Seeds, and Springboard are swelling the ranks of the angel corps. That means you need to educate yourself as a entrepreneur about what you need in an angel. Conferences, like the Angel Summit recently in Chattanooga, are also cropping up to help you connect in person. Digital groups like Angelist and Gust make it easier to spot the preferences of direct investors that help you grow into profitability heaven.

What are you looking for in your angel investor?

  • Do you want an industry expert—maybe someone with more experience in a discipline like retail slotting, healthcare commercialization, or real estate to coach you through the curves?
  • Are you more into capital with fewer strings?
  • Maybe you want coaching in how to be the vision or voice of your company, but not necessarily the operational core?

Here are some of the opportunities to explore angel investing and find your fit as an angel or as an entrepreneur.

Places to find your angel:

  • 37 Angels—a community of more than 50 women investors with early-stage investment education as a mission.
  • Alliance of Angels—Seattle-based early-stage investors in startups based in the Northwest, they also provide resources and education.
  • AngelList—only 9% of the angels on AngelList list are women. However, as an angel, you can follow a noted investor and join deals for as little as $1000, so it’s a great way to get your digital toes dunked.
  • Angel Summit—AngelSummit convenes summits of each region’s most notable angels, VCs, community leaders, and corporate innovators to explore best practices in startup and angel investing from every perspective. A great “get to know the ropes” environment for angels and entrepreneurs alike.
  • Atlanta Technology Angels—Atlanta Technology Angels supports high-growth, early-stage businesses primarily based in the Southeast.
  • Band of Angels—Band of Angels is a group of Menlo Park-based tech executives who support and mentor early-stage technology companies.
  • Broadway Angels—A group of world-class female investors and business executives (GPs or senior executives) with decades of experience investing in and managing the best technology companies in the world, they specialize in small investments in the IT sector.
  • Central Texas Angels —Has invested 62 million to date in over a hundred companies, and is among the nation’s top 5 most active groups. Located in Austin.
  • Desert Angels—Based in Tuscon, Desert Angels invests across the Southwest. They have contributed over $36 million in about 85 presenting companies.
  • Future Investor — Great free courses on angel investment online for those wanting to learn more before taking the plunge.
  • Golden Seeds—A New York City-based network of investors in female-founded companies in sectors that include consumer products, technology, software, and life sciences.
  • Hyde Park Angel Network—One of the Midwest’s largest angel organizations, Chicago-based Hyde Park’s over 100 members provide a forum for entrepreneurial-minded members to invest in early-stage businesses in the Midwest.
  • Investors’ Circle—Over 200 San Francisco-based angels who have propelled nearly $200 million into over 300 enterprises dedicated to improving the environment, education, health, and community.
  • Launchpad—Out of Boston, this is a large “top 3 most active” angel group that prefers to invest in very early stage.
  • Maine Angels has invested 13 million since 2003 and likes to mentor early stage companies.
  • New York Angels—Made up of over 100 entrepreneurs, CEOs, venture capitalists and other NYC-based business leaders who invest as a group between $250,000 and $750,000 in early-stage technology companies in the Northeast.
  • North Coast Angel Fund—A Cleveland, Ohio based firm, North Coast invests in Ohio-based technology startups.
  • Ohio TechAngel Funds—Almost 300 angels based in Columbus, Ohio who support early-stage Ohio-based information technology, advanced materials, and medical technology companies.
  • Pasadena Angels—Over 100 angel investors at this Altadena, Calif.-based group provide up to $750,000 in early-stage and seed financing to startups in southern California.

The angel community is as dynamic and diverse as entrepreneurship itself. Please message us with information on any angel communities and angel organizations I might have missed.


This article first appeared in Inc.com.

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