Venture Capital/Opinion/

Dispatches from a London VC: My first angel coming-out party

If you haven't been invited to an angel coming-out party, you might be a peasant.

Kelsey Chance via Unsplash
Rosie Wood

By Rosie Wood

Rosie Wood is a (fictional) associate at the VC firm Mild Conviction. It’s a generalist, multistage fund with offices in London, Paris and Verbier. They’re not like normal VCs — they don’t need to do a tonne of due diligence to decide on an investment. Instead, they’re simply looking for companies and founders that are pretty good. Because pretty good is usually good enough. Catch up on her other dispatches here. 

It’s been a busy last few weeks at Mild Conviction, especially given what’s going on with valuations and the market. Our managing partner Rupert Nickerson sent out a “black goose” memo to our portfolio this week urging them to preserve capital or risk falling into the death spiral — at which point we would forget everything we said about being founder-friendly. 

We did have a chance to get away from all the doom and gloom at an amazing offsite at Soho Farmhouse. The partners gave £300 in credit each to me and the other woman on the team to use at the spa, which I took full advantage of. My neck was definitely in need of a massage after long nights Excel-crunching how much our portfolio companies might actually be worth now. I’m not sure I appreciated the group spin session though: did not need to see our investor relations partner in those shorts…

But the event I was really looking forward to was my first-ever angel coming-out party. 

Angels are such an important source of dealflow for us, and speaking to them really helps me keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening at the earliest stages. Anyone who’s anyone is an angel now — everyone I see on Raya has it on their profile, like this very attractive “recovering neobank founder” I matched with last week — but what’s harder to find is an actual angel coming-out party. 

They happen when angels have a few deals under their belt and want to come out publicly about their investment plans. I hear Kylie Jenner is thinking about doing one when she’s done a few more deals. 

The one I was fortunate to be invited to was actually a couple’s angel coming-out party. Such a cute idea to invest with your partner! The wife works for WPP and the husband was an executive at a few unicorns in Europe, and they’ve done six deals since they started investing last year. 

It was held at this very nice library-type space in the Conduit Club with an intimate group of 30 people, including founders that the couple had backed, other angels and a few VCs like myself. We snacked on crudités and sipped cruelty-free kombucha while the couple shared their experiences from their first months as investors and presented the kinds of companies they wanted to work with going forward. 

They talked about how they wanted to back people-first and planet-first companies, and would only be doing SAFEs of $50m or above. 

But the most beautiful part of the ceremony was the commitment ceremony at the end. The entire group joined hands in a circle around the two angel investors while they read a vow to commit capital to the ecosystem and always remain founder-friendly. And then we read a pre-prepared response, promising to hold them accountable for their vow. Two people in the group who hadn’t started angel investing yet but wanted to also stepped into the circle to pledge that they would start angel investing soon too. I swear I got goosebumps. 

The rest of the evening we spent networking and gossiping about which revenue-based financing startups are looking shaky and which startups are about to have big layoffs. And it gave me kind of a weird feeling about all this angel exuberance…

Anyway, all of my loyal readers are invited to my angel coming-out when it happens. Can’t wait. 

Until next time, let me know how I can be helpful, 

Rosie

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