Angel Syndication: Building relationships, it’s all about karma!

Each angel group has its own unique processes, personalities, and traditions.  So at first blush you would think getting two or more angel groups to collaborate on a deal is nearly impossible!  Luckily the problems, and solutions, are  the same for syndicating individual angels and groups of angels.

In Greater New England we have created a series of events that build the excellent syndication environment we now enjoy.

  1. Short monthly conference calls (45 minutes) of angel group leaders.  A few important things happen on these calls.
    • We use organizing regional in-person syndication meetings as the excuse to get together.  Having a common, recurring task gives us something to work on together.  Doing so builds us group-leader to group-leader relationships.
    • We discuss 1-2 topics of mutual interest, usually sharing of best practices.
    • We also share quick “pitches” of deals we are trying to get help with.  “I have a medical device startup with a spinal implant.  We’re impressed with the team but need to chat with someone with domain expertise.”  If a manager on the call can help they “raise their hand.”  The Asker follows up with the Hand Raiser offline. The Asker appreciates the help and the Hand Raiser gains social capital.  If the Asker treats the Hand Raiser’s contact with respect, and especially if they return the favor, social capital is earned in return.
  2. Thrice-yearly in-person syndication meetings.  These meetings are fairly short, 1/2-3/4 of a day.
    • The agenda is dominated by entrepreneur presentations and breakout sessions.  The presenters are all deals backed by at least one angel group, almost always walking in th door with a signed term sheet.
    • A minority of time is allocated to 1-2 guest speakers.  These speakers help communicate best practices so as to help get angels from many different groups to start using similar processes and norms on terms.
The calls build relationships primarily between leaders and percolate best practices from the top down.  The in-person meetings use exciting deals as the draw to bring leaders AND angels from our groups together.  Now we start self organizing based on which DEALS we like instead of which GROUP we are from.  And so inter-group, angel-to-angel relationships start to form, allowing bottom-up change.  The relatively high frequency of these meetings is key to allowing enough interactions for the relationships to gain momentum.
Do that over and over, and the magic starts to happen :).
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One thought on “Angel Syndication: Building relationships, it’s all about karma!

  1. Pingback: Angel Syndication: Best practices « Paul G. Silva

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