Understanding Angel Investing Terms A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re considering entering the world of startup investments, understanding angel investing terms is crucial. Angel investing offers the potential for significant returns, but it comes with its own set of unique terminology. In this guide, we’ll demystify these terms and help you navigate the exciting realm of angel investing.

Startup Valuation

Startup valuation is the process of determining the worth of a startup company. It’s a critical factor for angel investors because it directly affects how much equity they receive in exchange for their investment. Valuation methods include the market approach, income approach, and asset approach.

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Convertible Note

A convertible note is a popular form of startup financing. It’s a debt instrument that converts into equity at a future date, typically when the startup raises a subsequent round of funding. Convertible notes often come with a conversion discount or a valuation cap to incentivize early investors.

Due Diligence

Before investing in a startup, angel investors must conduct due diligence. This involves thoroughly researching the company’s financials, market potential, team, and legal documents. Due diligence helps investors assess the risks and opportunities associated with the investment.

Exit Strategy

An exit strategy is a plan outlining how investors will eventually cash out of their investment. Common exit strategies include selling the startup to a larger company (acquisition) or taking the company public through an initial public offering (IPO).

Portfolio Diversification

Angel investors often build a portfolio of startup investments to spread risk. Diversification involves investing in multiple startups across different industries or stages of development. It can help mitigate the risk of individual startup failures.

Term Sheet

A term sheet is a non-binding agreement that outlines the key terms and conditions of an investment. It covers aspects like the investment amount, valuation, equity ownership, and investor rights. Negotiating a favorable term sheet is a crucial step in the investment process.

Investor Syndicate

Many angel investors join forces in groups known as investor syndicates. These syndicates pool their resources and expertise to make larger investments in startups. Joining a syndicate can provide access to a broader range of investment opportunities.

Pitch Deck

A pitch deck is a presentation that startups use to pitch their business to potential investors. It typically includes information about the problem the startup solves, its market, team, and financial projections. Reviewing a startup’s pitch deck is an essential part of the due diligence process.


Runway refers to the amount of time a startup can operate before running out of money. It’s a critical metric for investors because a longer runway provides the startup with more time to achieve milestones and secure additional funding.

Exit Multiple

The exit multiple is a measure of the potential return on investment. It’s calculated by comparing the exit valuation of a startup to the initial investment amount. A higher exit multiple indicates a more favorable return for investors.

Angel investing can be both rewarding and challenging, but understanding the associated terminology is a significant first step. Familiarity with concepts like startup valuation, convertible notes, due diligence, exit strategies, and portfolio diversification will empower you to make informed investment decisions in the dynamic world of startups.