AngelCentral End-year Review: A review of Angel Investing returns on our Startups

AngelCentral is a community of angels that started off as an informal grouping back in 2017. In 2018, we formalized into a company in order to be more systematic and deliberate in what we do for angels. 

Our vision is to build a community of high quality angels in ASEAN, with angel members who don’t just do well as investors but also do the right thing by startups and founders. We provide lots of learning, deal flow and syndication services.

Today we have about 140 angel members and review 700 startups annually. Cumulatively, our club has funded over 20+M since inception. 

A key strength of our community is that we curate and only invite suitable startups for our pitches. We run 10-11 pitches a year for 40-45 startups. Most of the resultant funding whether direct or via syndicates are triggered by these pitches. (A further 70-80 startups are featured for our members to discover on the AngelCentral platform.) 

Hence it is natural that one common question asked is how effective is our curation/pitch selection? We see 2 ways to answer the question. First is to look at all the older startups from 2017 to 2019 who pitched and see how many have either grown nicely or had a successful upround. This will allow us to get a qualitative sense of curation though there are no real benchmarks to compare against as there are no single year VC TVPI or IRR calculations to match against. Second is to look at the 20 syndicates our angels have successfully led and measure the returns. For this exercise, we can compare against the 2018 VC vintage.

Pitch Cohort Qualitative Analysis

AngelCentral has analyzed all the 104 startups that we have invited for pitching from 2017 to 2019. We exclude those in 2020 and 2021 because they are just funded and probably still are executing their angel/seed round raise deliverables. 

  • “Upround” is counted so long as there is new money raised at higher valuation; Can be any instrument but the raise must be of minimum USD$100K or more;
  • “Doing well” is counted if the startup has grown annual revenue to above USD1M but has no fund raising activity;
  • Data sources: from ACRA directly, ACRA based platforms, VC fund reports, news media, and/or company web sites etc. 

We are happy to report that many pitching startups are thriving. This is an indication of underlying market strength and also our curation ability. Take a look at the table below.

2017 2018 2019
Total # of startups that pitched at AngelCentral pitches  17 41 46
Upround / Doing well 8 8 9
Notable Uprounds Homage, EngageRocket Neuron, SeeMode, Nimbus ParcelPerform, Adeasy

Clearly 2017 was an exceptional year with almost half of the cohort having an upround as of 3Q2021. For 2018 and 2019, it is lower at about 20-25% and is probably a case of the startups needing more time to grow into their next round. Time will tell. Of note, Homage, Parcel Perform and Neuron are Series B or C round startups that are making waves in their respective spaces and are continuing to grow rapidly. 

Looking ahead to 2020 and 2021 pitch cohorts, we can already see some good potential startups that have or will raise uprounds that are multiples of pitch time valuations. Some 2020, 2021 names our angels funded include Rara Delivery, Motorist, Fonos, PropertyScout, Ion Mobility etc.

Syndicate Returns Analysis

Next, we analyzed all the 20 startups that we helped our Angels create syndicates for. Syndicated deals have deeper curation by the lead Angels on top of the usual curation done by AC partners. 

Some assumptions made :

  • Same amount invested per syndicate
  • Invest in all 20 syndicates since June 2018 to 1Q2021
  • Upround is based on new financing valuation or exceptional revenue growth
  • Data sources from ACRA, ACRA based platforms, VC fund reports, news media, company web sites etc. 

We are happy to report that if one participated in every syndicated startup deal, the performance is pretty good. Take a look at the tables below.

2018 2019 2020 End 1Q2021
# of syndicates 3 7 8 2
Sample Startups Neuron, Nimbus ParcelPerform Rara Delivery, PropertyScout Fonos


Data as of end 1Q2021 TVPI
AngelCentral Syndicates 1.54
Global VC (Median) 1.38
Global VC (Top Quartile) 1.68

Nb: All TVPI numbers are nett of fees.Global VC performance numbers are from Pitchbook surveys.

Comparing against global VCs, our syndicates as a whole have generated returns that lie between the upper quartile and the median. This is a good endorsement of the quality of our lead angels who are basically picking startups better than the average VC. Unfortunately, there is no data on ASEAN seed VCs that will allow us to compare against our direct VC peers. But looking at the numbers by themselves, a TVPI of 1.54 with an IRR above 20% is good returns for a 3 year old fund by any measure. It will be interesting to continue tracking this in the years ahead as the startups mature even more. 

In summary, based on the above pitch cohort qualitative analysis and AC Syndicate returns analysis, the data shows that our curation is working and is of good quality at AngelCentral. We believe as our community grows and we help each other find and evaluate startups better, the curation will only get better with time. So if you are keen to learn more about angel investing and want to join a group of really passionate and sincere angel investors, do find out more about AngelCentral membership.

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