Originally inspired by the famous BBC TV show Dragons’ Den, where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas in front of famous British investors, global angels network Angels Den focuses on the same sort of quick decision-making for investments in real life.
I recently jumped at the opportunity to join Angels Den as regional manager in Dubai. Founded in 2007, Angels Den connects entrepreneurs with investors through a series of “speed funding” events. Wamda previously chatted with Angels Den’s founder Bill Morrow at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
Angel investors can apply to join the network and, after a background check, are welcome to join events in their region. Applications are likewise open to any startup or company that has a functioning prototype; concepts in the idea stage are usually weeded out. Angels Den will select the most investment-ready startups and invite them to join the network and next event in their region. Once an entrepreneur is accepted, their chances at securing investment are actually fairly high: 30-40% of entrepreneurs usually raise money at the event.
The Speed Funding events take place in more than 10 cities around the world; London headquarters is the most active branch with 2 events per month. Here’s how the events work:
- Each entrepreneur has 3 minutes to explain their business concept and 3 minutes to answer investor questions.
- Usually interviews are done on a one-to-one basis (one investor with one entrepreneur), once the bell sounds, entrepreneurs move to the next table and repeat the same process with a different investor.
- The number of investors often exceeds the number of entrepreneurs, so tables sometimes have more than one investor.
- After the Speed Funding session ends, a networking event starts and investors can approach the entrepreneurs to chat further and possible decide on investment.
For those that don’t close a deal at the event, they still have the benefit of getting access to the huge global network of investors on Angles Den’s online portal. Usually companies that pitch at Angels Den events are looking for between US $100,000 to $1 million.
Angels Dens’ first event in Dubai will be held on June 20, 2013 with a second event in September. Whether you’re an entrepreneur with a great company or an investor looking for opportunities in the region, consider applying for Angels Den. To register as an entrepreneur, follow the steps below:
- Submit a brief about your company here (if you need guidance, send an email to Nawaf[at]angelsden.com).
- The Angels Den committee will go through all submitted applications, and select the best.
- If selected, Angels Den will contact you and ask for an interview with your team.
- A final 10 companies will be selected to attend the Angels Den event to pitch in front of investors.
Applications are open to tech and non-tech startups alike; selected entrepreneurs who aren’t from the UAE must cover their own expenses to travel to Dubai for the event. To cover their expenses Angels Den asks accepted entrepreneurs to pay a US $1,200 fee, though companies selected for the June event in Dubai will be exempted. Investors can also apply to join the network and attend the event here.