April 26, 2023
A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Creating a Group of Like-Minded Angels

Angel investing is a vital part of the startup process for many small businesses. Angel investors are individuals with enough capital to help emerging businesses by investing their money directly into these ventures. Many angel investors are actually entrepreneurs in their own right, looking for ways to “pay it forward” and help out other businesses. In all, about 50,000 startups in the US will receive funding from angel investors or angel investing groups.

At LifeWorking, we feel strongly about helping businesses get up and running. After all, part of our mission is to provide state-of-the-art facilities for shared workspaces that can help freelancers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and others reach their goals. But the other part of our focus is just as important — creating real community and connection. That’s why we’ve created the Community Innovation Collaborative (CIC), a business incubator that helps drive community participation in the success of local startups.

In working toward building a stronger local community for entrepreneurs, we have for the second time hosted a gathering of North Shore movers and shakers who are interested in learning more about angel investing and exploring the possibilities of creating an angel investing group.

A Peek into This Quarter’s Angel Investing Event “Demystifying Angel Investing — Learn What It Takes to Invest”

This quarter, LifeWorking and CIC joined forces with Jason Jacobsohn from Propellant Ventures, a downtown venture capital group, to create a guest list of potential investors. Together, Propellant and LifeWorking looked for sponsorship for the event from local small businesses, with the objective of helping to cover expenses and allowing these businesses to showcase their products and services at the event through marketing and personal presentations. Our amazing sponsors this quarter were Insperity, Webb Insurance Group, and the Lake County Community Foundation.

Topics Presented at This Meeting

Our goal was to present real-world information on angel investing in a way that answered everyone’s questions and generated discussion and collaboration. For that reason, we nixed the idea of solo speakers and instead put together a panel of experts who were already deeply involved in the angel investing process.

  • Michelle Moreno, CFA, Managing Partner at VentureDNA
  • Alex Golod, Global Technology Executive and Consultant/Angel Investor/Startup Advisor and Mentor/Connector
  • Peter Wokwicz, CEO | CIO | COO | Investor | Board Member | Business Advisor | M&A | Hedge Funds | Technology, Software, Finance, Robotics, Space, Blockchain, and Business Strategy

With Jason Jacobsohn as the moderator, we posed a number of questions to our talented panelists. We covered a variety of topics that explored the many ways angel investing is important to up-and-coming businesses as well as how to get started. Here are just a few of the topics mentioned:

  • What is angel investing? Where does it fit in the financing life cycle? Who are angel investors and what are the types of angel investors?
  • Why did you become angel investors? What is the motivation?
  • How much capital should angels invest? What is the typical investment size? Besides capital, how else can angels get involved?
  • What types of companies do angels invest in? What criteria should be considered before making an investment?
  • How important is diversification for angel investors? How should they think about diversification when investing?
  • How should angel investors think about risk and return when investing? What are some general rules of thumb with angel investing?
  • If someone wants to start angel investing, how do you suggest getting started?

How did it go? Some of our panelists weighed in after the event. Peter Wokwicz noted, “These events are honestly the best quality per attendee of anything I ever go to in the Chicago area. Would love to sponsor a future one.” And Michelle Moreno gave our event strategy a thumbs up, saying “The event was made all the more enjoyable because of your team, the venue, and the company!”

A Very Special Ending to a Wonderful Evening

During our event, we invited the 2022 Pitch Night winner of the Lake Forest High School Business Incubator Program, SimplyNav, to drop in to give our attendees a pitch. SimplyNav’s creators are high school seniors this year and are at the Accelerator level, where they are launching their business and working on a continuance or exit strategy prior to graduation. Their product is an app that provides a variety of resources to help students get involved in their school community, as well as a quick and easy-to-use in-school GPS system.

Because LifeWorking and CIC participate as Underwriting Sponsors of the Business Incubator Pitch Night, we have been working with the SimplyNav team over the past few months and were aware that they had reached another critical fundraising stage of their business journey. We thought that this event would be a perfect opportunity for this talented team of students to get hands-on experience in creating and delivering a targeted pitch.

With our help, the team prepared a 10-minute pitch tailored to the Angel Investing event, and their initial ask was for $1,200. By the end, the SimplyNav team left the event with over $2,000 in sponsorship funding. Scott Brandwein, the Managing Director at JLL, who fully sponsored the team on the spot, said, “These students were incredible, and they should have asked for more.”

LifeWorking, CIC, and the Angels Among Us

We are so grateful for all our sponsors, panelists, and attendees at this latest event in our Angel Investing series. We’ve had so much positive feedback and forward momentum that we are looking to make this a quarterly event. Our goal is to grow a community of like-minded angel investors to help support local talented entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams of a successful business.

Want to come to our next event? Head to our events page or follow us on social media to stay up to date with everything LifeWorking!

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