Where are the angels in Shanghai? Probably that’s one question I should not ask. If you have time to participate any tech event, especially those to do with mobile internet, you will, I mean 100%, meet several people saying they are Angels. The mobile Internet is so hot here, hundreds of small teams are working on different apps which does not need much fund to start with. So the angels seem everywhere as they have a small amount of money to invest.
But being an angel, is not just about the amount of money, is about how to find the project, invest the money smartly and more importantly how to mentor the young startup to grow fast. In other words, angels must be professional.
I was talking to Bruno Bensaid, Founder & Partner of Shanghaivest, Angel Investor member of AAMA Angel Group Shanghai (aka AngelVest) and co-founder & organizer of MobileMonday Shanghai. He explained to me how their angel group works. There are around 70 member angels who are high profile people from different industry in the group and around 40 of them are active. Anyone can apply to become a member but there are certain requirements, such as monthly income, experience etc. Each project will be invested by several investors, and the amount from each one is varied, usually $10k and a bit more. Bruno has invested 5 companies in past a few months, including StarryMedia which is co-founded by ex-CTO of MSN China.
Everyone can submit their BP to AngelVest which has full-time staff to take care of the applications, review it and circulate it to the angels. If the project is interesting, they (usually <10 angels) will discuss and invest it together. I asked Bruno as an foreign investor, if it’s easy to find a good project in China. Bruno thinks it’s not a big issue at least for him. ‘I often attend local events and also organize my own, they can always find me if they want to.’ Bruno said. “But it’s true, as a foreign angel investors, first we need find a better way to get the local community to know and trust us, and local investment partners are important too.”
An angel investor need be a mentor. William Bao Bean from Singtel Innov8, is also very active angel investor lives in Shanghai. He said to me once, I am not just investing the money, and I hope I can bring partnership and bring revenue to the company right after the investment too.
Bruno also mentioned to me another angel group in Shanghai, called AngelsShanghai which I realized that I was there in their first meeting. It seems they are doing ok as well, but for me they are not connected with local communities that much.
So angels are flying in Shanghai which is really a good thing. Maybe I should revise that question a bit, where are the professional angels in Shanghai, and even in China?