Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Angel Investor Definition and How It Works


An Angel Investor is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. They invest their own money, often in early-stage companies to help them get off the ground before they can secure more substantial funding. Most angel investors offer expertise or guidance alongside capital, due to their experience or established business networks.


“Angel Investor Definition and How It Works” in phonetics is:”ˈeɪndʒəl ˈɪnvɛstɔr ˌdɛfɪˈnɪʃən ænd haʊ ɪt wɜːks”

Key Takeaways

Sure, here they are:“`html

  1. Definition: An angel investor is a high-net-worth individual who provides financial backing for small startups or entrepreneurs, usually in exchange for ownership equity. The capital they provide can be a one-time investment to help the business get off the ground or an ongoing injection of money to support and carry the company through its early stages.
  2. Process: Angel investors typically invest their own funds, unlike venture capitalists who manage the pooled money of others in a professionally-managed fund. While angel investors often invest in exchange for equity, they might also offer their mentorship or use their existing networks or businesses to help the startup grow.
  3. Importance: Angel investments are crucial for startups as they fill in the funding gap for startups between friends and family who provide initial funds and formal venture capitalists. Being high-risk investments, they usually fall into the most speculative end of the investment spectrum. However, the potential return on investment, as well as the enjoyment of helping younger companies succeed, make angel investing attractive.



The term “Angel Investor” is crucial in business and finance as it refers to an individual or entity that provides capital for start-ups or entrepreneurs in exchange for ownership equity, debt repayment, or convertible debt. Understanding how Angel Investors work is significant because they serve as a vital funding source when traditional investment prospects, like bank loans or venture capitals, are not available or suitable. Plus, Angel Investors often provide more than just financial support, offering invaluable business acumen, strategic guidance, and network introductions that can be instrumental in driving the company’s growth and success.


An angel investor is a vital financial catalyst for startups and small businesses, providing much-needed capital during the early growth stages. Their purpose is to facilitate the growth of companies that show substantial potential but may be too embryonic or risky for traditional investment channels. They often fill the financial gap between funds from family and friends and larger serious investment rounds, such as venture capital investments. By accelerating the company’s evolution, these “angels” not only provide monetary investment but often contribute with business acumen, strategic guidance, mentorship and industry connections, increasing the prospect for success.How angel investors operate involves a high-risk, high-reward proposition. They provide capital in exchange for equity in the company or convertible debt, accepting the risk of potentially losing the entire investment if the company fails. However, if the startup thrives and later stages of investment or public offering occur, the angel investor stands to make a substantial return. These investors often participate in business sectors they’re familiar with, enabling them to make more informed decisions and actively assist beyond just financial provision. Consequently, the benefits they bring to a nascent company are multidimensional.


1. Angel Investor in Tech Startups: An exceptional example of angel investment is showcased in the case of Peter Thiel, who was one of the first angel investors in Facebook. In 2004, Thiel invested $500,000 into the then-fledgling social media site for a 10.2% stake in the company. As Facebook grew into the multi-billion dollar company it is today, Thiel’s initial investment has amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars, providing him with a significant return.2. Angel Investor in Cultural Businesses: An example in the cultural sector is Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s cofounder. He invested $15,000 in artist David Choe’s work and in return for creating murals at Facebook’s first offices. In 2012, when Facebook launched its IPO, those shares were valued at approximately $200 million. Although this investment was in a sort of unconventional format (artwork), it still goes to show how angel investors can benefit from opportunities outside traditional industries.3. Angel Investor in Food & Beverage Industry: Howard Schultz, ex-CEO of Starbucks, can be considered as an angel investor. In the 1980s, he invested in a retail coffee bean business, which later became the high-end coffee shop chain, Starbucks. With his immense contribution and investment, Starbucks turned from a small business to a globally recognized brand. His initial investment brought about significant business growth and substantial financial return.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Angel Investor?

An Angel Investor is a high-net-worth individual who provides financial backing for small startups or entrepreneurs, typically in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt in the business. They can be a one-time investor to help the business get off the ground or an ongoing supporter.

How does Angel Investing work?

Angel Investors often provide the capital needed for a business to grow or start-up. This typically involves providing a one-time investment to help the business propel or ongoing funding to support and carry the company through its difficult early stages.

Why is it called Angel Investing?

The term Angel originated from Broadway, where it was used to describe wealthy individuals who provided money for theatrical productions.

What are the benefits of Angel Investing for the investor themselves?

Angel Investors have the opportunity to earn a high return on their investment if the startup becomes successful. Additionally, they often derive satisfaction from helping entrepreneurs achieve their business dreams.

What is the role of an Angel Investor in a business or startup?

Besides providing funds, Angel Investors often provide guidance and industry expertise to help guide the startup towards success. They may also leverage their networks to provide additional growth opportunities to the business.

What types of companies do Angel Investors invest in?

Angel Investors typically invest in early-stage, high-growth potential companies across a variety of industries, especially in sectors like tech, healthcare, and retail.

What risk is associated with Angel Investing?

The primary risk associated with angel investing is that the startup may fail, and the investment could be lost. Hence, it’s often considered a high-risk, high-reward investment strategy.

Is it possible for an Angel Investor to withdraw their investment?

Generally, Angel Investors’ investment is not easily withdrawable unless the business is sold, goes public, or the equity is bought out by another investor. It’s important to understand the terms and conditions of the investment agreement in detail before proceeding.

How does an Angel Investor make money?

Angel Investors primarily make money when a business they’ve invested in becomes successful, grows in value, and either gets bought out by a larger company or goes public. The investor can then sell their shares for a profit.

. How can I become an Angel Investor?

. Becoming an Angel Investor usually requires a solid understanding of different business sectors and a somewhat disposable income as the contributions made are often at risk of being lost. Networking, researching potential opportunities, and connecting with startup incubators is a great way to get started.

Related Finance Terms

  • Startup Capital: The money an entrepreneur needs to launch a new business, which can come from various sources including angel investors.
  • Equity Financing: Process of raising capital through the sale of shares in a company. Angel investors often provide capital in exchange for equity or partial ownership in the company.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): A performance measure that gaans to evaluate the efficacy of an investment, it’s used to compare the efficiency of different investments.
  • Due Diligence: An investigation or audit of a potential investment, which angel investors undertake before investing in a company.
  • Exit Strategy: This is the way an investor, such as an angel investor, plans to get out of an investment made in a company. This could be through a merger, acquisition or an initial public offering (IPO).

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More