One of the questions we often get asked by potential members is “how much is this going to cost me”?
Investing always comes with fees. To make angel investments, on your own, through a group or a fund, there are some unavoidable few costs – in cash, time, and opportunity cost.
Any yet it is difficult to find out what angel groups charge, and why. So in the interests of transparency and education, we’re starting a few posts to explain clearly what fees apply and why they are charged.
To join Asheville Angels, members pay an annual membership fee. Why? Dues cover the cost of all operational aspects of the group – from meeting room food and AV, to travel and entrepreneur meetings, to outside technology vendors (pitch video creation and hosting, our flow technology platform (ProSeeder), this website), to everything else that makes monthly meetings for over 200 people run smoothly.
Most importantly, it buys members a professional, full-time team of group managers and staff. This structure is fairly unusual. Angel groups are often member-led, volunteer-led, non-profit-led, or financed by state government largesse. This can work, and often come with lower membership dues – but they can lead to challenges when the volunteers run out of time or interest, or when the financial support lessens.
What do the fees really buy? In exchange for dues, members get access to a proprietary set of well-screened investment opportunities that are otherwise very challenging to access as an “asset class.” They get exposure to new technologies and passionate entrepreneurs, opportunities to network and interact with some of the leading business and community leaders, and the fulfilment of sharing their expertise as mentors to entrepreneurs or board members of portfolio companies. They also get membership of the national Angel Capital Association, free access to the suite of education materials and events about angel investing, and much more. Most importantly, they get the collective insight of 200 other investors to help avoid investing mistakes and benefit fully from the best opportunities.
Once you’ve paid to join and receive these benefits, there is no obligation to do anything else in our groups – no minimum investment requirement, no “service requirement,” no compulsion to be a mentor or board advisor. For those that choose to invest, there are two other sets of fees that we’ll cover in future posts.