Why a professional team?
Angel groups can be led effectively by unpaid volunteers, often members of the group itself. But a professional team brings multiple additional benefits.
1) Sustainability. When the volunteers get distracted by other activities (like their day jobs), it can be hard for groups to continue functioning.
2) Record keeping. In a volunteer structure, particularly if there are multiple volunteers over time, it can be difficult to maintain the knowledge necessary to record and supervise investments successfully. Some investments might take ten years to mature: without an established process, particularly of record keeping, under the direction of a full-time team, it can be very challenging to keep everything straight.
3) Expertise. Making angel investments requires some expertise – particularly in structuring and executing the investment. In groups where each deal is led by a different volunteer, each new “deal leader” has to learn that expertise each time – or the group reverts to a small number of volunteer deal leaders, returning to challenge number 1. In a professionally-led group, this expertise can be retained – perhaps even honed to a higher degree – in its professional staff, making the groups potentially more expert, more consistently, than volunteer groups.
4) Best practices. It is hard enough to run an angel group’s day-to-day activity. It is harder still to find, study, and replicate the best practices of the leading angel groups. A professional team – which gets paid more the better the group works! – are incentivized to find and implement these best practices (and staying compliant in a complicated regulatory environment). This is one reason why Matt is on the ACA board with some of the leading angel investors in the country.