When angel investing first started, chances were pretty good any investment being made was fairly close to home. Even with excellent travel infrastructure over the past several decades, Business Angels still preferred to invest close to home and within a 100 mile radius.
Here we are in the middle of 2009. Are things any different today?
Would you be willing to invest in a software start-up from India? A property development in Bulgaria? A restaurant chain franchise in Birmingham?
Have travel costs come down that distance matters less? Has the internet sped up the way business is done so much that this helps you to monitor your investment easier? Personally, I think things have changed a great deal over the past few years alone. I am seeing more and more cross border angel investment.
As long as you know the people involved, industry, opportunity and potential pitfalls of any geographical investment, angel investment is the same whether it be close to home or abroad.
Now, with that being said, there are drawback to investing outside of your local area. It isn’t as easy as getting in your car and driving down the road to drop by. The added planning and travel costs need to be factored into any deal you do. Make sure to budget your time and costs just like any other investment criteria.
When the majority of the general public invest in traditional markets, they don’t have a clue where their investment is going, instead they rely heavily on their financial adviser to make sound investment decisions. Only a small fraction of the “traditional investment market” population a. knows all the companies within their investment or retirement portfolios and b. knows where these companies are based. From this perspective, angel investing is light years ahead in terms of locating the flow of money.
I recently invested in a software development project based in Canada to eventually launch and operate within the United States even though I live in the UK. Perhaps because software and the internet are global in nature, borders are almost irrelevant when making angel investments. Does it mean I would invest in a café in the busiest street of Rome? Probably not today but tomorrow, who knows…
By Tim Lancaster