I invested in a start up company as an angel investor.
I would like to know who the other angels that invested in the company are. Can I do that?
Here are 3 ways you could find out who the investors are.
At any AGM (annual general meeting, which you would have a right to attend) this would obviously be disclosed. Also in the shareholders agreement, all parties would likely sign and you could find out then, and without making a stink.
It depends on the jurisdiction but you could be able to see the public filings. This can be bad because generally it's not advantageous to have your ownership as public knowledge.
Why not just ask the entrepreneurs for an intro? You gave them money, surely they could introduce you to other investors...
I would question the motivations of the Founder/CEO if they are keeping this from you.
Pre-investment it's slightly different as it's understandable sometimes when negotiating if founders dont want to reveal other potential angels; you can then include that fact in your decision whether to invest. But post investment it would be very unusual and actually unhelpful to the founder/startup itself for investors not to know each other.
Ask for a copy of the CAP table.
Your rights as an investor should be clearly laid out in the shareholder's agreement you both signed (you have that, right?). If it's in there, you have the right, and if it isn't, you don't.
But aside from your shareholder rights there is also what's reasonable to expect as an investor and I can only think of one reasonable justification the company might have in refusing to tell you who the other shareholders are.
That would be if you're already in dispute with the CEO/board and are now seeking to talk to the other shareholders to see if you can ally with them to increase pressure on the CEO/board.
If that's the case you may have to wait for the AGM, wait for a poorly-addressed email to accidentally include all the shareholders email addresses in the cc instead of bcc field, or write to the board giving notice of the sale of your shares, in which case the shareholders agreement probably states that they have to give first right of refusal to other shareholders, and you can discover who they are through beginning that process (you don't have to complete the sale to find out who some/all of them are).
This should be a necessary part of your due diligence prior to completing your investment. Who else has invested, how much has been invested over what period of time? You should see a cap table and know what investment instruments have been used for prior investments (equity, either common or preferred; convertible debt/terms; debt/terms) before you invest, but if you already have, you should be able to get this information. My best advice? Ask!
Yes. Just ask. If you don't get an answer, tell the company that the last dollar that you put in will be the last dollar you'll put in. At an early angel stage, the company that the company keeps will in many ways influence the future odds of success, hence your odds of ever seeing your money again.
With my start-ups, we made sure that the angels knew who the others were. That actually helped our fund raising by naming credible people. At least for our angels, they liked to be in good company and that helped them feel more confident.
By knowing who the other angels are, you can also figure out if the other angel investors will a) stay out of the way, b) provide helpful guidance only when asked, or c) try to manage the company for the CEO. The only way to know is to know who the other angels are.
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