13 May 2024
Venture Capital

6 Min Read

Angel Investing vs. Venture Capital in 2024: What’s Best For You? [Investor’s Edition]


Investors often face the dilemma of choosing between angel investing vs. venture capital.

But what exactly is angel investing?

Angel investors invest personal funds in early-stage startups or small businesses in exchange for a share of their equity.

On the other hand, venture capital is defined as money invested in an early stage business with high growth potential, usually a start-up.

These two investment models differ significantly in terms of investment amounts, risk/return profiles, involvement, and exit strategies.

Knowing the differences between these methods is important for making well-informed choices that match your investment objectives and risk tolerance.

6 Reasons Why You Should Become A Limited Partner At A VC Fund!

In this article, we will delve into several key differences between angel investing vs. venture capital to help potential investors make an informed decision on what’s the most suitable route for them.

Understanding The Investment Landscape

The investment landscape for angel investors has evolved significantly in recent years, driven by advancements in technology and changes in global markets:

  • Angel investors in India are shifting toward lending their capital to people who are making progress and providing services they are interested in, particularly in the fintech, healthcare and IT sectors.
  • The rise of online angel investing platforms has caused a significant increase in the total count of angel investors around the world. From 200,000 in 2013 to around 300,000 today of which the number of angel investors in India is around 26,000, according to a media report.
  • Some of the biggest angel investors in India include Kunal Shah, Ashneer Grover, Deep Bajaj & Varun Alagh.
  • Additionally, crowdfunding has made it easier for startups to connect with angel investors in India, and the globalisation of startup ecosystems has increased the diversity of startups and investors, leading to more cross-border investments and opportunities for collaboration.
  • The popularity of web-based services in the Internet age has led to increased demand, driving growth in the business models for angel investors.

The investment landscape for venture capitalists is also experiencing significant shifts and trends:

  • Venture capitalists are focusing on quality over quantity, prioritising financially robust enterprises.
  • Investments are flowing into AI, disruptive technologies, renewable energy, biotechnology, and cybersecurity.
  • IPOs of venture-backed companies are resurging, reflecting optimism in the startup ecosystem.
  • Specific sectors like climate tech, biotechnology, cybersecurity, AR/VR, and gaming are attracting heightened VC interest.
  • The landscape is becoming more global, with increased cross-border investments and collaboration opportunities.

Find The Neon Show’s Conversation with Ashish Fafadia, Partner at Blume Ventures below, to learn more about the history of venture capital in India:

Risk & Return Profiles: Angel Investing vs. Venture Capital

The Role of Investor Involvement: Angel Investing vs. Venture Capital

The role of investor involvement differs significantly between angel investing vs venture capital.

Angel investors typically invest their own money in startups, often taking a hands-on approach to guide the company through its early stages.

They may offer mentorship, advice, and industry expertise, but their level of involvement depends on the wishes of the company and their own inclinations.

This approach allows for a more personalised and flexible relationship between the angel investor and the startup, as the investor is directly involved in the company’s operations.

On the other hand, venture capitalists are part of a company, usually a limited partnership (LP), which pools money from various sources such as individuals, corporations, pension funds, and foundations.

Before thinking of becoming a limited partner at a venture capital fund, learn more about how involved venture capitalists are as investors!

They invest in startups with high growth potential, providing funding, strategic guidance, and operational support in exchange for equity ownership.

Venture capitalists are less likely to be directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, focusing more on providing strategic advice and resources to help the business scale.

This structured approach allows for a more formal relationship between the venture capitalist and the startup, with a clear division of responsibilities and expectations.

Exit Strategy: Angel Investing vs. Venture Capital

Exit Strategy For Angel Investors:

Exit strategies for angel investors are usually more flexible and based on their preferences. They typically hold investments for a period of 3 to 5 years and expect to cash out and make a profit within this timeframe.

Potential Exit Routes:

  • Mergers & Acquisitions Route (M&A Route): Angel investors may consider selling the startup to a competitor or a business partner offering complementary products or services as an exit strategy.
  • VC Route: Another option is selling a stake of the company to a venture capital fund like the Neon Fund if there are collaborations with other portfolio companies or if the expected return on investment is attractive to the VC.
  • IPO Route: While less common, a well-executed Initial Public Offering (IPO) at a high valuation can lead to significant returns for angel investors, although the process can be challenging and costly.

Exit strategy for Venture Capitalists:

Compared to the exit strategy for angel investors, venture capitalists typically have more defined exit strategies due to the larger investments they make. They aim for substantial returns and often have specific milestones and timelines for exiting their investments.

Potential Exit Routes:

  • IPO Route: Venture capitalists may aim for an IPO as a strategic exit plan, as it can lead to significant returns if the company goes public successfully.
  • M&A Route: Selling the company to a competitor or a strategic buyer is another common exit strategy for venture capitalists, allowing them to realise their investment and potentially earn a premium on the sale.
  • Secondary Sale: Venture capitalists may also opt for a secondary sale, where they sell their stake in the company to another investor or entity, providing them with liquidity and an exit from their investment.

Building a Portfolio with The Neon Fund

Even as an angel investor, there are many benefits to collaborating with a venture capital fund to expand your portfolio.

Here at the Neon Fund, we have invested in over 50 companies across two funds which have been largely B2B and SaaS-focused. Some of India’s best SaaS-based companies are in our portfolio including SpotDraft, CloudSEK & Astra Security among many others.

The Neon Fund aims to get our founders to generate $10M ARR and we leave no stone unturned until this milestone is reached.

Our strength is helping founders explore problem statements with potential customers and we bring business expertise plus long-term support to ensure our founders scale as efficiently as possible.

We also democratise our SaaS playbook – Often considered tribal knowledge – for our portfolio founders and unlock networking opportunities for our invested companies to help broaden their customer network.

So as an angel investor or a potential limited partner, the benefits gained from partnering with a venture capital fund like the Neon Fund are aplenty and a great option in helping expand your investment portfolio!

Founder's Word

In conclusion, when considering Angel Investing vs. Venture Capital in 2024, the best choice for investors and entrepreneurs depends on various factors such as investment landscape, risk & return profiles, investor involvement in companies & exit strategy for angel investors and venture capitalists among other factors.

Understanding these factors and the differences between angel investing vs. venture capital is crucial for investors and entrepreneurs to make informed decisions aligned with their investment goals, risk tolerance, and desired level of involvement.

The future looks promising for India’s investment landscape scene, and whether you choose to be an angel investor or part of a venture capital fund, the shared goal is to propel India’s growth story forward!

If you are an aspiring limited partner looking to participate in the India growth story and are interested in B2B Software built from India for the globe, get in touch here!

Ram Seshadri

Ram Seshadri is the Content Team Lead at Neon. He is a Journalism graduate with a vested interest in combining words to create magic. With works published all across Canada, Ram comes from an experienced background in content creation & all forms of written content.

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