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Angel Investment Playbook

Who we are

Hi! We are Expedite Ventures. Welcome to our playbook, your guide to who we are, who we work with, and who we invest in.

Expedite Ventures is a business angel group of CTOs and CPOs. We invest in tech founders and help them to create sustainable businesses through both capital and in-depth, hands-on mentoring.

We are nerds at heart and passionate founders ourselves - many of us are still running startups. Our true hands-on mentoring approach is based on decades of collective experience in building and scaling technology companies – which we think is at least as valuable as funding.

We encourage those who are already engineering today’s technology to get into the driver’s seat and become first-time founders. Our goal is especially to support underrepresented groups in tech, including female and immigrant entrepreneurs.

Welcome to our playbook, an overview of who we are, who we work with and who we invest in - and guiding principles and values. As we continue to grow, we hope that these principles will serve each new Angel joining our club and every founder we potentially invest in.

So if you are new to Expedite, welcome. Although the goals in this book are important, it’s the ideas, talent, network and energy of our Angels that will keep Expedite shining in the years ahead. Let’s help others building great things.

This playbook is a living document, consistently updated and transparently published on our website.

Our Investment Thesis

We invest (pre-)seed in deep tech software start-ups.

As tech investors, we are believers in tech. Any founder or team that…

… is an ideal match for us.

But don’t stress over the specifics — we’d like to meet you. Show us what you’re proud of and we will provide brutally honest feedback.

We hold ourselves accountable to these guidelines when making a business decision:

Our ideal financing round

As Angel investors in deep tech startups…

What can you expect from us?

What type of feedback can you expect from us?

As a CTO/CPO business angel network, we deeply care about your product - and we’re most at ease offering feedback on:

And, as we’ve said, we’re ready to make any introductions that could be advantageous for you.

How are we different than the others?

We perceive the current Venture Capital landscape as flawed, favoring second and third-time founders while neglecting the mentoring and nurturing needed for new generations of first-time founders to arise.

Sometimes, exceptional founders or brilliant ideas are overlooked or don’t receive the necessary attention because they don’t fit the “right profile,” “aren’t quite there yet,” or simply lack the right connections.

That’s where we come in: We favor first-time founders, regardless of their gender or background.

As many VCs in Europe and Angel clubs are being run by business people, they intrinsically tend to support e-commerce and service businesses. We find it problematic that deep tech founders don‘t get the necessary attention and understanding they deserve, because as we all know: „Software eats the world“. Therefore, our collective strictly invests solely in tech companies.

We aim to complement the existing ecosystem, supporting those who might otherwise go unheard. We collaborate with other Angels aiming to nurture technology startups.

Smart VCs are our allies in helping our ventures grow at a later stage. We value cooperation with them, continuously nurturing our VC relationships. We actively work with them and aid companies applying to a VC who aren’t VC-ready yet: we fast-track and introduce them into the VC world’s deal flow when the time is right. VCs sometimes also invite us to share a board seat, assist in portfolio management, and tech due diligences to collectively help the ventures grow further.

In the end, we aim to fulfill the promise many Angels and VCs make (but don’t keep): We don’t just pledge money, but we behave like hands-on co-founders.

How to pitch us

Got a groundbreaking idea? Cool, we’re all ears at Expedite Ventures. Here’s the rundown what you can expect from us and what we expect from you:

Our game? Radical transparency. Unlike other investors, if we dive deep into a startup and still opt not to invest, we provide brutally honest feedback. It may sting, but it’s our commitment to respecting your time and efforts.

No magic crystal ball here – we acknowledge we might not always get it right. If we miss the mark, you’ll still find us cheering from the sidelines when you succeed. We know the grit it takes to be a founder, and that deserves nothing but respect

Not pitch-ready? No worries. Bounce your ideas off us at our community events. We’re game for a challenge.

Check this page’s HTTP headers and you’ll find our pitch email - we can’t wait to get to know you. See you soon!

Investment process

Here’s our process for deciding whether to invest or not:

Once we’ve received your pitch deck and it’s piqued our interest, we’ll aim to schedule a call with one or two Angels to get to know you in under an hour. We want to hear about your company from you and meet the whole team.

Our typical agenda for the first call looks as follows:

We know, that’s quite a lot in a short time frame, so please be prepared to keep it brief and just give us an overview.

If we think we could be a good fit for you, we’ll choose the best experts from our side for a follow-up call. Here, we’ll delve much deeper into the details: We’re interested in technical architecture, source code, roadmaps, financial planning, etc.

Some more calls might occur until both parties feel they’ve learned enough about each other. As a rule of thumb, at least three of our angels must be in favor of investing to pursue the deal further. If possible, we always appreciate an in-person meeting over lunch or dinner.

If we finally see a fit for both parties, we’ll draft an investment memo and present it to the entire team. If there are no vetoes, we’ll schedule a final call with most of our Angels, so everyone can get to know each other. After this call, we will conduct our final unanimous vote.

If the round’s terms are not already set in writing, we’ll promptly provide you with a brief term sheet, outlining all the crucial investment details.

From then on, we’re clear to invest and clarify the legal specifics (convertible, share deal, etc.). We do both convertibles (usually SAFE style) and share deals.

What makes an Expedite Angel?

We limit Angel membership to seasoned entrepreneurs who understand what it means to be in fthe front-line and make decisions every day. Each member is willing and capable of devoting time to giving back to the community, sharing their successful strategies, mentoring our investments, opening their personal network — and adhering to our values.

In the end, we are makers, not managers. And we align with Ferdinand Piëch’s assertion: „Techniker können genauso gut rechnen wie Kaufleute. Und sie beherrschen die Technik. Umgekehrt geht das nicht.“ (“Technicians can calculate just as well as business people. And they are proficient in technology. The reverse is not true.”)

Each of our members will assume the role of a lead Angel at Expedite for at least one of our ventures, making it “HER” venture. Every mentoring Angel internally receives an additional share allocation in her venture as a reward for sharing their experience.

Lastly, we unanimously agree on the companies we decide to back. If any of us have doubts, there’s likely a reason for it. Our collective experience fortifies us, leading to more intelligent decisions. We decidedly don’t subscribe to the old VC mantra that only one out of ten companies makes it - and the other nine don’t. We rather strive for the opposite - at least nine of the companies backed by us will succeed.

Our values

We genuinely dislike politics. We believe in brutal honesty, loyalty, radical transparency, directness, and open communication/feedback. By being open about as many things as possible and making information public, we lower the threshold to connect with us and facilitate collaboration.

Collaboration, kindness, and sharing are indispensable — it’s impossible to know everything. And we don’t forget to express gratitude as well as to apologize. We discourage ego, but help others to avoid failure and rather celebrate others’ successes.

We adhere to a strict Anti Harassment and Discrimination policy — we believe in diversity. Regardless of the communication medium, everyone is expected to contribute to an inclusive and collaborative working environment and respect each other at all times. Any form of sexual harassment, age, disability, race, religious, or sexual orientation discrimination will not be tolerated at any time and will lead to an immediate termination of this relationship (at all costs).