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Startup Investing 101 with Graham Gullans


SeedInvest sits down with Graham Gullans, Managing Director of Empire Angels,  to talk about his startup investing tips.

Recognize Patterns When Investing

  • Analyze competitors in order to find the “diamond in the rough”.
  • Use prior knowledge and experience with similar companies to determine what works and what doesn’t.
  • How many times have you seen a company do something similar and what was the outcome of the company?

“Investing is art as much as it is a science.”

Invest in Passion

  • Invest in entrepreneurs with a product that you would use everyday.
  • If you can talk about a company’s product in a “cocktail conversation,” then that company is right for your portfolio.
  • If investors receive regular feedback from entrepreneurs, then they are more likely to talk about those companies.

Have Realistic Expectations for your Investment Returns

  • The most successful investments come out of companies that only need low single digit millions.
  • “Singles” and “doubles” often achieve their goal outcome of 20-50 million.
  • You can receive a ten times return without raising too much capital.

Have Conviction When You Invest

  • Do not delay the process in the name of optionality.
  • Hot deals don’t come back to angels who wait.
  • Conviction will establish good faith with entrepreneurs, and foster a positive business relationship early on.


Graham is the Founding Managing Director of Empire Angels, focused on building the member network and leading group investments. Graham is an active angel, entrepreneur and board member. He led two round of financings into ZoomCar and sits on the board. Graham has a strong interest in fintech, social analytics and B2B startups and spends much of his time with portfolio companies. Graham blogs at GrahamUnplugged.VC

Startup Investing 101 is a web series dedicated to educating investors about the world of startup investing.


This post was written by Alexandra Tynion on August 27, 2014

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