Lessons and Mistakes I learned from making 60 Angel Investments

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of being involved in over 60 angel investments, witnessing both soaring successes and painful failures. My journey as an angel investor has been a rollercoaster ride, filled with invaluable lessons and humbling mistakes. Here, I’d like to share some of the key insights I’ve gained along the way.

1. Diversify Wisely:

Lesson: Diversification is crucial to mitigate risk. Betting everything on one startup can lead to significant losses.

Mistake: Early in my career, I put too much capital into a single promising startup. When it faltered, I felt the impact on my portfolio.

2. Invest in What You Understand:

Lesson: Invest in industries or technologies you know well. It’s easier to assess potential when you’re familiar with the space.

Mistake: I once invested in a complex biotech startup without fully comprehending the science behind it. This lack of understanding led to a poor decision.

3. Team Matters Most:

Lesson: The quality of the founding team is often the best predictor of success. Talented, committed founders can overcome numerous obstacles.

Mistake: I once overlooked team dynamics and invested solely based on the idea. The startup fell apart due to co-founder disputes.

4. Patience is a Virtue:

Lesson: Successful startups often take years to mature. Don’t expect quick returns; be prepared for the long haul.

5. Due Diligence is Non-Negotiable:

Lesson: Thoroughly research every potential investment. Don’t rely solely on gut feelings or hype.

Mistake: I rushed into an investment based on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) without proper due diligence. It turned out to be a scam.

6. Adapt and Evolve:

Lesson: The startup landscape is constantly changing. Be open to new industries and trends.

7. Emotional Discipline:

Lesson: Keep emotions in check. Don’t let fear or greed drive investment decisions.

8. Learn from Mistakes:

Lesson: Embrace failures as learning opportunities. Analyze what went wrong and use it to make better decisions.

Mistake: Initially, I was hesitant to admit mistakes and learn from them. This slowed my growth as an investor.

9. Mentorship and Networks:

Lesson: Surround yourself with experienced mentors and a strong network. Their guidance can be invaluable.

Mistake: Early on, I underestimated the importance of seeking advice from seasoned investors.

In the world of angel investing, every success and failure is a lesson. While my journey has had its share of ups and downs, it’s the cumulative wisdom gained from these experiences that has made me a better investor today. Remember, investing is a continuous learning process, and adapting to change is key to staying ahead in this dynamic field.

Feel free to ask any specific questions or delve deeper into any of these points. Happy investing! 🚀📈



Trace Cohen Angel Investor / Family Office/ VC

Angel in 60+ pre-seed/seed startups via New York Venture Partners (NYVP.com). Comms/PR/Strategy