What is an angel investor?   

An angel investor (also called angel, business angel, or informal investor) is a high-net-worth individual who provides capital and resources to startups in exchange for an ownership stake. They typically invest their own funds. Many studies have shown that angels in groups consistently show higher returns than angels investing alone. As well, research shows that angel-funded startup companies are less likely to fail than those otherwise financed. Click here for more information.

How does angel group membership benefit me?   

The benefits of angel group membership are countless and varied. Firstly, members of angel groups show consistently higher returns beyond those who invest on their own. Members have access to a high-quality deal flow that individual investors do not have. The group model serves to validate individual decision making; you have access to industry experts from many different fields who can more accurately assess the success potential for a deal. You benefit from an encouraging and educational atmosphere of like-minded people. Due diligence is done by an experienced team that can formulate a stronger assessment of a deal than an investor working alone. The shared networks and resources amongst members serve to benefit the membership community and portfolio companies. As an investor with co-investors, members approach entrepreneurs from a better negotiating position and are in a better position to monitor their portfolio companies. To understand more, please contact us.

How much does membership cost?   

Please contact us for more information. All services are covered by a simple annual membership fee. Members are likely to find that the cost of their membership is more of an investment with a high return: by getting access to superior deal flow, personalized guidance, education, validation of their investment decisions, a stronger negotiating position with companies, professional assistance with due diligence and term sheets, and help monitoring portfolio companies, members’ returns are likely to be much higher than if they invested alone.

How does WOMENA help the Middle East?   

We believe that technology-based startups in the Middle East are undervalued, with a large market and growing talent pool, and by investing in these undervalued assets, we foster innovation with high potential. We believe that inclusion of women in finance and business serves this aim by bringing diversity and productivity to these fields. Our mission is to promote these goals and we do so in three key areas: through our angel investment platform; innovation consulting; and education and workshops for the community. These activities serve the aim of knowledge-based and globally competitive economic growth in the MENA region and helps to reduce the region’s dependence on natural resources.

What makes WOMENA different from other angel groups?   

We are the only institutional angel investment platform for women in the Middle East. We seek to help women in the region control their wealth intelligently and have a community of like-minded women with whom to collaborate. With our exclusive network of partners, a membership base and team with varied backgrounds and expertise in the Middle East and internationally, we are able to ensure the highest quality deal flow and intelligent due diligence. We go above and beyond to make sure our investors are comfortable investing by providing extensive educational materials, guidance, and ongoing assistance, and much more.

How do I reduce the risk of angel investing?   

Join an angel group! Studies consistently show higher returns to angels in groups than angels investing individually. There are various services that we provide to mitigate risk, however there is no way to entirely eliminate the risk of early stage investing. It is a high risk, high potential reward activity. Educated investors take it as such and “hedge their bets,” or diversify their portfolios across numerous companies and industries. Smart angel investors generally seek to invest in companies that have the potential to return 10x+ over five years with a clearly defined exit strategy in order to mitigate the impact of failed investments. They also do thorough due diligence or get assistance with the process. All of these strategies are nearly impossible to execute outside of an angel group for most individuals because of the time required.

Average IRR for a professional angel investor in a group is 20-30%, however, there is no guarantee that an investor will experience such gains. Angel investing can be an exciting and rewarding experience for a person who wants to help entrepreneurs, have intellectually stimulating investment activities and are willing to undergo the risk of early stage investing.

What accreditation standards does WOMENA use?   

There are no specific accreditation standards. Instead, we focus on making the risks of investing clear and advise that you do not allocate more than 10-15% of your portfolio to angel investments. For US passport holders, we follow US accreditation standards. Please click here for more information.

Does WOMENA syndicate?   

Yes, we welcome participation from venture capital firms, private investors, family offices, accelerators, service providers, and other angel groups. As well, we are open to ideas! Please contact us to discuss.

How much will I be expected to invest as a member of WOMENA?   

The more a member invests in presenting companies, the more value they get out of their membership. Members are asked to invest in at least one company per year. The minimum ticket is $5,000 USD (approximately 18,000 AED). It is suggested that members make three to five investments per year to diversify their portfolios and mitigate risk. In the first year of membership, members are not required to invest. After the first year, we request that members utilize their membership to the fullest extent possible and participate in at least one investment per year. Members who do not participate in the group may not be invited to renew their membership.

Is there a minimum investment amount?   

At our meetings, members will see one to three entrepreneurs present their businesses for funding and are not required to invest in any. However, the minimum investment amount for an individual member is $5,000 USD per company, and at least three members must express interest in investing in order for our team to follow up and oversee the investment process.

What if I don’t invest one year?   

In your first year of membership, members are not required to invest. After the first year, we request that members utilize their membership to the fullest extent possible and participate in at least one investment per year. Members who do not participate in the group may not be invited to renew their membership.

What is a WOMENA meeting like?   

Evening meetings are held every two months in a selection of exciting spaces in Dubai. Previous locations include in5, Art Sawa, and Al Serkal Avenue. Invitees include our membership, selected ecosystem partners, and the presenting entrepreneurs. All are invited to chat over hors d’oeuvres before listening to pitches by three to five entrepreneurs for ten minutes, each followed by a ten minute Q&A session. At the end of this, we ask the entrepreneurs to leave the room so we can have a private investor discussion and assess interest in presenting companies. If there is sufficient interest, follow-up meetings and due diligence will be scheduled.

Can I be part of WOMENA if I do not live in Dubai?   

Yes. We record each pitch meeting and put it online within 48 hours so international or travelling members can still participate in the group. Joining WOMENA provides international members with access to deal flow, due diligence, networks, and knowledge sharing in an opaque and hard-to-navigate region.

Can men be part of WOMENA?   

For selected members of the angel investment community who intend to add value to the group and to the portfolio companies, we offer a community membership. For more information on community membership, please contact us.

How do entrepreneurs apply?   

Please click here to apply. Once we receive your initial application, we will ask for more information and set up a phone call to discuss your company. We will conduct initial due diligence. Once this is complete, you will be invited to apply. Approximately 5% of applicants are selected to present in front of members.

Does WOMENA charge entrepreneurs a fee?   

There are no charges to present to our membership. We take a small success fee when companies are successfully funded. This is a percentage (usually 3%) of total funding received from WOMENA members. This is to cover the administrative costs of setting up the investment legally.

How long does it take for entrepreneurs to receive financing?   

From pitching to receipt of funds, usually two to four months.

What non-financial value does WOMENA provide to entrepreneurs?   

Members of the group have indescribable networks and resources that they can use to help new companies. Collectively, members can help you with your business development, relationships with suppliers and distributors, marketing, finding employees, strategy, and almost any other resources or network needed in the region.

What industries does WOMENA invest in?   

We are industry agnostic. We look for companies that can offer a 10x+ multiple over a 5 year period. Many of the companies fitting this criteria are ecommerce, software, life sciences, telecom, energy, wholesale services, or retail services. We do not invest in nonprofits, films, television projects, theater projects, real estate or sectarian projects.

What should my application contain?   

You should have a presentation deck and executive summary ready for your company. Each should have a business summary, a product/service description, the customer problem, target market, management, customers, sales/marketing strategy, business model and financials, your competitors and competitive advantage and any additional information that you think is relevant to a potential investor. Executive summaries are also called one pagers because they should be about a page. Please click here for more information.

Does a WOMENA member always take a board position in portfolio companies?   

If WOMENA is not the lead investor, we will not expect to take a board position. As lead investor, we will typically expect a board seat to be allotted for the member leading the investment within the group.

Do you sign non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements?   

No, we do not. We receive too many plans. We pride ourselves on our ethical treatment of entrepreneurs; your proprietary and confidential information will not be forwarded to anyone outside of the group or used for purposes other than determining funding suitability.

Do you only invest in female entrepreneurs?   

No. We are not gender-biased for the entrepreneurs we fund. Our investors are women.

What is WOMENA’s investment criteria?   

To learn more about our investment criteria, please click here.

What is a “Learners and Mentors” member?   

For individuals who are interested to contributing to WOMENA’s mission but are not yet ready to invest, we have the “WOMENA Learners and Mentors Program” to learn about angel investing and the startup ecosystem in MENA. Participants have the opportunity to engage with a community of women and startups while enjoying full access to our educational workshops and pitch meetings.

How does a Learners and Mentors membership benefit me?   

WOMENA membership comes with a variety of benefits for those who want to learn and/or mentor. As a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise, you will benefit from an encouraging and educational atmosphere of like-minded people. You will have access to a network of like minded individuals to collaborate and share knowledge with, as well as the opportunity to share your own knowledge with start-ups. As a WOMENA member, you will also have access to our broad network of partners and their events. To understand more, please contact us.

What opportunities will I have to learn about angel investing?   

As a learner, you will have access to WOMENA pitch meetings, WOMENA educational workshops and a customized syllabus of angel investing educational materials.  By attending pitch meetings, you will gain first-hand experience of the angel investing process and will have the opportunity to engage with industry experts from many different fields who can mentor you in the area of angel investing.

What background should I have, if any, to begin learning how to be an angel?   

Angel investing requires no specific educational or professional background. If you have specific professional experience, you might find it useful to apply to making investment decisions and to help your portfolio companies. Our angel investors come from diverse backgrounds and WOMENA membership does not require any specifics beyond having the capital to comfortably invest.

How much time should I commit to learning?   

It is completely up to you regarding how much time you have to dedicate to learning how to become an angel investor. However, we encourage you to at least attend each of our educational events, happening every other month. Besides that, you can review the materials in your customized syllabus at your own pace. Our hope is that you will become comfortable enough with angel investing to make your first investment in your second year as a WOMENA member.

What opportunities will I have to mentor entrepreneurs?   

WOMENA has access and connections to a large and diverse group of start-ups in the MENA region, many of which could benefit greatly from mentorship in various areas of business. For WOMENA portfolio companies, you will have the opportunity to apply your expertise and experience as a mentor or even a board member. Beyond the portfolio, WOMENA is happy to connect mentors with start-ups in the greater network that fit your specific mentorship criteria.

What type of mentorship can I provide?   

Everyone has something different that they can provide to start-ups. It is up to you to decide what it is you have to offer. Some areas of mentorship include: Useful connections to your network, technical knowledge of the specific technology or general business management, and knowledge of the industry and the target market.

How much time should I commit to mentoring?   

There is no requirement for how much time you commit to mentoring an entrepreneur. It should instead be based on the needs of the start-up and type of support you can offer. It could be as little as one hour a month working with an entrepreneur to up to six hours a week. Most importantly, prioritize quality, not quantity, and be sure to listen to entrepreneurs regarding what they need. Once you start working with an entrepreneur, you will see what works best.

How do I decide who to mentor?   

Who you decide to mentor is based on what value you know you can add to a start-up. Once you know that basic information, you can inform the WOMENA team. We will then be on the look-out for any start-ups we see in our pipeline or portfolio that require that kind of mentorship. We will pass the relevant start-ups to you and you can decide if you have the capacity and added-value to offer them as a mentor.

How much does membership cost?   

Please contact us for more information. All services are covered by a simple annual membership fee.