Sharifa Al-Barami is an Angel Investor at Arab Innovation Academy. During the program, we have the chance to interview her and talk about her role during the program. So, if you always want to know what is an Angel Investor, you’ll find the answers.

What is an Angel Investor?

An angel investor is a “Good-Doer”. It’s a person, an individual usually who has good and smart capital. It’s very important to think of it as smart capital. Angel investors usually invest strategically and not just because they like the idea. It’s more because they like the team and they believe in the passion of the team. The team has their skills and the investors guidance can form this into perfection.

Besides money – why else do early-stage startups need investors?

I think it’s not just besides money. It is not mainly money. In my opinion, money comes second to the first most important thing which is the experience. Startups need to bring on investors very early for the experience. They can save them a lot of time and with it money. You’re basically accelerating the growth, and you’re saving 3 to 4 years of mistakes just through the experience an investor can give you. So startups need to think of investors more as information, experience and knowledge vaults that they can tap into.

What is the question you should never ask from an investor?

I think that the most investor agnostic question is when a startup asks to know what is the valuation. When they get so hung up on valuation. It puts investors off because it’s never about the valuation. Valuation is something that’s produced with good execution great teams and great relationships. Valuation automatically happens. So I think the valuation question is the one that puts investors off.

What is your “Average ticket size”? How does an investor define a ticket size at all?

Our average ticket size was between one hundred to three hundred thousand dollars.
Our whole fund was about 15 million dollars. We would decide the ticket size on the scale or how far along the startup is already. If there is already good revenue good traction and the multiples of the traction are looking good then the ticket size will automatically be bigger. If it’s very early on start up the risk is higher. There’s no revenue yet, but the revenue model is ready. It still has not been activated or executed. In this case, the ticket size will probably be lower. I think it’s all risk related. We define the risk related to the startup and then decide the ticket size according to that. In any joint or syndicated round, it is usually decided by the lead investor who sets the valuation and the terms.

3-5 most helpful tips to remember while preparing for a pitch in front of investors?

My top three tips. One – It’s never about you and your idea. It’s about the business. So I think when startups pitch it’s important for the person who’s representing the team to remember that it’s about the business. It’s not about them personally and it’s not about the team members. Make it about the startup, the business model, revenue model and then what’s in it for the investors. Second – It is very important to understand what is the value-add that you’re bringing to the people you’re pitching to. What tickles their fancy kind, find out what they are interested in. Is it the market, the size or is it the technology? Maybe its the background of the team. So you’ve got to tell the story to attract and really get their attention. Understand who you’re pitching to. And of course, the third and final one is – make it simple! Make it brief but very impactful. Tell a strong story and do your homework beforehand.


Wise words by AIA program team: 🤓
Investors are in the program on Day 9 – 10. All the teams get a chance to meet with them to discuss and get feedback on their idea. This is a great chance for you to meet world-class investors and create relationships for the future. On the last day of the program, investors will choose the top ten teams from the pitching carousel who get to present at the Grand Pitching in front of all the participants and guests.

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🇮🇹 EIA Italy
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🇶🇦 Arab Innovation Academy

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