Angel investors are a crucial aspect of the investment ecosystem, making it possible for many ventures to scale and succeed. Angel investors are a great option for any startup to help get their company off the ground. Many of these investors have helped to create massive value for entrepreneurs and it’s no surprise that these enterprising individuals have the means to pay it forward.
Here are some of the most successful angel investors in the world:
Based in New York City, Grinda is considered one of the most successful angel investors in the world. Grinda has garnered 245 investments, holding over 150 exits on 500 angel investments. Over the course of his career, Grinda has served as the CEO for three companies and holds an impressive resume as an early investor in Flexport, Delivery Hero, Betterment, Alibaba and Brightroll. Currently, he helms the startup studio and venture fund FJ Labs, co-founded with Jose Marin. He was also named the top angel investor in the world by Forbes.
Grinda started his career in 1998 at the mere age of 23 as the CEO of Aucland, which became one of the largest auction sites in Europe. Grinda has a BA in Economics from Princeton University, from which he graduated in 1996. At Princeton, he was awarded the Halbert White prize, given to the most distinguished economic students. On top of that, he acquired The Wolfe Balleisen memorial prize for best thesis.
The creator of Gmail has always had a democratic world view and it’s no surprise that he’s one of the world’s leading angel investors. With his money, Paul has invested in over 178 startups across the United States and has secured 84 exits. He founded the capital firm Y Combinator and has invested in growing startups, preferring to invest in information technology, media, health, enterprise software and analytics companies. He served as an Engineer for Intel, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.
Some of Buchheit’s most promising investments include Weebly, Meraki, and Wufoo, with expectations the latter return will be more than 10%. Of his current assets, Heroku and Mint have made a noteworthy return, increasing his investment by 10-fold. As a top angel investor, he is proactive in funding companies that create financial independence and make quality of life a reality.
A notable innovator (as well as businesswoman, author, journalist and mentor and inspiration to yours truly), Esther Dyson is a leading angel investor who is focused on healthcare, open government, digital technology, biotechnology and space.
On top of her storied career, Dyson’s portfolio of investments is long and varied and got its start in by earning big wins in Russian investments. A Chairman of EDventure Holdings, she is interested in new business models, new technologies and emerging markets whether economic or political. As an angel investor, Dyson has baked over 115 companies and has secured 30 exits with major players like Facebook, Square, Flickr, 23andMe, NanoRacks, Omada Health MeetUp Inc, and Space Adventures.
Since 2007, a major focus for Dyson has been aviation and commercial space startups, along with her healthcare and genetics investments. A visionary in NewSpace investments, she has invested in XCOR Aerospace, Constellation Services (now Nanoracks), Icon Aircraft and Mars One.
Esther currently runs Way to Wellville, a non-profit focused on curing the American health crisis with a focus on education and early, preventative care.
Known as the creator of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian holds over 160 investments and has secured 63 exits. He founded the investment firm Das Kapital Capital that has stakes in 25 startups. He is also a member of Initialized Capital, which raised $39 million or its second fund. Ohanian founded the latter in 2010 and has made several seed investments in prominent successful startups like Instacart, Zenefits, Opendoor and Cruise. It now has over three funds, which total over $500 million. In 2014, CB Insights analyzed all the investors in tech, ranking Ohanian first for network centrality, the extent of connections an investor has with other investors in the ecosystem and the quality and depth of these connections. With Initialized Capital, Ohanian invested $3 million in childcare company Kinside. In 2020, Ohanian further invested $4 million in Dispo (David’s Disposable) and Rally. Currently, Ohanian serves as an ambassador to the east for Y Combinator and also acts as an advisor to several growing companies.
A co-founder of IronPort and an early advisor and board member of Paypal and Postmates, Scott Banister has over 180 angel investments and 64 exits.
Banister began his career as a pioneer in the email business and was the founder and VP of Technology at ListBot. After being acquired by Microsoft, Banister worked for other startups as a board member and investor. These companies included eVoice, the creator of the first email-enabled voicemail service. He also served as VP at ideallab! Where he created several innovations
Scott Banister now serves as the co-founder and Chairman of Zivity, a social networking site co-founded with his wife and business partner Cyan Banister. He was also an early-stage investor in Powerset, creators of a natural language search engine, and serves on the Board of Directors. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Slide, a start-up founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.
Banister’s private equity investments portfolio includes Zappos.com, Facebook, Tagged.com, iLike, and Causes.com. Banister attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but he dropped out in 1996 to start his career in Silicon Valley.