Why I angel invest
After 6 years of operating at high growth startups, I found a new passion in helping founders as an angel investor.
Hi! I’m Andrea, currently Growth Product Lead at Amplitude, and I started angel investing in pre-seed and seed stage consumer and enterprise startups about a year ago. I want to share more about why I became an angel investor and my investment thesis. And if this resonates with you, I’d love to hear from anyone who might be interested in partnering or just getting to know each other.
My journey to angel investing
I grew up in Shanghai, China, and came to the U.S. for college. I was a top student in math and science growing up, but meeting an extremely eclectic Chinese artist, Bingyi Huang, during high school changed my life and career. A modern renaissance woman, she opened my eyes to the world of art and showed me that you don’t have to be defined by a single identity in life and career.
Determined to learn more about art, I came to Stanford to major in art history and was obsessed with Johannes Vermeer, a 17th-century Dutch painter most famous for his ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring'.
I love Vermeer because he depicted ordinary people and elevated them to look like royalty through his artistry, whereas other Dutch painters like Rembrandt in the same era only paint royalty on commission. That focus on discovering beauty and potential in ordinary people really drew me to Vermeer, which is why I spent 2.5 years as an art history scholar at Stanford and Oxford, chasing Vermeer paintings around the world.
Needless to say, I didn’t feel I fit in at Stanford, when I was one of the few pursuing art history and everyone else was studying CS and exploring careers in tech. But I was entrepreneurial in a different way: within a month after I arrived on campus as a freshman, I started a bilingual e-magazine focused on sharing the remarkable narratives of people from all walks of life and quickly established chapters in 4 universities around the world. I also co-founded a cohort-based summer incubator, Lizard Institute, to nurture and develop future leaders of China across sectors.
But my interest in tech grew every year I spent in Silicon Valley, and even in non-tech roles I explored. As a management consultant, I was the “Chinese tech expert” who used my knowledge of tech trends in China to advise the chief executives of a leading U.S. bank on how they should innovate on financial service products. And joining the Lime team pre-launch and helping to launch the micromobility industry in the U.S. made me realize how much I enjoyed category creation and making it a reality.
I have been deep in operating in the last 6 years, and I saw firsthand how difficult and rewarding it is to scale a company from early stage to public. At Lime (series A to D), I helped the co-founders craft the story for Series B fundraising, secured the first city contracts, and later on, drove rapid international expansion on the product team. At Amplitude, I helped build and scale the product growth team, driving product-led growth from Series D to a direct listing and beyond.
Over the years, I have developed deep empathy and respect for founders and want to help more going through the entrepreneurial journey. They have taken a chance on me in the past, they are some of my best friends, and I want to be there for them since the very beginning.
Early stage (0-1) is my favorite stage of investing because it’s all about discovering potential before anyone else sees it. I love partnering with visionary, outlier founders long before they need funding, to be a sounding board and be a long-term partner through thick and thin.
My Investment Theses
As an angel investor, I invest in seed or pre-seed startups in consumer and enterprise. I like to identify and work for the best founders working on disruptive ideas, across verticals. And I help founders with making introductions to potential customers and investors, hiring (product, engineering, design), growth strategy, product, and scaling.
In consumer, I am excited about how we entertain (metaverse, livestream shopping) and make a living (passion economy, future of work). In edtech, I believe there will be major shifts in k-12 education and professional development for knowledge workers. I’m trying to learn more about web3 infrastructure.
In enterprise, I am bullish on SaaS products born out of former operators who lived the pain of workflows or use cases that could be solved by technology, across infrastructure and SaaS. And I look for teams that have unique insights, are focused on solving end-user pain and relentlessly customer-obsessed. I look pretty broadly across SaaS (horizontal and vertical), infrastructure (data), and AI/ML.
But regardless of vertical, I love to partner with founders who are learning animals and have the ambition, grit and vision to create new categories that don’t exist yet.
How to partner
I’m actively angel investing and always on the lookout for founders I want to be a partner to in the next 10+ years. If you are a founder working on new ideas, even if you do not need funding now, I want to hear from you, be a sounding board, and discuss how I can help.
If you are a fellow angel investor or an institutional investor, I’d love to meet you and partner in future investments.
How to get in touch with me:
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