Investing in start-ups

Hello guys,
are you investing in start-ups? Are you doing it through dedicated ETF (if yes, which one)? Are you doing directly in small business you know in person? Are you doing through dedicated platforms, (such as wefunder, seedinvest, startenginr, Republic, angellist,…)?

Which is your experience? And, which return are you getting? Which costs and conditions?

Many thanks to all for sharing your experiences

I used EquityZen.

I have not been there long enough to comment on the returns but I noticed few things:

  • valuations tend to be already on the high side
  • you need to enter early - first time you have an option to buy on the site

Cost: 5%. Looks a lot but if you get the right unicorn :unicorn:, then it’s not a big deal

I’ve had an account on multiple platforms for a while, but so far only invested through (formerly

An ETF for seed / series X rounds does not exist afaik, but there are some for companies that IPO’d. For true venture capital, you’d have to go with a listed share of a venture capital / specialized private equity company if you don’t want to invest directly through the various platforms.

Didn’t want to bring it up because it is not the same, but since you mentioned it:

I am invested in it. Nice volatility, end of January it was 47% down from ATH and I was down 35% in it, but it had years with +100% return.


How’s that going? I normally can’t find the time to dig into the proposed start-ups and when I did, either I knew too little about the field or I was not impressed by the founders. Also the minimum investment of 10/15k CHF puts me off (but I understand it’s not easy to allow lower amounts).

They did create a fund of sort with their startups inside, but IIRC the minimum investment is 100K or more.

I either quickly sort-out a proposal or do my due diligence, which requires about 2h or until you hit the first red flag. So far I looked at maybe 10 out of 100 proposals and invested in 3 (pretty much one per year). None had an exit / updated valuation / bankruptcy yet, so as expected, this is a long time play.

I have no need for the investment to be in an area I am familiar with. In fact I believe if that’s a criteria you will end up invested in a biased portfolio. My ticket size is 20 to 30k CHF.


I invest through 3 syndicates in Canada, US, Switzerland which is great for deal flow. Some are fund based (they make decisions) and others you pay a membership fee to get access to deal flow and additionally, a mgmt fee + carry for the deal leads to conduct DD +fiduciary responsibilities. If any of you is in healthcare and is interested in joining The Swiss Health Angels let me know. We are largest angel group in Switzerland for healthcare industry. Lots of Roche and Novartis current and ex employees + many other smaller company employees in the group. About 50 investors. If you don’t know the space, I would not recommend joining the group.

Actually I had one exit this week which was a 4.5x payout in one year but of course this is not the norm. Average returns for angel investing are 24% per year. High risk, high reward.

Just one such year (2020) since inception in 2013 - or am I missing something?

No, Captain, you don’t miss anything.


I’m also in two startups thru aka Both don’t seem to be close to any form of exit or bankruptcy neither. Oldest investment is almost 5 years ago, so slowly regretting not putting that money into Bitcoin instead.

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I use seedrs.

The returns are a little above the stock market. But it’s not liquid.
I don’t think it’s worth it and the impact on the overall portfolio is low.

What is the return after fees (membership, carry etc)?

I feel like I could learn from you.

Wouldn’t it be nice to create a group of interests within forum members? We could do our due diligence in parallel, see the founders’ pitch, and then meet to discuss our impressions, thus benefitting from each others’ insights (mostly fears in my case, but then again that might turn out useful too…).


do you see a real time evaluation once you are in? how does it work in practical term? why did you get with this platform?

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which platforms did you use/analyse? why did you end up in this one? minimum investment and fees?

how easy is to exit from this? enough volume exchanged?

smaller Tickes are not possible/suggested?

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how much would be the carg in 10 years?

how much did you get after 5 years? in which sector(s) did you invest? which ticket size?

when you speak about not being liquid, what do you mean? how easy is to get out if needed? at which costs and with which implications?

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interesting…in which sector are you playing? which kind of ticket size? which time horizon? which platform?