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A Day in the Life of an Angel Investor – Ali Jamal

Exploring Emerging Markets and the High-Risk High-Reward World of Early Stage Startups

Podcast Summary

Ali Jamal has an impressive track record when it comes to investing. His angel syndicate has deployed over $25 million in capital across 120 deals with more than 4,000 LPs. As the Founding Partner at First Check Ventures, Ali is giving a boost to some of today’s most exciting startups across the globe. 

In this episode, Ali talks all things angel investing — where he’s been, where he’s going, and some of the best deals he’s seen along the way:

  • Like many angels, Ali started off his career by accident. With many friends in the startup world, he soon found himself contributing portions of his steady corporate paycheck to their passions. What started off as lending some cash to friends soon turned into a new way of life. After investing with an angel syndicate, Ali began refining his own views of the world and its tech opportunities. 
  • With First Check Ventures, Ali isn’t interested in established companies — he’s after early ideas with big potential to produce 100, 200, even 500 times return. While that type of risk leads to a lot of strikeouts, it also means huge rewards. Ali generalizes across all industries, but focuses specifically on things people will use day-to-day (like food delivery apps or ride hailing services)
  • Ali is a big proponent of emerging markets, particularly in Latin America. As he puts it, there are 700 million people across the region with the same GDP per capita as China. That’s a business opportunity half the size of China, and yet Latin America receives only 1/10th the amount of venture capital. There’s a lot of untapped potential there. 
  • So what’s next for Ali? He is interested in starting a venture fund for some of today’s earliest stage startups. According to him, many of these companies are often overlooked. Afterall, it’s hard to get people excited about something so bare bones when others with proven tech are planning to IPO within the next few years. Ali wants to focus on these newcomers, many of which will have a 10 year return horizon.

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