2023: 10 years of Angel Investing and (finally) evergreen….I think.

Chris Adelsbach
5 min readDec 31, 2023
Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

I’ve tried to write an annual letter for the last few years as a full-time angel investor. I had every intention of writing one last year, but due to a number of health gremlins, by the time I felt up to it, it was late January, and I felt like the moment had passed. Thankfully, this year I feel fit as a fiddle so thought I’d share a few thoughts and some metrics that punctuated the year 2023. If you want to read previous end of year letters, here is the one from 2019, 2020, and 2021.

I doubled down on fintech in 2022.

In 2021 I was very bullish on early stage fintech startups and I promised that I would ‘double down’ in 2022. Broadly speaking, I did this. I invested in 41 deals as an angel in 2022 of which 12 were follow-on rounds where I did, indeed, ‘double-down’ on my first investment ticket. 2022 was a year that was full of uncertainty, but my conviction in Griffin Bank, Sharegain, Outfund, Cuvva, Atom Bank, and Post Quantum was greater than my uncertainty. As I write in late 2023, I’m still thrilled about these companies.

But it’s the end of 2023 so the focus of this letter is the past 12 months.

My focus areas in 2023 were green fintech, embedded finance, AI, insurance and DeFi.

In 2023 I made 19 direct investments of which 6 were follow on investments. I also participated in a further 20+ as an LP in two early stage funds (although I never include indirect investments in my count). Here are a few companies that are worth highlighting!

Green Fintech/Clean-tech

Cloover: Cloover provides sustainable home improvement companies an embedded finance solution which makes solar, heat pumps and EV charging more affordable for consumers. I met Cloover founder, Peder, through another founder I previously backed, Juan Espinosa. Thanks Juan!

Camion Energy: Camion is building the platform to help landowners understand the energy value of their portfolios, connect with key partners, ad deliver the infrastructure that fleets and tenants need to be at the forefront of the energy transition. I met the founder of Camion via the lead VC on the deal.

Connect Earth: Connect Earth’s transaction API helps businesses such as banks offer their customers insight into the climate impact of their spending decisions. I met Connect Earth founder, Alex, via Portfolio Ventures, where I am an LP.

Renew Risk: Renew Risk enhances risk analysis for developers, insurers and financiers of renewable energy projects. This drastically helps them unlock liquidity pools of capital which accelerates energy transition. I met Renew Risk CEO Ashima, via a former backer of my own start-up.


Arkifi.ai: Arkifi has created the world’s most powerful finance workflow automative tool using Generative AI. It’s unique architecture creates deterministic output that never makes up factual information which allows enterprises to trust results in an unparalleled way. I met the founder, Jeremy, via his brother, who I had met when he participated in Techstars London.

Kavida.ai: Kavida integrates with an existing ERP and communication tools so that procurement managers can better manage orders until fulfilment. I met Anam through his cold outreach via Linked-in. Yes, this does occasionally work!


Anansi: Anansi provides insurance and claims technology for e-commerce parcel delivery. I first met Meghan through another portfolio company of mine, Marshmallow CEO, Oliver.

Koala: Koala builds fair and simple travel insurance products and services for the travel industry. I met the Koala team after I volunteered to deliver my founders story and conducted office hours during a visit to Techstars Paris.


Open-Trade: Open-trade enables 3rd parties like exchanges, fintechs, wallets, and custodians to build institutional grade yield products backed by real worlds assets. They enable investors to build diversified portfolios of tokenised fixed income products. I met the founder, Dave, through an intro from Michael who I first met when he was a senior leader at Barclays.

My metrics are still looking pretty good — even after a very tough 2023

As of today I’ve had 13 exits (some better than others) and have had 16 companies go to zero. >80% of the companies I backed are still operating. As you would expect, I am not immune from the power law and a handful of companies are driving most of my financial return. With that said, many of my investments were made in the past three years so I’m hoping for a broad based return across many companies in the future. I’d love it if I was the angel investor who baked the most winners, not just the biggest winners!

‘Evergreen’ status achieved in the year I fulfilled my promise.

I began my angel investing journey in early 2014, shortly after I sold my startup. My personal commitment was to invest 50% of the proceeds from selling my company into the next generation of startups. In 2023, I hit this target.

It’s hard to believe that it’s taken a decade for me to personally meet over 7,500 startups and invest in over 200 of them, but I can tell you, it’s been a journey I’ve very much enjoyed.

My objectives along the way have slightly evolved, but broadly speaking I want to:

  1. Back the best seed-stage founders, building the the most innovative and profitable businesses in fintech (and some adjacencies). Here is my Crunchbase profile if you want to know who they are.
  2. The businesses I back should be ones that I’m proud to put my name to and the founders should be people I’d have over to my home. Last summer I held such an event and had nearly 150 founders and their partners attend!
  3. I want to be a value-add investor. I wrote a little about this in my Angel Manifesto. I’ve subsequently joined the board of the UK Business Angels Association. Please consider joining!
  4. I want to build a track record as the leading ‘first cheque’ fintech investor so that later stage investors will want to meet my portfolio companies if I get involved. This article by Business Insider which analysed over 2500 Seed stage UK/European investors suggests that I am on the right track.
  5. I want to lead by example. The ‘secondary impact’ I want to make is to back successful founders who will, one day, become angels themselves and, perhaps, make a similar commitment as me.

So that’s a wrap

Angel investing is not easy. As you may have noticed above, I’ve shared with you the nexus of some of my 2023 deals to demonstrate that this is a team sport. I learn about opportunities from many angles. I only wish their were more hours in the day!

As an angel, I spend time reading and learning, mentoring, public speaking, travelling to events, sharing deals with other angels and VC’s, and helping portfolio companies with their ‘asks. I’ve been sharing my experience because it feels like the thing a good team-member should do and I hope others may gain a small amount of inspiration to also get involved.

So with that, I wish you a happy, prosperous and peaceful New Year.




Chris Adelsbach

Entrepreneur, mentor and investor focussing on early Fintech talent.