My angel investing thesis

Sarah Drinkwater
4 min readJul 6, 2022

Background: I made a Notion listing what I care about in terms of angel investing. Cross-posting here for those who follow my Medium.

👷‍♀️ My thesis

I’ve spent over 15 years building community and coalitions online/offline and for big and small tech companies; it’s clear to me that the best distribution mechanisms, product feedback or marketing plans are built with, and by, fans and co-owners.

So a core thesis I have — whether the company is web2 or web3 or across verticals such as femtech, fintech or future of work (I’m agnostic and pretty curious about many areas )— is in the power of community-directed models.

Through my work at Omidyar Network and in various web3 projects, I’m also passionate about new power; groups who in the past had less voice or agency can be enabled, through technology, to have dramatically more of both.

I like games with many winners.

I believe great businesses or projects think about their larger role as responsible citizens in society, and do their best to behave accordingly.

I get excited by big bold bets led by brilliant people, working together. Common magic.

👋 About me

Based in 🇬🇧 and have lived in 🇺🇸🇮🇳🇮🇱🇩🇪. Ask me about moving internationally, twice, during a pandemic ☠️ I’m a pluralist at heart and in practise. Here are some current loves:


Gitcoin’s public goods grants (public goods are good)

Crypto, Culture & Society DAO (the liberal arts college for crypto)

Startupy (season 0 curator, community-curated search engine)


Design Museum (first creative founder program housed in a European museum)

Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web (preserving humanity’s most important info)

Mind Foundry (non-exec director, responsible AI for the real world)

New Public (digitally healthy social spaces)


My first career was in journalism and I sometimes still write on Mirror and Medium.

There, you can find stories like what happened when a complete stranger gave me $10,000 (spoiler: I gave it all away).

Or how I think Europe needs an angel investing revolution.

Or how community + scale are opposites (but you probs need to hire a hire a Chief Community Officer anyway).


Built and lead the responsible technology team at Omidyar Network, investing/funding/coalition building with tech workers trying to figure out how we build a better internet.

Highlights: building Ethical Explorer (Fast Company winner), funding brilliant folks like New Public, Ifeoma Ozoma at Earthseed, MacArthur genius awardee Professor Safiya Noble and the Center for Urgent Internet Enquiry, Logic School, #ResponsibleCS, Zebras Unite

Before that, first person Google hired internationally with “community” in my title. Led team focused on social layer on Google Maps from Tokyo to Berlin; led East London’s gamechanging startup space, Campus London. Lots of 00s startups before that. Before that, journalism.

Most years, I write terrible novels, but have a great time doing so.

Mum to a limb different toddler (learn more here). Follow me on Twitter

How I help founders:

  • Community and coalition building is my core skillset; I’ve helped teams build strategies, hire their leads, set goals and tweak as they go.
  • Positioning and narrative; from pitch decks to op-eds, many founders use me to help refine how they talk about what they do.
  • And I make the most of my wide network, from VCs to potential hires.

💰 Portfolio

(some in stealth)

I’ve benefitted so much from being part of Atomico’s Angel program; learn more about it here.

☎️ How to find me

No need for warm intros.

Here’s a short form (warning: I only check it once a week. It might take me a little time, but I reply to every submission I’m sent. Please tell me if your round is closing soon)

On Fridays 9–11am GMT I’m in Anyone’s phonebooth. Schedule a quick call here to introduce yourself and share your pitch.

✏️ FAQs

  • Stages: Usually early (pre-seed, seed)
  • Geographies: Mostly Europe.
  • Average check size: Small (£2–20K) but I expect, and want, to be useful.
  • I particularly like working with founders who know themselves, who are great communicators, and who have what I call distance travelled. This means they’ve had to work for where they are now; it could be mean they’re underrepresented in their field, not 21, have an atypical background or have tried before — and learnt from what went wrong.



Sarah Drinkwater

Solo GP Common Magic, investing in products with community at their core. Into communities, the best uses of technologies, London, looks and books.