AngelList The Worlds First On Demand VC-as-a-Service Platform

AngelList: The World’s First On Demand VC-as-a-Service Platform

beGobal Panel with Kevin Laws1

[Disclaimer: BootstrapLabs is an investor in AngelList and we have two syndicates, BootstrapLabs Syndicate and BootstrapLabs A+ Syndicate with Gil Penchina]

Last week I had the good fortune to find myself interviewing Kevin Laws, the COO of AngelList just a few days after they had launched a series of announcements that sent tremors through the entire startup and venture investment ecosystems:

  • Launched CSC Upshot: a new $400M seed fund dedicated mostly to early stage startups and syndicated deals on AngelList; which comes in addition to the existing Maiden Lane’s $25M fund launched in April 2014
  • Opened-up its backend infrastructure to offer “SPV as a Service” for angels and VCs interested in capturing pro-rata and/or additional carry on their best deals, across stages
  • Pushed its iOS App for its “joblist” marketplace

First of all, let’s briefly cover what came out of my fireside chat:

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  • AngelList is trying hard to stay in love with the problem they set out to solve when they first launched: “How do we help founders (globally) focus on what matters most, which is building their company and products, and spend less time fundraising?” You can sense that they have made this problem a core value at AngelList.
  • We argued that cross-border angel investing would not be possible without online platforms like AngelList, bringing both sides together (founders and angels), yet maybe more importantly without a trust & expertise based syndication model that aligns everyone’s interest, removes significant friction in the decision process (“emotional friction”) and ultimately building technology and processes to close the transactions (“physical friction”). Among the new stats shared by Kevin during our talk, he said that 10% of the capital invested online on AngelList was from outside Silicon Valley, while only 3% of completed fundraising online was for companies outside of the US. The new fund will definitely give a huge boost to the foreign capital percentage number above, unless they classify it as a US fund, event though it is backed 100% by Chinese capital.
  • Kevin placed the number of startups on AngelList at approximately 300,000 with  30,000 or 10% of them being in fundraising mode at any one time. In one sense, the odds of being “discovered” on AngelList are much better than they were in the Apple Store as of June 2015. There were over 1.5M apps, but the syndication of your round by a well known angel investor in Silicon Valley remains your best shot to stand out (kind of your equivalent to being featured by “Apple” in the store). The interesting bit for me was that this was still holding true for foreign companies trying to fundraise on AngelList. Kevin used the example of Descomplica, a Brazilian online education startup that raised $5M in February 2014 from Social+Capital, and used a syndicate led by my friend Lee Jacobs, a local angel investor with ties to Brazil, to ignite the fundraising on AngelList. Lee was also the very first to do a syndicate on AngelList so he gets pioneers’ points in my book :). Kevin also makes a very important point on the video below…you can invest anywhere but you might not be able to get your money back everywhere! Let us not forget that over 80% of technology M&A deals happen in Silicon Valley (buyer or seller is located there) and the last time I checked, corporate sales were responsible for 95% of the return of capital for VCs.

You can find a “meerkat” version of the interview here for now and I will upload a professional version from beGlobal as soon as it becomes available.

Now on with my two cents on their recent announcements:

CSC UPSHOT FUND

Some dubbed it the world’s largest seed fund and it sure is an impressive amount, but read the fine print. You realize that the investment thesis is broader…you are talking about investing in top startups (based on their metrics and syndicate leads) not just in Silicon Valley, but globally with the ability to do pro-rata and access later stage opportunities too (which are now facilitated even further due to their new SPV product). As I mentioned on stage, it takes a “Chinese billionaire” to have the humility to say “I do not have access to Silicon Valley deal flow, nor may I have the skills to vet it, but I sure can get some of the smartest people in the business to discover, vet, and syndicate some of their best deals for me, as well as secure access to follow-on funding via pro-rata rights and SPVs.” I am convinced that many institutions and family offices that invest in venture have been asking themselves why they did not think of it before, how maybe they just needed a lead to follow.

 

FREE ONLINE SPVs FOR ANGELS & VCs SYNDICATING LATER STAGE ROUNDS

This part did not grab the headlines, but this is probably the submerged part of the iceberg in my own opinion. By opening up its backend infrastructure and making these online SPVs free for Angels and VCs ($10K admin fee is spread among the LPs and AngelList does not charge any carry), AngelList is getting 3 very significant benefits:

  • they are getting all the LP contacts
  • they are accelerating the growth of their funds under management, and  
  • last but not least, they are capturing performance and return data at the source

This is by far the most significant announcement AngelList made that day for the future of AngelList.


“JOBLIST” iOS APP

If fundraising is among the top pain point of founders, recruiting talent is probably way up there as well, so it is only natural that AngelList spends a significant amount of time and capital improving its job marketplace product. It will also over time become a very strong competitive advantage and barrier to entry as “startup” skills and know-how are in very high demand across the world. There is also a very natural and synergistic relationship between fundraising and hiring since most $ startups raise goes to hiring more talent!

At BootstrapLabs we ask all our portfolio companies to create and maintain an up to date AngelList profile as a way of communicating with their stakeholders, including future employees.

Thank you to Kevin and the team at beGlobal for providing me with the opportunity!

So long and happy investing.

 

Presentation used by AngelList for their PR announcement

 

About Ben Levy


Twitter | LinkedIn

BL ProfileBen is the co-founder of BootstrapLabs, a Venture Investment Company that invests capital, experience, and skills into disruptive software companies from around the world, and helps their founders relocate to Silicon Valley to build BIG. Born in France and living in Silicon Valley for the past 17 years, Ben is a repeat entrepreneur who launched, built, and exited two startups in the financial technology space, one to Mergent, and another one to SecondMarket, who was recently acquired by NASDAQ.

He has also helped founders raise over $300M of capital from Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Investors and closed $5B worth of technology M&A transactions as an investment banker earlier in his career. He is a frequent speaker on innovation, investing, technology, entrepreneurship and globalization.


 

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BootstrapLabs at Innovation Skåne – Advice for Swedish entrepreneurs

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Lund, Sweden | Wednesday 21 October 2015

In a room full of entrepreneurs, BootstrapLabs founder Nicolai Wadström shared his thoughts on Silicon Valley unicorns, and the speculation of tech bubbles and overvalued startups. He reminded his audience to focus on value, and the fundamentals of the companies being touted as Unicorns.

Read more

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Event with Connect Angel Network in Malmo at Minc: Unicorn Factory/Leveraging Silicon Valley

ConnectNicolai Wadstrom, Founder and CEO of BootstrapLabs will share with Swedish entrepreneurs, local angels and the Connect Angel Network and Minc community his journey with BootstrapLabs.

mincAttendees will also receive valuable insights and learn how companies like Prezi scale from a small office in Budapest to a 300+ people company in Silicon Valley.

A guaranteed dose of inspiration will be provided to all the attendees!

Prezi Presentation from the Event

PICTURES FROM THE EVENT

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SPEAKER

Nicolai Wadstrom Founder & CEOBootstrapLabsNicolai Wadstrom, Founder & CEO of BootstrapLabs

Twitter | Linkedin

Nicolai Wadstrom, a serial entrepreneur turned parallell entrepreneur as the founder of BootstrapLabs, a Global Venture Capital firm based in Silicon Valley. Nicolai advises all portfolio startups in their day to day operations, connecting founders with industry experts, advisors and investors to increase their likelihood of success, assisting with product design and development, positioning, go-to-market strategy and implementation, partnerships and fundraising.

Multiple time Startup CEO, CTO. Raised capital from Angels, Private Equity, Investment Banks and VC’s. Angel investor and adviser to Internet, Software, Mobile and Digital Media startups in Europe and Silicon Valley, including BootstrapLabs portfolio companies such as Prezi, Zerply, Audiodraft and Witsbits. Nicolai has been writing code since he was 10 years old, and still speaks Java fluently. He is very focused on product and technology development within the Big Data, Analytics, Internet, Mobile and Software/Cloud sectors. Nicolai is a frequent guest speaker, mentor and judge at Universities and Conferences in the US and Europe.

Startup BD: Hacking The Strategic Partnership

On February 20th, 5:30 pm, San Francisco

Startup BD is about growing your company by doing deals.

Experts from Facebook, Pinterest, Klout, Spotify, DocuSign, Foundersuite, Automattic (WordPress), MessageMe and more will talk about how to use strategic partnerships, APIs, and platforms to fuel growth. We will also cover best practice, tips for doing deals, and pitfalls to avoid.

Come join us early, stay late, join the fun.

Sign-up at www.startupbd.com

Use code BSL25 to get a discount.

 

Startups Exits Event on the 17th Jan, 2013

Join us and corporate development principals and successful entrepreneurs for a special evening event on the topic of Startup Exits.

Hear stories from entrepreneurs who’ve sold their companies; how they did it, what they learned and what they would do differently next time.
Meet M&A leaders from some of the most active acquirers in the cloud, B2B, and enterprise space. Learn what they’re looking for, how their processes work, and how you can best position your startup for a healthy acquisition.

Enjoy complimentary appetizers and network with colleagues over an open bar.

It’s shaping up to be a fantastic event; we have speakers from A16Z, Marketo, Jive, Zendesk, Salesforce, Exact Target and DropBox confirmed. This is a great platform to socialize with a targeted, high-potential, and very-appreciative audience of about ~150 startup founders (including many from YC, TechStars, 500Startup, etc.).

BootstrapLabs is co-hosting this event with our partner, Venture Archetypes, and it’s on location at our San Francisco office right at Rocket Space (181 Fremont St).

More details and RSVP here: http://www.startupexits.com/

Startup Sauna

Startup Sauna and BootstrapLabs Demo Day

Come and experience the Northern European and Russian startup scene right in the Bay Area! The stars of the day are Startup Sauna early-stage teams from Finland, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, China, Canada, Latvia and Italy that are going to pitch and demo their products!

We have drinks and snacks available, awesome guests and a special treat that most of the world hasn’t tasted before: Finnish Lake Water 😉

When: Thursday, May 24, 2012 from 6:00 PM

Venue: Rocketspace (181 Fremont Street, San Francisco), that BootstrapLabs and friends also call home in San Francisco

PROGRAM

  • 6:00pm – 6:30pm Doors open
  • 6:30pm – 6:35pm Welcome to the Startup Sauna & Bootstrap Labs
  • 6:35pm – 6:50pm From Northern Europe to the Valley – Zerply & Prezi
  • 6:50pm – 7:50pm Demo time!
  • 8:00pm Feedback, announcing of the winner
  • Networking

Startup Sauna, founded in 2010, is the open source seed accelerator that is kicking early stage startup-ass in Northern Europe, Baltics and Russia. Our startups have raised over $15 million in seed funding – most recently $1,4 million for Ovelin (SV DemoDay Fall 2011) from TrueVentures.

BootstrapLabs has helped European Technology startups, such as Prezi, Zerply, Witsbits, Mancx and Audiodraft to connect and relocate to the Silicon Valley eco-system since 2008. Today these startups are valued at $100M+ and employ more than 90 people.

Teams attending:

  • Adduplex – the leading cross-promotion network for Windows Phone apps. Serving already +60 million impressions per month. (Lithuania)
  • Advacam – the future of non-invasive X-ray inspection. Advanced color X-ray imaging camera for light weight material inspection. (Finland)
  • Campalyst – Manage all your social media profiles, measure online sales and optimize your communication strategy to increase ROI – all from a single dashboard. (Latvia/Lithuania)
  • Goalshouter – A crowdsourcing service helping supporters and football teams of any level, to collect and share stats and emotions during the game and using them afterward. (Italy)
  • Goodbuzz – provides tools that automates social marketing for small business that can’t afford to hire experts. Results are guaranteed. Advertisers don’t pay if they don’t get better marketing result. (Lithuania)
  • iJudgeFights – a co-viewing app and scoring platform that lets fans of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) score fights round-by round in real-time and share and compare with friends and insiders, anywhere in the world. (China/Canada)
  • Infogr.am – provides a super-easy tool for making interactive infographics. One of the most beautiful products we’ve seen. (Latvia)
  • MNE Creations – the Pixar of mobile educational games. We create fun, innovative games around the social sciences; our first game will be used to raise awareness for endangered species. (China/Canada)
  • NordicHug – the first natural disinfection company! We develop disinfection products for modern smartphones, tablet computers and medical equipment. Our innovative formula, which is based on 15 years of research, is natural, effective and safe for devices and their users. (Finland)
  • Omyconf! – makes business events digital’ with its cloud platform for organizers and visitors. We help organizers save cost and time of managing events, and visitors benefit from powerful networking and planning tools. (Russia)
  • Zennis – a complete solution (hardware+sofware) to revolutionize the tennis playing experience – tracking and providing data about the player + ball movements and automating refereeing. (Finland)

RSVP

Sign-up to attend here:

http://startupsaunasiliconvalley2012.eventbrite.com/

Startup Sauna

European Demo Day in San Francisco with Startup Sauna

Come and meet some of the most exciting European startups here in San Francisco!

Together with our friends at Startup Sauna and I/O ventures we are organizing a demo day, so please join us and experience the Northern European and Russian startup scene right in the Bay Area! The stars of the day are Startup Sauna early-stage teams from Finland, Sweden, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland that are going to pitch and demo their products!

We have drinks and snacks available, awesome guests and a special treat that most of the world hasn’t tasted before: Finnish Lake Water 😉

Venue: I/O Ventures (780 Valencia St. – between 18th St & 19th St)

Program

  • 6:00pm – 6:30pm Doors open
  • 6:30pm – 6:45pm Tribute to the most awesome keynote ever
  • 6:45pm – 7:30pm Demo time
  • 7:45pm – 8:00pm Feedback, selection of the winner
  • 8:00pm -> Networking and aaaafteerrparttyy!

The startups presenting

  • Antslab – Application that helps people with diabetes track their condition by automatically downloading their glucose levels from their glucose meter to their mobile phone (Lithuania & Spain)
  • InBelly – Crowd sourced online- and mobile guide to educate consumers about food additives. (Lithuania)
  • Linkedviews – Small device which turns the mobile phone into a TV remote. (Finland)
  • Maxygen – 10 minute, 10$ DNA test with disposable cartridges. (Russia)
  • MobileBrainBank – A huge mobile developer community. (Finland)
  • Qminder – Mobile queue management app. (Estonia, winners of mini Seedcamp Prague)
  • Yodiz – Project management software for developers focusing on SCRUM and AGILE -methods. (Finland)
  • Zonear – Created Boilerbuild, which builds, optimizes and deploys HTML5 apps with one click. (Finland)
  • Ovelin. Creator of the educational real life guitar hero game WildChords. No. 1# Music App in 27 App Stores (Finland)
  • Zerply – The professional network for the Twitter generation (Bay Area, originally from Sweden & Estonia)
Looking forward to see you there!
More information and RSVP here!

Startup Exits Event

Startup Exit Event #4 is now starting to materialize, so please save the date for 19th of January, 2012 in San Francisco!

Join successful entrepreneurs and startup acquisition professionals for a special evening event in San Francisco on the topic of “Startup Exits.” Hear stories from entrepreneurs who’ve sold their companies– how they did it, what they learned, and what they would do differently next time.

The event is going to rock, and will give crucial insight for any VC and startup Entrepreneur, the current line up for the panel is made up of:

  • Ilya Fushman, Corporate Development, Dropbox
  • Bruce Jaffee, EVP of Corporate Development, Glam Media
  • Lorraine McDonough, VP of Corporate Development, eBay
  • Tom Duterme, Corporate Development, Groupon
  • Nathan Beckord, Principal, VentureArchetypes Startup Advisors (Moderator)

Nordic Incubator Night with BootstrapLabs Founder on April 13th

Please join BootstrapLabs founder, Nicolai Wadstrom, on April 13, 2011, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm for a Silicon Vikings evening focusing on the needs of Nordic companies in transitioning to Silicon Valley, and the services, training and preparation which ought to be offered by incubators in the Nordic region to prepare start-ups for the journey.

University based business incubators are needed to facilitate commercialization for university developed technology as well as to give entrepreneurs hands-on practical training. What practical training do they need? What is the feed back loop? What regular program of “show and tell” sessions will ensure that entrepreneurs get feedback early and often.

While an incubator cannot duplicate or replace an entire ecosystem, learning to interact with the other players in the entrepreneurial startup ecosystem is a key driver — how is this to be done? Where and when does the tech transfer office get involved? How do the incubators prepare the startup for the challenges and opportunities of Silicon Valley?

Silicon Vikings has gathered a panel (including BootstrapLabs founder, Nicolai Wadstrom) to debate these topics and offer observations and suggestions. The audience will include the heads of InnovationsbronSIVAAalto Venture Garage and many other University affiliated incubators from the Nordic Region in the Valley to attend the National Business Incubator Association Conference in San Jose April 10-13.

More details at Silicon Vikings Website.

Please RSVP here.