The Social Network for Startups (AngelList)
-- By Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, January 20, 2014
Brad Stone, senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek and author of the recent (and excellent) Bezos/Amazon bio, covers the ins and outs of AngelList, the thriving marketplace for early stage angel investors and startups.
- Compelling founder story – Founder Naval Ravikant is a self-made success story. His family came to the US when he was just 9, following his pharmacist father who had come from India five years prior.
- Founder track record – Ravikant’s prior company, Epinions was a success.
- Personal reason to launch startup – Ravikant felt cheated in the sale of Epinions, which he had cofounded, and wanted to help entrepreneurs avoid his mistakes.
- Unmet need – AngelList helps entrepreneurs and early stage angels find each other.
- Timeliness – The startup “market” could not be hotter, and the JOBS Act is allowing broader dissemination of private investment opportunities, so yes, a story about startups and venture capital is particularly timely.
- Quick comparison – AngelList is compared with Kickstarter.
- Disruptive – AngelList fights the “smoke-filled room” idea of having to know the right people to find the right deal.
- Clear value proposition – AngelList’s value proposition is as clear as they come: AngelList makes “startup investing transparent, efficient and more open.”
- Referenceable clients – AngelList shares notable names such as Tim Ferris, Kevin Rose and Uber.
- Client stories – The article points to how Sprig raised $500k in one day because investors saw Brian O’Malley of Accel was in already. Sprig CEO Gagan Biyani goes so far as to say: “Fundraising is a pain that takes you away from building a company. Using AngelList was a no-brainer.”
- Metrics – AngelList quotes 500 startups having raised $125 million in 2013.
- Third-party endorsement – None given.
- Trendiness – The story is pretty light on trendspotting, but all things venture capital are always of interest.
- Healthy skepticism – Stone brings in a quick quote from an unnamed source who expresses concern that AngelList might incentivize greater risk-taking by investors, but ultimately gives Ravikant the final say, with a rebuttal quote closing out the article.
For more information on the Anatomy of a Startup Profile series, click here.