AngelList – Santa Never Sleeps

Posted by on Dec 16, 2010 in General | No Comments

A somewhat briefer post today about a group I recently joined called AngelList. The essence of what they’ve done is to create a worldwide community of angel investors, connecting them with startups looking for funding through a curated email distribution list of investors.  If your company is putting together an angel round, including one that’s partially raised but needs to be finished off, it’s a great service for connecting with investors, including the Pasadena Angels.

It’s not an investment fund, and it’s not the sleazy individuals that claim to be angels but are nothing more than consultants that don’t really help you raise money. They also don’t charge entrepreneurs fees for their services like some angel groups, which makes it particularly appealing to Jason Calcanis and me.

AngelList was started by a serial entrepreneur, Naval Ravikant and a VC named Babak Nivi. The site has almost 400 angel investors and 267 VCs as members, including ones in Europe, Australia and Canada.  In a short span of time AngelList has looked at over 1000 deals and has helped fund more than 100 companies.

Some of the AngelList investors, like myself, let you contact them directly. Through my profile page, feel free to connect with me and the Pasadena Angels, as some local companies have already done.  Along with my page, Bob Aholt our Vice Chairman, is there as well.  All we ask before contacting us is that you’ve built a minimum viable product and learn something about your customers by putting it in front of them. After that, just send us your informative150-word elevator pitch, and we’ll look forward to talking. If you can’t get that far without some outside help, there’s an informative post on Ideas Investors that’s worth reading.

Like the Pasadena Angels’ application, the AngelList process is easy (~20 minutes) and pretty straightforward. Their process also forces you to focus on the key points for investors that I’ve mentioned in previous posts—social proof, traction, team, how do you compare to competition, elevator pitch, etc.

AngelList also has a blog and sister site, Venture Hacks, that are well worth following. For pitching the Pasadena Angels, some of the best advice on these sites includes how to create a great elevator pitch  and pitch deck. There are also great write-ups on how not to do your pitch, including an example from Ali G (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his Ice Cream Glove. It’s worth seeing, if for no other reason than his explanation of why his company is a  $34.6 Million billion opportunity.  Better yet is the response from the VC—“This is not going to happen.”