E399: How AngelList is transforming startups and funding



about this episode

If you’ve never heard of AngelList or Naval Ravikant, you’ll never forget the man or the platform after this interview. The online community lets potential investors and startups mingle, meet, and get deals flowing. And now with the addition of syndicates, smaller investors can join in on the deals of angel investors they back. As Naval put it, “it’s like Kickstarter, but for equity.” When he sat down with Jason at LAUNCH Hackathon, they cut to the core of what early-stage entrepreneurs want to know. Should I join an accelerator? Which one? How do I get through my Series A crunch? When do I stay lean, and when do I try to scale? All these questions and more answered in this great episode.

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2:08 Welcome Naval. You started as an entrepreneur with two past companies. Tell us about them.
2:45 What was your role at those companies? When you look at that first wave and crazy bubble, compare it to what some people are calling Bubble 2.0 or at least frothy? Tell us where you stand.
4:42 Lot of talk about a Series A crunch. Is it true or not?
6:00 Why is this go lean strategy is the best way?
6:40 Why is it that investors tell startups to scale too early?
7:10 So the VCs and bigger investors suddenly realize they might miss the chance to own 30% of your company.
7:30 Let’s talk a little bit about AngelList in the early days. You started writing VentureHacks and unpacking the venture capital game. People were not happy!
9:25 AngelList started as you emailing people about opportunities while you were out having coffee with people. Is that correct?
10:15 How much has been raised through the site or as a result of the site?
10:56 How many companies have you invested in and what’s your current pace of investment?
11:27 Let’s talk about something big, the JOBS Act. Explain what exactly happened that’s relevant to founders.
13:15 You decided to launch public-facing syndicates.
15:02 Thank you @Snapterms. Visit snapterms.com and enter the code TWIST for 10% off.
16:50 Where do think this is going in terms of doing it right and lean. If somebody was going to do the $50k-$500k-$1.5m deal, it sounds like exactly what AngelList is capable of doing.
18:10 Something like Pinterest or Airbnb or Dropbox might not look very difficult to do today.
19:12 What do you think of the accelerators and their future in all this? Obviously YCombinator and TechStars are the gold standard. Should you give 6% of your company away for $15k? Is it worth it?
21:10 Pick your top 3 accelerators in the last year that aren’t YCombinator or TechStars.
22:05 If you had an idea today that could go either enterprise or consumer, which one should you build and why in today’s market?
23:08 What are the chances of success today for startups pursuing a consumer vs enterprise strategy?
24:50 How many years did it take you to get to AngelList?
25:30 When you started AngelList, there was significant pushback from powerful people.
26:06 What was the thing you found about later, that was a way people tried to scuttle this project?
28:36 When you started getting that resistance to AngelList, did it act as motivation, an indication that you got it right?
29:55 How bad is journalism today? What percentage does the tech press get right?
32:44 What makes a company in your mind worthy of me or Kevin Rose or David Sacks putting out to a syndicate?
35:07 I was thinking if I did a video of me talking to the founders, would that give me an advantage to backers?
35:42 What if I wrote a blog post about why I’m jazzed up about the company and the team?
50:10 Audible Author Extra with James Altucher. His latest book is Choose Yourself! Sign up at http://audible.com/twist.

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