Nivi · June 28th, 2010
When startups raise money with AngelList, we encourage them to share their fundraising story. Here are 3 stories from BlockChalk, MightyMeeting, and Postling. I’ve excerpted the nice things they wrote about AngelList, but you should click through and read their whole posts — each startup tells their unique funding story from start to finish.
“AngelList [is] a service that sends pre-screened startup pitches to angel investors who sign up to receive them. We wrote up a version of our pitch that matched AngelList’s requested format (an exercise that in itself was very useful) and submitted it. They sent it out to the list and within a day we had received ten quality angel inquiries. In just a few days, we had our first new commitment — Tom McInerney.
“After Battery Ventures signed on to lead our round, Nivi and Naval sent BlockChalk out to AngelList once again. With this new added social proof, the response was even stronger than the first time around. We literally received dozens of new angel inquiries and things began to rapidly come together. In the span of a few days we had a commitment from the legendarily awesome Mitch Kapor. We also met Josh Stylman who signed on and also introduced us to Chris Dixon and Eric Paley of Founder Collective (who themselves signed on).
“AngelList is a remarkable experiment that is redefining the way entrepreneurs connect with angels. It’s something you want to be a part of.”
“We’ve been fortunate to get great advice from a few good people. Let me mention some of them here.
“First, there is Adeo Ressi’s Founder Institute. I did not get a chance to attend the training program, but I did have the pleasure of pitching at the Founder Showcase.
“The outcome of the event has been tremendous, and Adeo’s advice has been invaluable, always blunt and to the point. One of his emails started with: “You are making rookie mistakes and your round will fail”. Got my attention.
“True to the style, Adeo’s thefunded.com offers an honest review of the investment community. Definitely worth a look.
“Second, there is Venture Hacks. The blog is run by Nivi and Naval. I actually discovered their book before I discovered the blog. Both are highly recommended. Good stuff that will educate you and save you tons of time.
“Venture Hacks also runs AngelList. You can apply online. If you got the goods, you will get intros to angels in the list. The intros carry Venture Hacks credibility, which is significant.
“In our case, the intros we got through the Founder Showcase and through Venture Hacks lead to great connections and, ultimately, money in the bank.
“The exposure and intros we got helped us build the funnel.”
“AngelList is a collection of amazing angel investors, all waiting for your brilliant idea. You fill out an application and, if you’re awesome enough, your application will be sent out to everyone on the list. You’ll then be introduced personally over email to anyone who is interested.
“… we sent out our application once, touting our idea of “social media management for businesses”, got 8 fantastic introductions, and were ultimately funded by David Rose and Chris Yeh. The Venture Hacks guys came back to us and said, ‘We want to send your application back out onto AngelList with the added social proof of being invested.’
“To give you some context, over the last 3 months, we followed the Customer Development methodology and went outside of the building. And we found that the social media management tools space was commoditizing quickly, with everyone concentrating on selling to a small sliver at the top (media companies, PR, agency, etc). We also met with VCs, who gave us the same feedback. So it was time to pivot.
“So we pivoted (explained in the GigaOm post, but I’ll say more soon), and sent the new direction to AngelList. And this is where the craziness started.
“My first phone call was with Tom McInerney, 3 hours before I was flying out to SXSW. After about a 30 minute phone call, Tom was in. He then introduced me to his friend Paige Craig, who would also be at SXSW. I met Paige in Austin, and after meeting, he told me he was in. The next day, at a Venture Hacks meetup at the Four Seasons hotel, he pulled over Dave McClure. We went out to the balcony (he wanted a cigarette) and I pitched him. He was in. The following day, I spoke with Thomas Korte, who moved up our scheduled phone call a couple days once he heard Dave was investing, and he was in. I also got an email introduction via my friend Russ (founder of SeatGeek) about his investor Kal Vepuri, who was also at SXSW. Kal and I spoke on the balcony of the Austin Convention Center, and I was blown away by his intelligence and humility. So Kal was in. Finally, my friend Michael Galpert of Aviary connected me with Gary Vaynerchuk, who is a perfect investor for us given what he is passionate about (social media for businesses). David Cohen finished off our round not too long after that.”
Big thanks to the guys from BlockChalk, MightyMeeting, and Postling for sharing their fundraising stories for the benefit of other entrepreneurs.