Liz Gannes from AllThingsD has a great article on AngelList today:

“AngelList ran the numbers this week and found that venture capitalists are actually more active than angels on its year-old service…

“Currently, 725 angels and 557 venture capitalists subscribe to their matchmaking service. (Nivi counts 378 of the VCs as multi-stage investors, and 179 as seed-fund investors.)…

“AngelList doesn’t formally track the investments that occur due to those intros, but Nivi estimated that the service has helped orchestrate funding for 219 start-ups from 384 investors.

“AngelList counts about half of the investors in each category as active participants. Active seed fund investors have taken 5.6 AngelList intros on average, active multi-stage VCs have taken 5.4, and angels have taken 5.

Read the article to find out who are the 5 most active VCs on AngelList and which VCs have recently invested in startups via AngelList.

We generated most of the data in Liz’s article at her request. It’s always fun answering questions from reporters like Liz because they force you to think.

The venture industry works on the premise that investors are generalists and entrepreneurs are specialists. VCs are good at being, well, VCs, and the entrepreneurs have to be really good at whatever specific task they set out to do.

This isn’t by choice—ask an entrepreneur what they’re looking for in an investor and they won’t say things like “advice, corporate governance, recruiting.” Entrepreneurs would prefer someone who has specific connections, interest, and knowledge about the market they’re attacking and the technology they’re building.

The problem is that it’s very, very difficult to find VCs by sector and expertise. The new markets feature on AngelList solves that problem. For example, a smartphone baby monitoring company joined AngelList. They wanted to meet investors with who had expertise in Analytics, Babies, Consumer Electronics, Parenting, and Mobile. A music startup joined AngelList and wanted to know which investors still love the music market (and which hate it).

Now you can go find your specialist investor. The one who can really add value. Try the search box or browse.

See Part 1 for an introduction to the new markets feature on AngelList. This part is all about the details.

Creating new markets

We encourage people to use the existing markets, but anyone can create a new market:

Admins organize the new markets

The admins regularly review new markets and delete, rename, alias, or merge them (we stole this straight from Quora). Only the admins have these powers and only the admins can set the parents and children of a market. For example, see Internet’s parents and children in the sidebar at

…and you can see the full Internet tree at

Trying to make it “just work”

I don’t think we could have made a list of 20 canonical markets and called it a day. Believe me, we tried—and it would have been a lot easier. Just check out the rich set of markets here—20 hand-picked markets wouldn’t do justice to the diverse interests of investors and startups.

It’s also the nature of venture capital to chase new markets, whether it’s a broad new market like Mobile or a specific one like Location Based Services. A static set of markets defeats the purpose.

So we let anyone create a new market and we use tricks to keep things from spinning out of control. I’ve already written about how admins organize the markets. Next, we hide markets with fewer than 10 followers:

Third, we use color to indicate that following a market also implicitly follows its children. For example, I just followed Mobile and all of it’s children turned green:

If I hover over one of Mobile’s children, I see a message like this:

So if you’re already following Mobile, you don’t need to follow Mobile Commerce. But the “Follow Anyway” link lets investors add Mobile Commerce to their profile, if they want to show startups that they’re specifically interested in Mobile Commerce.

The markets are technically not a tree

Even though I say that the markets are organized in a tree—like your desktop file system—that’s not technically true. They’re actually a directed acyclic graph (DAG). The main difference between a DAG and a tree is that a market can have multiple parents. It’s as if a file on your desktop could be in two folders at once.

For example, Games has two parents: Information Technology and Consumers. You can see the Games tree at

Structuring the markets as a DAG is Yet Another Idea I Stole from Quora™. It would have been impossibly difficult to implement markets with an actual tree—we would have had to put each market inside exactly one parent. Where would you put Games or Mobile Enterprise or Digital Media? Multiple parents ease the burden of organizing markets.

(Crazy people can learn more about different classification systems like DAGs, tags, and trees here).

The most accurate set of market names in the world?

Back in the day, when investors applied to AngelList, we had a text box that asked investors to list the markets they’re interested in, and the markets they’re not interested in. We extracted the initial set of market names from this text. Then we automatically made those investors follow and block those markets. Finally, we replaced the text-box with a nice autocomplete form:

I think we now have the most accurate set of venture capital market names in the world. First, the initial markets were self-reported by investors, so they came up with their own names for markets. Second, there was no autocomplete until very recently, so each investor named their markets independently, without looking at what other investors were doing.

In other words, investors voted for market names independently, without being influenced by how other investors were naming markets—and that’s a critical component of a wise crowd.

AngelList now has markets at and we’re using them to match startups and investors. The markets look like this:

Startups add markets to their profile, investors follow markets, and we match them. Magic!

1. Adding markets to startup profiles

Startups can add 4 markets to their profile:

And here’s what a startup sees while they’re editing their markets:

2. Adding markets to investor profiles

Investors can add markets to their profile with a similar interface:

(For example, check out the markets Mitch Kapor is following and blocking.)

You won’t see this part unless you’re an approved investor, but investors can also follow and block markets from various places on the site like

…or any market page like the cloud computing page:

3. Matching startups and investors

If an investors blocks a market, the admins won’t email them startups in that market at all (but investors can still find these startups on the website).

If an investor follows a market, the admins will email them startups in that market before everybody else. If the startup performs well among those investors, the admins will email it to everybody else (who isn’t blocking the startup’s markets).

Organizing the markets with a tree

Investors don’t need to worry about following and blocking every single market on AngelList. The markets are set up as a tree—like your desktop file system—with markets inside other markets. So when investors follow a market, they also follow its submarkets. Likewise with blocking.

If you prefer to view the markets as a flat list, go to


Whether you’re viewing the markets as a tree or list, you can sort them by namerecently added# of followers, and # of blockers. Approved investors can also sort the markets by # of startups. Here’s a picture of the the flat list, sorted by followers:

Searching for markets

The search box at the top left of the site lets you search for investors and markets (and startups too, if you’re an approved investor):

Again, investors who follow mobile will also follow all of its submarkets like mobile commerce, mobile advertising, etc. Or if they’re only interested in mobile coupons, they can just follow that instead.

Stealing from Quora

We stole a lot of the design for markets from Quora’s topics. There are some differences and technical details that we’ll write about soon. But we refer to Quora and Facebook a lot while we’re designing. The rest of the web is going to look like Quora in a few years anyway, so you may as well steal from the best.

Serving new markets

We’re very excited about this feature. It’s going to increase the relevancy of the startups that we send investors. And it will let us serve startups and investors in markets that we haven’t been able to serve before (biotechnologyclean technologylife sciences, you name it).

The markets tour continues in Part 2.

AngelList has changed a lot since we launched it, so I want to describe how the site works today.

1. Share your startup with investors

First, you create a startup profile and pick which investors can see your startup. If your profile isn’t ready to share with investors, just pick zero investors. You can update your profile and investors anytime.

As soon as you share your startup with an investor, they will see it in their feed:

2. The admins email the best startups to investors

Every investor on AngelList sees 10-20 new startups in their feed every day. Plus they have their own non-AngelList dealflow. So you may get a few intros this way (and we’re working on some things to increase the rate of these spontaneous intros).

Since the investors can’t review every startup profile, the AngelList admins (Nivi, Naval, Brendan), with help from a few crazy investors and scouts, review every single startup that that pops up in their feed. If any of them like a startup, they can e-mail it to their followers.

And that’s where the magic happens—investors pay attention to the startups that land in their inboxes and take intros.

3. How long does it take to get feedback?

Before an admin emails your startup to investors, they’ll get in touch and suggest some improvements to your startup profile. This usually happens a few days after you create your profile.

If you don’t hear from an admin by then, keep updating your profile as you make progress. We’re working on tools that let you notify investors when you’ve made significant progress. And we’re working on tools to give you specific feedback on what you need to improve before you can get intros on AngelList.

4. Start early, update often

It’s never too early to start your profile. Pick zero investors and leave a note for the admins that says you’re still working on your profile.

If you have any questions, please email us at

AngelList is changing every day, so don’t expect this post to be accurate 3 months from now. That’s just the nature of building software on the Internet today—perpetual design and redesign.

There are almost 300 VCs on AngelList now. Investors from Sequoia, Kleiner, Accel, Greylock, CRV, A16Z, and on and on. They all take intros via AngelList and you can see which ones are the most active here.

Four startups have already used AngelList to raise their Series A. So if you’re raising a Series A and you want to raise money on market terms, from the most value-add investors, fast, reach out to the AngelList community here.

If you just want intros to VCs, we can do that. If you want intros to angels too, we can do that. The angel picker gives you complete control over which investors see your startup.

And if you have any questions about your Series A, feel free to email me at

Appendix: What’s a Series A these days?

I think of a Series A as a round that’s big enough to require at least one (multi-stage) VC. Today, you can raise a seed round of $25K – $1.5M from incubatorsangels, seed funds, VCs, or any combination of these four. But once you get above $2M, you usually need a VC in the deal. That’s my definition of Series A.

“Sweat the details and corner cases… Fix the bugs no one else notices.”

– Facebook’s Aaron Sittig at a Design Tech Talk (video)

When you build a new feature, you try to think about its benefits. But you never know what the real benefits are, until you talk to gratified users.

But getting out of the building and talking to users is hard. Naval and Brendan talk to a lot of AngelList users but I’ve gotten lazy.

So I use Quora to do customer development. I read this Quora thread in agonizing detail to extract the AngelList benefits I posted a couple days ago.

This anonymous answer motivated the exercise because it completely ignores the features of AngelList and focuses exclusively on some surprising benefits (emphasis added):

1) The Application Process
AngelList has a very simple and straightforward application process. But they force you to focus on the key metrics, social proof and other factors that lead to successful fundraising. Just the process of applying, helps you clarify what is necessary to put your company in the best position to fundraise, whether it is through AngelList or through other methods. (It is kinda like a test prep course; all standardized test can be hacked with some preparation and knowledge about how it works. The AngelList process + venture hacks is your Kaplan prep course for raising a round.)

2) The Depth of the Roster
Most startups know about the “famous” investors – those who have great public reputations or are name brands. But there are an amazing number of high quality angels, who fly below the radar, that AngelList gives you exposure to. Oftentimes, it can be these angels who help close out your round.

3) The Time Factor
AngelList creates a sense of urgency around the investment process. Nearly every investor that reached out to us, resulted in a call or meeting within 10 days. When compared to non-AngelList intros we received, this is a huge difference in time. Also, decision (both yes and no’s) were given fairly quickly.

4) The Validation
Compared to other conversation, the investors we met through AngelList seemed to be leaning towards investing from the initial conversation. A large part of this is the validation a startup gets by being on AngelList. What I mean is that investors were looking for reasons to say yes, as opposed to reasons to say no. The answer still might be no in the end, but it was always a more productive and engaged conversation.

Thank you, Anonymous.

A Quora user asks: why would a seasoned entrepreneur, who can get his or her own intros, use AngelList? This is the answer I posted on Quora.

We started AngelList to help startups get intros to investors, but we’ve learned that intros are just a feature of AngelList, not the benefit. We consistently hear the same set of benefits from the startups that use AngelList—even the ones that can get intros on their own:

The AngelList community helps you raise money on market terms, from the most value-add investors, fast. In short, AngelList is efficient.

Or, in other words, AngelList gets you answers to three questions:

  1. How do I know what my shares are worth?
  2. How do I know the girl/guy I’m marrying is the best one?
  3. When is the deal closing?

Before I get into how the community answers these questions, let me say that, one, AngelList is free and, two, you can control exactly which investors in the community see your startup.

1. Market terms

How do I know what my shares are worth?

When you sell your car, do you go to Craigslist, or do you go knocking on doors? When you sell your action figures, do you use eBay, or do you throw a garage sale and offer your toys to one person at a time, over a timespan of ‘whenever’?

You can’t clear the market in series, you can only clear it in parallel. And the only way to clear the market is to go to the market. The best companies on AngelList end up raising money on better terms than they expected. It’s impossible to get that outcome if you’re meeting investors one-at-a-time.

“More than doubled the round size and significantly increased the pre-money.” – Bertram Meyer, Taulia

“[AngelList helped] us close the existing deal more quickly and on better terms than we would have without the considerable additional investor interest generated by AngelList.” – Sean Harper, FeeFighters

“We were over-subscribed not once but twice.” – Gagan Biyani, Udemy

All quotes are from

2. Most value-add investors

How do I know the girl/guy I’m marrying is the best one?

Terms aren’t everything. You also want investors who can add the most value. All the investors you know are probably on AngelList—but there’s also a thousand other investors on AngelList that you don’t know. It’s highly likely that some of them have massive domain expertise in your market and you will want them involved in your company.

“[AngelList] adds people to the mix that would not be part of the offline deal sharing networks that already exist.” – Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures

“Not only did we receive high quality responses, they were from investors that had significant experience and insight into our specific vertical. These were angels that understood the market and quickly dove into the core strengths and weaknesses of the business and understood what needed to happen to get to the next level. Nowhere else will you be able to get a collective response from industry experts willing to help not only in terms of capital but from an operational and hands-on perspective as well.” – Nikhil Sethi, Adaptly

“Your network only goes so far. As a NYC-based company, our “reach” into SF / SV investors was fairly limited. AngelList changed that. We have had dozens of investors contact us via AngelList.” – Dave Lifson, Postling

“Most startups know about the “famous” investors — those who have great public reputations or are name brands. But there are an amazing number of high quality angels, who fly below the radar, that AngelList gives you exposure to.” – Anonymous

3. Fast

When is the deal closing?

On AngelList, you show your startup to all the investors that you want to meet at the same time. The investors know that, so they move fast. Even the investors you’re already talking to know that, so they move fast. People sitting on the fence know the time for sitting on the fence is over. The best startups on AngelList start closing in days, not weeks.

“Within hours of posting, we had dozens of qualified, top-shelf investors and by the end of the day we were 100% oversubscribed.” – Mark Risher, Impermium

“Investors I’ve been chasing around for months finally emailed me back. We got $50K committed in the first 10 minutes.” – Anonymous

“By the weekend I had multiple term sheets and by Monday we had closed our round with exceptional investors that I could only dream about. There is simply no other way to raise a round so quickly.” – Shafqat Islam, NewsCred

Bonus: Advice

Fundraising advice from the dudes who do Venture Hacks. We didn’t think this was a big deal and we definitely don’t want to toot our own horn too much but this consistently comes up in customer development with gratified users (see

“Nivi and Naval were both available to give me advice as we went around raising our “party round”. For example, I remember having an idiosyncratic issue that I couldn’t figure out, and Naval took a 20 minute call with me where he basically solved what two professors couldn’t quite help me with (background: I was finishing up school while raising my round). The non-obvious value that AngelList has is that Nivi and Naval are like sherpas helping you scale the Mt. Everest that is fundraising.” – Rafael Corrales, Learnboost


It’s the difference between going door-to-door to sell vacuum cleaners and placing an ad on Google. One approach is a pain in the ass. The other is fast, easy, efficient.

Or think of it like this: you do everything else online, why wouldn’t you raise your money online? You put your code on GitHub. You put your servers on Amazon. You buy customers on Google. You market on Twitter. And you can raise your money on AngelList.

If you have any questions about AngelList, send us an email at

Frankly, the less you need AngelList, the more the community can do for you. That sounds surprising but it’s not. The stronger you are, the better your terms will be, the better your investors will be, and the faster you’ll close.

“My only regret is that I delayed posting for so long.” – Mark Risher, Impermium

Join AngelList.

Andrew Warner recently did us the honor of interviewing Naval for Mixergy:

Video: Naval on Mixergy

Watch the video to learn about the secret history of Venture Hacks and see why Naval calls this the most thoroughly researched interview he’s ever done. I also sneak on the set for 5 seconds before they throw me off.