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Deconstructing AngelList: How to Optimize Your Funding Profile

AngelList is a platform that connects entrepreneurs to angel investors to raise seed stage capital.

Out of the $1.5 million dollars in angel funding we've raised for Socialize, over $1 million came from introductions made on AngelList.  We were very early AngelList users under our AppMakr brand, with Brendan Baker doing a detailed analysis of our use of AngelList in his Anatomy of a Seed project.  I also wrote a lengthy manifesto about our fundraising experience, and when AngelList was very new I interviewed Naval Ravikant, one of the AngelList founders.

Recently, using AngelList has changed the way I've been fundraising.  Where traditionally, I've had to dedicate a block of time to fundraise full time, I can now fundraise passively, meaning just by focusing on having an optimized AngelList presence and a few specific techniques, I don't have to spend blocks of my time finding high quality angels.  That is a game changer for us -- fundraising is an incredibly distracting process, and it's especially hard to innovate and iterate on your startup when you're distracted by bolstering the company's bank account.  Being able to have angels come to me has given me a freedom as an entrepreneur that's just fantastic.

As I was talking to my friend Ben Young, CEO of Nexercise, about this sea-change in fundraising, I offered to critique his AngelList page to help him optimize it for this type of inbound passive investment.

Evolution of a Startup: Lessons Learned

I was recently approached by a friend in the venture capital industry who asked me to write about my experience as an entrepreneur and transplant to Silicon Valley.  Here's the resulting transcript of our discussion.  I'm publishing it in the hopes that it helps other entrepreneurs, as well as those who haven't yet taken the leap but want to.

Can you tell me about the fundraising cycles your company has gone through?

We began in Washington D.C. in 2008 in a townhouse on Capitol Hill. It was a terrible time to fundraise due to the financial crisis, so we self-funded a mobile consulting firm called PointAbout which built mobile apps for large brands, including Disney, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Newsweek, Cars.com and many others.  That firm quickly grew to over 30 employees (and a much nicer space in DC -- although still a townhouse!)

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