I have ~$300K I need to invest in the next year or two, in 5 deals or more. I was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Foundation Capital — FWIW, those folks are top tier; they love the work and respect entrepreneurs — and they made me a scout. I’m talking with some other firms about doing the same thing for them, so hopefully that number gets bigger over time. This is a big opportunity and privilege, and I appreciate it.
I need your help to decide where to put this money. I’ve never been an angel investor before, so I’m trying to figure it out.
How I can help
I’m a second time founder (sold Reveal to Napster; now building Decent) and my non-founder background is in growth (I led the first growth team at Gusto and have scaled multiple products to millions of users, mostly through referrals, which I wrote about here). I’m in the crypto space now with Decent and learning fast, as an advisor to TrustToken, Refereum, and WorkCoin.
I’ve had enough different investors to know what I like. I’ll be available for you as a resource but not hovering over your shoulder. I have a great network and will work hard to get you to folks I know who can help you succeed. Philosophically, I understand the role of luck, don’t mistake money for wisdom or worth, and won’t guilt trip you for hard choices you have to make as an entrepreneur, expect fast responses to my questions when you’re working, or pretend to know your business as well as you do. I’ll get back to you quickly when you ping me and introduce you to other investors you should know. I’m a solid listener and am happy to buy drinks and hear how things are going with zero expectations, including when everything is going to shit (which happens in every company I’ve seen, regardless of final outcome). I can balance the probabilistic knowledge that most startups fail with total confidence that yours is going to find a way to win. I love strong teams and care more about people than money. I’ll be blunt — including about what I don’t understand or don’t like — and won’t waste your time.
What I want from you
- I want a working product or prototype I can play with — I’m not smart enough to predict the value of a business based on the idea alone.
- I won’t fund single founders — this stuff is too hard to do alone, and if you can’t convince someone else to join you full time, focus on that.
- I think the “why” behind your company is incredibly important. If you can’t explain why you care deeply about your mission, I’m not interested.
- I get to keep the carry on my investments, which 1) is awesome and 2) means I don’t make any money from being a scout unless your business does. I’m only interested in funding businesses that I can imagine reaching valuations of $1B or more.
- Foundation made me a scout because they think I can help them find good deals they’ll want to put more money into the future. So if you’re not willing to give angel investors pro rata rights (the right to invest more later to maintain ownership %) it’s not a fit.
- I’d prefer to fund diverse teams. If everyone on your team is a straight white male, be ready to tell me how you’re going to fix it.
- I don’t have time to respond to cold emails. If we don’t know each other already, get a warm intro from someone we both know, the warmer the better. If you’re not sure what common friends we have, find me on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter.
If you’re an entrepreneur or investor and you’ve got something awesome I should look at, please ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know someone who might, please share this post.