Day 15: Be an AngelList Superstar

May 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm

FounderFuel’s very own Ian took to the stage to give the companies a practical run down on how to make a good impression on AngelList. Future FounderFuel companies be warned: you better follow these tips and have a shiny profile. He will call you out if you don’t (on the other hand, you will get love from him if you do!). 


Before you dive in to the rest of the post, if you’re not actively raising money at this very moment, go on your AngelList profile right now and switch your fundraising to private. Then come back and keep reading to learn why you just did that. 

Why should you be on AngelList? Aside from the 2.1 BILLION that has been raised by AngelList alumni? It’s a stupendous network of almost 10,000 Angels, 3,000 VCs, and 3,000 seed funds. And it’s a stupendous network that works: almost 3,000 seed rounds, over 200 series A, 42 series B, 5 series C and 62 acquisitions. You can also get lots of super useful information from the site on what other companies have raised — which can help you figure out your valuation — as well as salaries based on job description and location, which will come in handy when your time comes to hire. 

How to make your AngelList profile shine:
– Build a complete profile. Do not leave any sections empty or half-assed. 
– List every member of your team and show off what a rockstar each one is. But DO NOT call yourself a visionary, guru or other similar clichés.
– Show off your network. Add your mentors and advisors, get commitments to endorse you and find a good referrer. DO NOT add as advisors people who have an investor profile on AngelList, it looks bad on you that an investor would advise you but not invest in you.
– Use a high quality video to tell your story. It could be of your pitch or your product. Note: FounderFuel films the pitches at Demo Day, this is a great video for FF alumni to use.
– Don’t be secretive about your product.
– Have a great tagline. Don’t make it “the so-and-so of (your industry)” – if you can’t find a tagline that describes your own business then find a better marketer in your team.
– Show your traction.
– Don’t focus on press. Nobody cares that you’ve been “TechCrunched”
– Be (hyper)active on AngelList and keep your profile up-to-date.

Know the system:
– Keep fundraising private until you’re ready. You’ll be ready when you are actively fundraising and have a signed term sheet or at least when you have an investor who is comfortable saying publicly that they are giving you that money. 
– Research the network and identify your top 20-30 target investors. Then prepare a data sheet for these investors that includes all their contact information, their investment history and latest trends (how much and how often have they been investing?), a track of  your interactions and last contact, and your rating (based on how likely they are to invest with you).
– Get your advisors to share your profile with their investor network.
– Get personalized introductions, through the AngelList network or by email.
– Be notoriously fast on email. Win investors over by replying to emails in 30 seconds (this applies to all aspects of life!).

The secret sauce to AngelList success:
– Never stop focusing on traction, and keep updating your profile to show how much more traction you’re getting.
– Focus your efforts on ‘social proof’. Work your network for advisors, referrers, endorsers, and include current investors. 
– Make friends with Naval and Ash.  They curate the featured sections of the homepage and email based on the companies they like. By the way, they do not give you warning that you’re getting featured. Another great reason to maintain your profile complete and updated.