This is the AngelList syndicate for Hack VC (managing director: Ed Roman).
HOW TO GET INTO OUR DEALS
We don't invite every backer into every deal. The reason is we must respect the privacy of the startups that we invest-in. And so we limit the number of LPs who we work with to a small group. Most of our deals are private, invite-only for a small, select group of LPs that we've worked with in the past.
If you want to get invited into more of our deals, you'll need to show a consistent track-record of investing frequently with us for the deals you are invited to. We track the percentage of deals that you agree to invest in, and if that percentage is high, then we electronically flag you as a consistent, high-quality backer, which then means you'll be invited to more deals in the future.
We now have a venture fund that accompanies this syndicate. The venture fund is a blind pool of capital that we raise to invest in startups.
The benefits of the venture fund are:
* Many of the deals in the venture fund are ones that are too privacy-sensitive to run a syndicate, so they can be some of the best deals.
* The venture fund is also structured such that we take carry only if the fund as a whole performs [which is different than syndicates, which is deal-by-deal carry].
The drawbacks of the venture fund are:
* It is only appropriate for investors who are able to commit to investing 6-figures of capital over a 3-year period of time.
* You'd need to trust us to pick the deals on your behalf, rather than selecting them yourself
If you're interested in learning more about participating in our venture fund, you can email email@example.com for a slide deck, FAQ, and more.
We have invested in over 180 companies. Our internal rate of return (IRR) has been audited by Frank Rimerman and Co (a well known venture capital auditor) and it's a 28% net IRR which is top decile performance. For completeness, our track record includes our holdings both on AngelList and off AngelList across our history of investing. We have 17 companies worth over $100m and 4 companies worth over $1B.
Here are a few highlights of the startups we've invested in or advised:
• Canva [Disrupting Adobe Photoshop]: http://www.canva.com, valued at over $6B
• Ripple Labs [XRP cryptocurrency]: http://www.ripple.com, valued at over $2B
• Pluralsight [Netflix for developer education]: http://www.pluralsight.com, valued at over $1B
* Standard.ai [Amazon Go cashierless checkout]: http://www.standard.ai, valued at $1B
• Weave [SMB communications platform]: http://www.getweave.co, valued at over $970m
• Nav.com [Credit Karma for SMBs]: http://www.nav.com, valued at over $200m
• Alto Pharmacy [Disrupting Walgreens]: http://www.scriptdash.com, valued at over $700m
• Molekule [Disrupting Air Purification]: http://www.molekule.com, valued at over $250m
We are only interested in investing in startups that have venture-class returns. So most of our deals are done alongside seed funds and VCs, to help provide sufficient runway for the startup, to provide follow-on capital for future rounds, to confirm it's venture-class, and to have help watching the deal. In the case where a startup is too early for VCs or funds, we'll validate that they're interested in a future round prior to syndication during diligence.
We're very selective and turn-down 98% of the dealflow that we see (even venture-led deals, since often times difference of opinion, rather than FOMO, is what creates outsized returns in venture). We are a stage-agnostic investor, but prefer early-stage (pre-seed, seed, and Series A).
What we look for in startups: long-term defensibility at-scale, ideally with strong network effects or high switching costs, and can produce outsized returns, one or more unfair advantages, a well thought-out distribution model, and attractive unit economics, ideally with recurring revenue. We are not trying to go for small exits or quick wins, since that strategy rarely works for investors (small exits favor entrepreneurs, not investors).
Read our "Angel Investing Tips" document here -- http://bit.ly/1dlMD6a
HOW WE ADD VALUE TO DEALS
The biggest problem most startups have is hiring engineers, and we help solve that -- we can help startups hire engineers via our developer communities that we manage. We also offer mentor CEOs in the areas they need help. We typically schedule a monthly recurring catch-up where we brainstorm for how we can be value-added. The purpose of this is to help the company get to the next milestone, but also to give us follow-on investment opportunities when they company starts to inflect.
Each of the tactics above are strategies we use to get opportunities to invest in low-access high-signal deals.
ABOUT OUR TEAM
Hack VC is managed by Ed Roman (Managing Director). There are also 3 venture partners who contribute to Hack VC, and also have responsibilities outside of Hack VC.
Our Managing Director, Ed Roman, has a long-standing strong track record as a professional investor. He has run 3 startups which gives him domain experience in the sector focus that Hack VC invests, helping him to make informed investment decisions. Ed is thorough and often perform venture-level diligence for early-stage deals. He has 10+ years of investing experience and is a full-time investor. Ed often educates/trains new investors as he believes that by building strong co-investor relationships it enhances dealflow, and gives a wider network that he can tap into for diligence.
Ed has led 3 AngelList syndicates, and has managed 3 separate funds on AngelList. The syndicates include Hack VC, the open-source syndicate, and the enterprise security syndicate. His syndicates have among the highest track records of securing institutional capital, and he has been leading syndicates since the early days of AngelList. He also mentor at many accelerators Ed was formerly a life coach, focused on helping others with being their word, and having integrity. Ed has a reputation to be cautious and thorough in his diligence process.
Most recently, Ed led innovation for Pluralsight, which is democratizing professional learning. Pluralsight acquired HackHands, where Ed was recently CEO. HackHands accelerated developer productivity via realtime mentoring. Ed now serves on the board of Pluralsight. Ed is the founder of hack.summit(), the largest programmer conference (and the largest virtual conference) in history with 80K+ attendees. He also founded the hack.pledge() movement, which helps developers get free mentoring. He spearheaded a "Medium.com for developers" project as well which has hundreds of thousands of monthly active users.
Prior to this, Ed was founder & CEO of Ghostfire Games. His game Rage of the Gladiator won critical acclaim as a top-rated Wii title. It's available on Nintendo 3DS, Android, and won a game-of-the-year award for iPhone/iPad. Ed also created the world's largest Java community (450K members), TheServerSide (acquired by Precise Software), and wrote a best-selling book on Java, Mastering EJB.
Tom Chi is the creator of Google Glass, and also co-founded GoogleX (which is where self-driving cars, drone delivery, and more were pioneered). Tom has worked in a wide range of roles from astrophysical researcher to Fortune 500 consultant to corporate executive developing new hardware/software products and services. He's played a significant role in established projects with global reach (Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Search), and scaled new projects from conception to significance (Yahoo Answers from 0 to 90 million users). Tom has pioneered and practiced a unique approach to rapid prototyping, visioning, and leadership that can jumpstart innovative new ideas as well as move large organizations at unprecedented speeds. These approaches have benefitted over a dozen industry-leading companies. His current focus is delving into human development issues with social entrepreneurs around the globe, rebooting the fundamental frameworks of entrepreneurship itself, and teaching a limited number of workshops to select organizations.
Kevin is an enterprise security specialist. He's highly effective at building a go-to-market plan that creates the traction needed for later rounds. He was the co-founder of Vontu, one of the first Information Security startup accelerator in the Bay Area, which was sold to Symantec. He also created, founded, and brought to life a whole new category of security protection: Data Loss Prevention. Modern DLP (now deployed widely in G2000 accounts worldwide) basically began in Kevin's basement. He's the primary author of the search algorithms that gave Vontu crucial competitive advantage. Additionally, he's the primary author of the widely copied "Vontu RA playbook" -- a sales playbook that created large amounts of the traction that eventually led to the successful exit of Vontu. Kevin has also served in a variety of operational security roles (throughout the past two decades) as one of the very early stage adopters in the saga of Internet security startups.
Over the past 25 years, Josh has operated and invested in both public and private growth companies in the CRM, EMR, and health benefits administration categories. Josh is an active advisor and investor in early-stage health companies that support outcomes-based-care in diagnostics, chronic-condition-management, and billing & reimbursement services.
Josh was CEO of Keas (acquired by Welltok), a healthcare SaaS company, that provided health benefits administration to employers and their employees. Prior to Keas, Josh was CRO for YouSendIt (Hightail) and prior to YouSendIt, Josh served and Chief Strategy & Revenue Officer for TicketsNow (acquired by Ticketmaster). Prior to working in early stage companies, Josh spent a decade at AOL where he was General Manager of eCommerce, after having served five years in Corporate Development. Josh started his career on Wall Street in corporate finance at the Chase Manhattan Bank.
We believe that to be the most effective at anything in life, you need to focus. Our focus is generally on enterprise SaaS, marketplaces, and software infrastructure. These "boring" categories of startups are where we've found the most predictable / best returns are to be had.
We've been investors for over 10 years, and have been fortunate enough to invest or advise some great startups. The deals we invest in come from a referral network of other entrepreneurs we've helped, through paying-it-forward with them by mentoring at incubators, helping startups fundraise, as well as advising CEOs. We also collaborate with VCs, who both use us for advice on their deals, as well as send us dealflow, and protect our deals by co-investing with us. We've helped raise millions for startups over the past few years and have a strong relationships with other co-investors. We look for startups with traction, a strong team, in a big market.