AngelList Conference Wrap-up
My summary of the 5th annual AngelList Confidential conference
Earlier this month, AngelList held its 5th annual AngelList Confidential conference. This is a yearly private event that they hold to bring together investors and startup founders to discuss the state of the venture capital industry. As with most conferences since the pandemic, it was held virtually this year. With this new format, it allowed them to invite a much larger audience since no travel was involved. In order to keep some of the intimacy of previous events, in addition to open general sessions, they held some exclusive closed sessions and virtual networking events for the most active AngelList investors. I’m not a big enough investor on the AngelList platform so I wasn’t invited to any of the closed sessions. (Based on feedback they received, they plan to hold some virtual sessions in future years even when the conference is back in-person.).
The big focus of the conference (at least in the general sessions) was their new Rolling Funds product rather than syndicates. As AngelList is by far they largest platform for syndicates, even though there wasn’t too much information about syndicates, it’s good to learn about how AngelList is doing and what their future plans are.
- AngelList Venture is now an independent company from AngelList Holdings. AngelList does many things in addition to running a syndicate platform. They operate a job board for startups. They run a sort of social network for the startup ecosystem where investors, founders, and startup companies can have online profiles on their platform and message each other. In order to give focus to each of its businesses, they separated AngelList Venture into its own entity.
- In connection with creating AngelList Venture, they gave it its own website: www.angellist.com. The original AngelList site is www.angellist.co, not a .com address.
- Rolling Funds — The big focus of this year’s conference was the recent launch of Rolling Funds. (As I said earlier, there wasn’t much talk about syndicates.) This is a big innovation in the venture capital world where GPs can now have funds that operate like a subscription. In a traditional venture fund, a GP would spend a lot of time raising a fund collecting investment commitments and then when all the money is raised, they would invest the money that was collected. A few years later, once all that money was invested, they would repeat the cycle by raising money for a new fund and investing for the new fund.
With Rolling Funds, a new fund is created every quarter. Every LP who commits before the start of the quarter gets into that quarter’s fund. If an LP commits too late, they get put into next quarter’s fund. Since there is a series of quarterly funds, the venture capitalist can set lower minimums for each quarterly fund because they have some visibility into new money coming in the next quarter and better plan what deals they can invest in. From a LP’s perspective, they can invest on a regular quarterly basis and get diversification over time rather than commit a large amount at one time. They also get the flexibility to raise and lower their investment amount over time as circumstances change.
- AngelList launched a new tool called Transfers for companies to provide liquidity for their shareholders. They’ve done it already for a few companies and now they’ve formally announced it as a new product. You can find out more in their blog post.
About half the sessions were general sessions that were open to anyone. If you missed them, they are now available online. (Just click on each session title below)
Here’s a summary:
- Keynote address — This was given Avlok Kohli, CEO of AngelList Venture and Naval Ravikant, co-founder of AngelList. avlok gave a general state of AngelList address with a few interesting stats. He also made most of the major announcements that I summarized above. Naval gave an overview of the new AngelList Venture website.
Avlok started by talking about AngelList’s mission to Serve the Founder.
The founder was three main problems: Recruit, Raise, and Grow.
They have AngelList Talent to address the Recruit problem
They have AngelList Venture to address the Raise problem
They have Product Hunt to address the Grow problem.
$1.2 billion dollars has been raised by syndicates on the AngelList platform
In 2019, 1 in 3 top U.S. venture capital deals had an investment from a venture fund on the AngelList platform.
Overall, AngelList has $2.2 billion under management, investments in 47 unicorns are on the platform and over 100K individual investments have been made on the platform.
- Adapting to the New Early-Stage Venture Market — A panel discussion featuring Amy Saper of Accel, Mark Goldberg of Index Ventures and Sarah Smith of Bain Capital Ventures. It was moderated by Sunil Pai.
- AngelList Access Fund — A discussion with the AngelList Investment Committee. This is a venture capital fund created by AngelList Venture which basically invests in a curated set of syndicated deals on the AngelList platform.
- Investing on AngelList — An overview all the different products and ways of investing on the AngelList platform. They also did a Q&A with participants. Seif Salama and Sarah Goomar gave this presentation.
- Since inception, about $1.7 billion has been deployed to 5000+ startups.
- There are over 4,300 syndicated and funds on the platform.
- In 2019, 36% of top U.S. venture capital deals had investment from a venture fund on the AngelList platform.
- The Future of Early-Stage Venture — A panel discussion featuring Bobby Goodlatte of Form Capital, Brianne Kimmel of worklife Ventures, and Nikhil Basu Trivedi. It was moderated by Helen Min
- How Power Laws Explain (Almost All of) Venture Capital — A presentation from the AngelList Head of Data Science Abe Othman. You can read his blog post here. You can also read his related paper Startup Growth and Venture Returns.
- AngelList Rolling Funds — A panel discussion featuring some of the early Rolling Fund leads discussing their early impressions of how they plan to operate their fund and how things are going so far. The panelists were immad Akhund, Jason Jacobs, Jake Seid and Jeff Schox. It was moderated by Rachael Chung.
If you attended the conference, please share your comments below.