With Angel Kings' Venture Capital Fund, you can invest in biotech startups before they go public.
Do you want to learn how you can invest in and with venture capital funds? Good news: with Angel Kings, you have the opportunity to invest with the smartest, hardest-working venture capitalists and angel investors in America.
As of today, the Venture Capital team at Angel Kings will be focused on the following types of investments for venture capital and private equity:
- Biotechnology and Life Sciences
If you're an investor looking to invest in startups, both pre and post-revenue companies, and would like to learn about how to invest in our Pre-IPO companies, contact us today.
Thinking about how you can invest in startups?
As our funds and team are now filled with top angel investors and venture capitalists, we are happy to tell you learning how to invest in startups is the single most important and valuable thing you will ever do once you have the capital to deploy into top startups.
Here are three things about venture capital and startup investing you need to remember:
1) Invest in people. Every founder should be vetted and you must know their backstory, before you invest. But at the end of the day, a company is nothing more than the founders and CEOs who run them, which is why you must always consider who's in charge before investing.
2) The product must fill a need or change consumer psychology/behavior. If the product is merely a mirror of an existing idea or concept, and lacks originality of ingenuity, it's not the right fit.
3) Invest, and be patient. Startup investing at Angel Kings is profitable, big league! However, we do want to be clear that our goal is to invest in the first seed rounds in companies that will go public vis-a-vis an IPO. Thus, this process can take 3 to 7 years on average (sometimes longer), but the potential for a 100x return does exist... and sometimes greater.
Be sure to subscribe to our Newsletter on How to Invest In Startups by visiting our homepage (AngelKings.com). We have tons more to share with you soon.
The Angel Kings Team
The photo herein is a picture of investing expert Ross Blankenship meeting with InDinero CEO Jessica Mah. Blankenship is a successful investor in top startups like InDinero and believes firmly that Mah represents rule #1 about why you should always look to people first, before you invest!
When looking for a top–rated school that also turns out plenty of top–notch entrepreneurs, one doesn't have to look any further than Stanford, and its track record of high–quality thinkers who set out to change the world. The creators of Google, Yahoo!, and Snapchat all went there – and they all dropped out. That doesn't mean Stanford isn't a great place to get an education, just that they didn't need any more schooling once their ideas began to soar. They made their own paths in life at that point, but Stanford helped them get their start. The education and opportunities they received there were catalysts toward following their dreams.
Who they met during their college years also played a role in how much success they saw, since many startups have more than one founder. People often form strong bonds with others they meet during their college years, and Stanford's ability to teach others to work together provides even more of an opportunity for people with big ideas and grand dreams to find others who share their interest in making a difference.
Because of the ways the school encourages this in its students, Stanford is an excellent choice for people who want to find others to work with as they develop their ideas for the future.
Of course, Stanford doesn't have a monopoly on entrepreneurs. Many other schools have seen their students create successful startups. Harvard, for example, gave rise to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. While Zuckerberg isn't the only founder to come from Harvard, he is one of the most notable when it comes to name recognition and use of his product or service. Part of the reason there have been so many startups created by Harvard students is that the school accepts only the best and the brightest. Students attending the school may already be intellectually ahead of their peers.
That's not the only part of the equation, though. Harvard, like Stanford and other prestigious schools, provides plenty of opportunity for students to work together, and encourages the creativity and free–thinking of those same students. The lack of restrictive teaching and the ways in which expanding on ideas is encouraged goes a long way toward ensuring that Harvard students feel free to consider their ideas and goals as actually attainable. That grows their desire to explore and provides them with the tools and opportunities to do so.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
With all the technology available to them, it makes perfect sense that the students of MIT Labs would have the opportunity to do more with their schooling and their lives. It's not just about the physical technology, though. It's also about the ways in which MIT goes about encouraging students to get involved in the dreams they have, and see if they can make them into reality. Many people have great ideas, but they're too afraid to move those ideas from thoughts to actions. At MIT, large efforts are made to get students moving toward action.
One of the ways the school helps encourage startups is through its $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, which is run by students for students. To date, it has effected the creation of more than 2,500 jobs and 130 companies. Not only is that impressive for the school and the people who have created the companies, but it also shows other students that following their dreams is possible and that they can succeed in their goals. That understanding is one of the main reasons students there are willing to do what it takes to be more successful and are persistent in following their dreams.
Like the other schools that seem to bring out the entrepreneurial spirit in their students, Cornell has a curriculum and an atmosphere designed to encourage startups. Students work together in many of their classes, and they focus on larger and more significant ideas, as opposed to rote memorization of facts and figures. By doing this, they allow themselves to expand on ideas they have, and help others do the same.
The teamwork and encouragement fostered by this approach can make the difference between pursuing dreams and choosing to stay with the crowd and not attempt to branch out to something more.
Cornell also has a large “Entrepreneur Network” that was founded in 2001. Hundreds of events have been organized by the Network, with more planned in the future. These events are open to students, staff, alumni, parents, and friends. By including so many people, Cornell gives their students the opportunity to get involved in the dreams and ideas of large numbers of people. That can lead to people partnering to create startups or improve on something that already exists, and can help others get jobs at these new companies. The close–knit, family atmosphere of these get–together contributes to the value they offer.
University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
One of the reasons that UC Berkeley is so popular with students who have an entrepreneurial mindset is that the school offers three distinct "incubators" for startups. The most popular of the three options is SkyDeck, which is designed to help the business and engineering schools at the university work with the research office. By combining different schools of thought and different areas of study, there is a higher chance that great ideas will not only be created, but that they will also be carried out. Coming up with a new business is wonderful, but only if the idea is taken to fruition.
At UC Berkeley, the idea of taking those ideas to fruition is one that is carefully considered and deeply encouraged. That keeps students engaged and shows them that the university they attend believes in the value of the education they're getting and the ideas they have when it comes to improving the world. Startups are about innovation, belief, and value, all of which are needed if students of any university are going to see their ideas come to life. Working with an educational institution that encourages individuality and creativity is among the best ways to get an idea off the ground.
California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
Caltech is another school that can boast large numbers of highly successful alumni. Despite that fact that it has a student body of fewer than 2,300, it has 32 Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni numbers. That's worth noting, because the school is doing something right to produce high–quality, focused, and driven individuals at that level. Much of the success of Caltech comes from the smaller size of the student body at its campus in Pasadena. With small class sizes, students interact more with one another and their instructors.
They are also offered more opportunities to work together on projects. Often, working on a project together gets people thinking, and can help them become more comfortable talking about their ideas, goals, and dreams with others. Having the freedom to express this information is among the best ways to help a student move forward in life and pursue the things that matter most. Those pursuits are generally related to education, but they may also move toward entrepreneurship and startups as students learn more about their world and the ways in which that world can be enriched by the ideas those students have for the future.
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
It shouldn't be a surprise that UCLA made the list, or that three of the top schools for startups and entrepreneurship are found in California. With Silicon Valley and the tech culture that permeates so much of the state, California is a natural destination for people with big dreams when they want to start something important. UCLA is also focused on helping those dreams come to pass, hosting events like the LA Hacks hackathon for more than 4,000 developers each year. Technology is synonymous with California, and the educational institutions there are aware of it and capitalize on it.
Universities in California focus more on technical pursuits, because that's what their students want and need. There is more to becoming an entrepreneur and launching a successful startup than just having a computer science or other technology background. The ways in which students at these top schools are encouraged to work together and to pursue what matters to them can make a significant difference in how they interact with their peers and instructors, as well as how seriously they take the creation of their ideas and the pursuit of their dreams.
The name that comes to mind most often when mentioning founders who were in college when they created their big idea is Mark Zuckerberg, co–founder of Facebook.
The other four co–founders were Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin. Originally, the site was called theFacebook, and it was created just for fellow Harvard classmates. It was an online place where classmates could find information on one another, and where they could connect with people who were sharing their classrooms and hallways.
It brought students together, and allowed them to learn about one another's lives at a time when the Internet was still getting a good foothold in the minds of many people and the term "social media" wasn't something everyone had heard of. While there were social media sites available before Facebook (MySpace, anyone?), Zuckerberg and his co–founders created something inimitable. It was so different that it captured the interest of a high number of Harvard students – and people outside of Harvard begin complaining that they didn't have anything like that to use.
Over time, Zuckerberg and his co–founders became aware that other schools were jealous of what he was offering to the students of Harvard. The site was expanded to allow students from other schools to connect with Harvard and with one another, and the popularity of that option grew until a number of schools had high percentages of their students logging on and linking up to see what others were doing. What started out as a small idea to keep students at one school connected had become something much greater than that.
When the popularity of “theFacebook” began to soar, Zuckerberg realized its massive potential. Rather than remain in college and focus on his studies in computer science and psychology, he dropped out and focused the majority of his time and attention on the development of the site. The site was renamed Facebook and opened up to others outside of educational circles. As of 2015, use of the site had grown to more than one billion people worldwide. It's the largest social media site in the world, and all indications are that it will remain that way indefinitely. It has changed throughout the years, but its popularity remains high.
Larry Page & Sergey Brin
While Zuckerberg may be one of the most famous dorm room founders, he's far from the only one who took what he learned in the classroom and coupled it with real life to make something amazing.
Other dorm room founders who created companies with household names include the duo of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the creators of Google. They were Ph.D. students at the time they started developing the search engine, which started out as a part of Stanford's Digital Library Project. They wanted to see a more powerful search engine that was also effective.
While searching was already possible, it often did not work well, and its lack of power meant that much was missed during a large number of searches. Navigating the Internet was clunky, at best, and other search sites gave results that could often be considered questionable. A targeted, proper search engine was needed, but it had to be easy to use and it had to be comprehensive. One of the main complaints with previous search engines was that they did not return enough results – and much of what they did return was not relevant to what the searcher was actually looking for.
A better way had to be out there somewhere, and Page and Brin discovered it as they were trying to catalog the digital library and make it searchable. When they saw what they had, they knew they were on the cusp of something that could change the Internet forever.
It was then just a matter of continuing to develop what they had already started. That took time and effort. At first, one could not simply type in "Google" and reach the search engine. The original address was google.stanford.edu. That was changed as the site continued to be developed and more capability was added to it.
Today, Google is the world's most dominant search engine. From there, the company evolved into more than just a way to search the Internet. The conglomerate now provides a significant number of Internet–based services and products, including Google+, Blogger, Picasa Web Albums, and more. Most people don't say "search for that." They say "just Google it." The site has become such a common part of daily life for so many people that there is no reason to use a different search engine in most cases. The majority of people who want to find something online know Google will give them the best results, fast. Google has branded itself synonymous with the word “search”.
Bill Gates & Paul Allen
Another top company that started out in a dorm room is Microsoft, founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen during their time at Harvard. While Microsoft took time to develop, Gates and Allen worked together to determine what worked and what did not.
That helped them navigate through problems that the company would have and to focus on what they would do in the future. Still, they refrained from actually starting up the company for some time. They did not have the capital, and Gates didn't have the support he needed from his parents, who wanted to see him stay in college and finish his proposed path of study.
As the idea of Microsoft continued to be developed, though, both Gates and Allen discovered that they had stumbled onto something big, and that they could lose out if they didn't take the chance and act on what they had found and what they believed in. Realizing the value of what they had created, Gates made the no–longer–difficult decision to drop out to begin building the software company, following the vision and plan he and Allen had created. While Gates' parents wanted him to pursue a law career, he studied computing and gained their support before dropping out of Harvard to pursue his dreams.
In 2015, Gates was said to be worth more than $82 billion. He is among the best–known people involved in the computer revolution, although some have questioned his business tactics. Those questions haven't stopped Gates from moving forward, and they haven't stopped Microsoft from developing into a multibillion–dollar company that is a household name in most developed countries. Gates has also given billions of dollars away to charity through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other philanthropic endeavors.
Both a focus startup and part of the AngelKings portfolio, inDinero illustrates the principle from our book, Kings Over Aces, that there's nothing new under the sun–particularly when you're talking about accounting services. The startup's cloud–based accounting services offer payroll, tax, and other bookkeeping options, which are all available through other companies or software. Remember, though, that a product that offers less expensive or more convenient services has a good chance at succeeding, and that's what inDinero delivers.
The startup offers all–in–one back office accounting so businesses of all sizes can concentrate on revenue–generating activity instead of tedious accounting functions. inDinero also charges clients based on monthly pricing that is easy to predict, which may not always be the case with traditional accountants and bookkeepers.
One thing that excites us about inDinero is that its product is designed for small and mid-sized business, but the product scales with business growth to support organizations with eight–figure revenues and 100 or more employees.
inDinero's startup story is interesting, as it provides a different outlook than some of the other companies we've covered in depth. The startup launched in 2010 and was successful at seeking seed funding. The product in 2010 was a self–service, small business, financial tracking tool–not what inDinero is today. While pursuing the first version of its product, inDinero faced challenges. It almost ran out of money and had to lay off all its employees before revamping the product; at relaunch in 2013, inDinero was able to land $7 million in funding and has since seen more success.
The story is important, because it speaks to our point in a previous chapter: As an angel investor, you are not investing in a perfect product. You're investing in people and ideas, and some ideas take more tweaking than others to achieve success. We are proud to have inserted capital with inDinero.
Recurly's platform makes it easy for businesses of any size to set up, manage, and automate recurring bills. An increase in subscription services in all types of niches has made recurring bills a big business opportunity, and a secure, customized platform is a product that generates substantial interest among small and midsized businesses. Recurly entered the market just as this need was rapidly increasing following the success of subscription services such as Netflix and Ipsy.
In a world where no retailer or bank seems capable of guaranteeing protection of your account information with 100 percent assurance, BillGuard makes it easy for you to do the monitoring yourself. The startup partnered with Experian and offers an app that displays all your account information in a single dashboard. A few glances throughout the day provide peace of mind about account status, and the app also provides security notifications. BillGuard scores high as a startup due in part to its entry into a consumer market that is frightened by growing virtual threats and has a psychological need to do something to protect itself.
Wealthfront delivers on–demand investment advice and services without high account minimums and fees that keep many people from building wealth through investing. One thing that makes Wealthfronts a top fintech startup is that it takes an existing solution–investment services–and makes it available to a new market. We talked before about creating a have situation for the have–nots, and this product does that. Deeply entrenched companies like Charles Schwab are now copying these auto–investing platforms. When the big boys copy your clothing, you know you’re onto something big.
Acorn Investing has opened investing and financial management up for the masses. Their seamless interface allows for auto–investing and saving for millions of investors who want to get in the stock market game. This platform is groundbreaking. Of course, they do run the risk of being copied or cloned by companies like Rocket Internet, but if they do hit scale fast enough, we expect this one could be a billion-dollar company in no time.
Beware of startups making promises they don't keep.
Like several of the biotech startups in our list, Tute Genomics is a company in the genome research space. It's both a focus startup and a company within Angel Kings' portfolio for a number of reasons, starting with the founders. Tute Genomics (Tute) was founded by Reid Robinson and Kai Wang. Both men have experience in the industry–Robinson began as a physician and moved into data science; Wang has a PhD and a post–doctorate degree and works as a professor in the niche.
The product–which is referred to on the startup's website as Tute – lets genome and DNA researchers collaborate, research, and access existing knowledge via a fast, low–cost platform. Tute markets itself has having the largest genetic knowledge library available and provides access to 200 relevant genomic knowledge sources in real–time. Users can also access secure patient portals and clinical reports and advanced analysis tools.
Tute isn't the first to market, and it capitalizes on this fact by building on previous technology. Tute uses ANNOVAR, a recognized genome annotation and interpretation technology, to deliver efficient, accurate results for labs and patients. Vendors and providers can further build on the technology by using Tute APIs in existing pipelines.
TuteGenomics recently partnered with Google to publicly release DNA/Genomic data. We look forward to Tute’s massive growth.
Healthcare developers are dealing with a growing web of compliance requirements, which makes designing the data–storage capabilities of software time–consuming. TrueVault offers APIs that are HIPAA–compliant so developers can concentrate on the unique functionality of their products. Designed to support startups in the healthcare software space, TrueVault works with traditional, web, and mobile apps.
Benchling is a cloud–based platform for scientists and research teams. The platform offers complex DNA and other research tools, as well as a chance for global research teams to collaborate on projects.
The platform tracks work, letting researchers revert to previous versions of DNA sequences if desired, and teams can download high–quality images for reports and presentations. Public access is free, and labs and research teams can take advantage of affordable monthly subscription options.
Science Exchange offers organizations access to researchers and experts across the globe in a market–based format that keeps pricing fair and opens doors for R&D in companies of all sizes.
Users can order experiments from a lab that specifically meets the technical requirements of the experiment, regardless of the location of that lab. One benefit of the service is that companies can access specialty equipment and staff that may only exist in a few places in the world.
Kaggle caters specifically to the data science niche. It bills itself as the world's largest data science community and boasts over a quarter million users as of 2015. The site includes a job board. It also hosts student competitions and engages with prestigious universities across the world to support science education. Kaggle competitions include participation by professionals who are working to solve real solutions for customers–the results often beat benchmarks by weeks.
Lookout customizes cyber defense for the mobile market by using predictive analysis tools to plan for threats before they become a problem for users. The company now boasts more than 60 million users, including organizations such as AT&T and Sprint. Mobile security is the next frontier for cyber security expansion.
In 2014, Blockscore landed $2.4 million in funding for its identification verification product. Marketed as an anti–fraud and compliance product, Blockscore enters the market at a time when newsworthy hacks have made it obvious that simple password protection is fruitless against modern cyber criminals. While Blockscore is competing with dozens–if not hundreds–of security products, it markets itself as the simple, convenient, and effective option. On its landing page, the brand cleverly shows that users can sign up and use the service in the time it would take to read the competition's contracts.
With more than 191 million digital shoppers in the United States alone, e–commerce sites across all niches are seeing growing business. Along with the increasing revenue comes a growing problem: fraud. In 2012, online retailers lost $3.5 billion to fraud, so it's not surprising that companies are cautious about potentially fraudulent orders. This is where Sift Science comes in.
E–commerce fraud protection services may seem more difficult to brand, and you might not see a bandwagon potential at first. But consider the need to keep up with competition. Eventually, more retailers will have to buy in to the Sift Science product or risk the loss of consumers whose orders have been incorrectly denied.
We also like that Sift Science is integrated within thousands of websites. Once you’re able to build dependency, similar to CloudFlare, you’re on your way to becoming a billion-dollar company.
True Link Financial
True Link Financial offers monitoring and education tools for older adults and caregivers to help seniors avoid fraud and scams. Few cyber security companies dared to tackle this niche for the older generation Americans. We are fascinated by the potential here.
Covered in depth in our book, Kings Over Aces, Dropbox offers cloud–based storage and file sharing. New users can open a Dropbox account for free; paid services are offered, as users require more space for data. As of 2015, this former startup boasted 300 million users from around the world. We expect Dropbox to go public (IPO) by 2017.
Buffer.com is a social media management product that lets companies and users publish and analyze social media performance with convenience on a large scale. Buffer and its founders meet a number of the account.
We are proud to call this an Angel Kings investment company. Having started several companies in the past, I realize how painful bookkeeping and accounting are for a business owner. The inDinero platform has absolutely revolutionized the way small and mid–sized companies in America keep track of their books. Jessica Mah and her team are on–track to become a bigger acquisition than Mint.com. Every company in America should be – and might someday – be using inDinero to replace the headaches of dealing with QuickBooks and Intuit’s platform. The future holds big things ahead for inDinero.
Leveraging the ongoing growth and popularity of open source collaboration, Github delivers a Windows–based collaboration platform. Teams from disparate locations can create code together via the downloadable, cloud–based application, which is free. Github offers cost–effective upgrades for teams that want to work in private environments.
Boosted Boards delivers lightweight long boards with a literal boost–they operate on a battery and offer adjustable speed and power. A Bluetooth remote provides control, and the boards are popular in urban areas for running small errands or reducing travel times to and from work. Boosted Boards offers test rides to convert consumers to its unique concept.