#startupinvestors

Startup Investing: 3 Things Every Investor Must Know

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!

Top Predictions of the Next Billion-Dollar Cybersecurity Startups

Lookout Mobile Security.jpg

Lookout Security

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.

BlockScore

Blockscore.png

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.

Sift Science

Sift Science.png

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.png

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.


You can also sign up for our course and get inside access to the hottest startups and investors in the world. 

We’ll help you find the next billion-dollar startups so you can be part of the future and get an enormous return by angel investing.

How To Use The Berkus Method To Calculate Startup Valuation

We'll cover five different methods for valuing startups, concentrating on valuing early startups and those that are in pre–revenue stages, starting with:

The Berkus Method

This method, which is used and defined by active angel investor David Berkus, involves a lot of estimation. The reason Berkus came up with the method is that he personally found that lengthy revenue forecasts rarely turned out to be accurate. According to Berkus, only 1 in 20 startups hit revenue forecasts, so he opted for an "eyeball" approach using a few key elements. The method applies best to technology companies, but can be applied to other products.

First, Berkus says that investors should believe the company has a potential to hit $20 million or more in revenues by the 5th year of operation. Then, he applies a scale to five components of a startup, rating each at up to $500,000. The components are:

  • The startup has a sound idea–a product that provides a basic value with acceptable product risk
  • There is a prototype, which reduces technology risks
  • The startup has or plans for a quality management team to reduce risks in execution
  • Strategic relationships are already in place, reducing risks for competition and market
  • Product rollout and sales plans exist (not applicable to all pre–revenue startups)

Using the method, the highest valuation would be $2.5 million; a pre–revenue startup could only score $2 million.  This is a very back–of–the–envelope method, but it can be a useful tool for angel investors evaluating startups in the earliest of stages.

Some disadvantages do exist with the Berkus Method, however, illustrating the point that no type of data should be considered in a vacuum. For example, this method doesn't consider market or competitive environment, which may be of importance in many situations.  


Get a copy of our official guide to venture capital and angel investing by becoming a member of Angel Kings - the Angel Investing Experts. And learn from the angel investing and venture capital expert, Ross Blankenship.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding, angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.



Wealthfront Review - The Best Lean Startups in America

Wealthfront

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 Wealthfront a top fintech 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.  


Want to get information on angel investing and venture capital?  Get information from the venture capital expert on startups.  And find out if you qualify as an accredited investor HERE.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding, angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.


Picooc - Review of the Top Hardware Startups

picooc-startup

Picooc is a Chinese health device maker with some products that are similar to US–based Fitbit, which we covered in chapter 6. Through two investment rounds, Picooc raised a total of $25 million. By its second round of funding, which garnered $21 million of that total, Picooc was already known for its flagship product: a smart body scale that integrates with fitness apps and other devices.

Picooc's scale lets users see metrics such as body water, muscle mass, body mass index, and body fat. Users can tie that data to a fitness tracking application, which integrates the information with user–entered figures and data from wearable fitness devices. The result is comprehensive fitness tracking in a world where users globally are becoming more health conscious and more aware of how data can tell a story about fitness.

Picooc certainly isn't first to market, and its products do bear some similarities to products from Fitbit. Where Picooc wins–and investor interest comes into play–is that it beat Fitbit to the ample Chinese market. And it did so at a lower price point. Picooc's scale retails for around $72 in China; comparable Fitbit scales, which didn't launch in China until June 2014, retailed for $198. Anytime a startup can do something as well as or better than the competition and at a lower price point, angel investors should take notice.


Get a copy of our official guide to venture capital and angel investing by becoming a member of Angel Kings - the Angel Investing Experts,. And learn from the angel investing and venture capital expert, Ross Blankenship.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding, angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.


Thalmic Labs - Review of the Top Hardware Startups

thalmic-labs

With over $15 million in investments since it launched in 2013, Thalmic Labs is an exciting hardware startup in an earlier stage than the previous three we covered. The company’s first product is an armband, called the Myo, which senses muscle movement in a user's arm and integrates with computers for virtual–reality style control. The armband offers more precise control than some other devices on the market, and Thalmic Labs originally showcased its prerelease product by flying a drone with it. The armband can also be used to control computing functions, including PowerPoint navigation, and some games.

With a release price of $199 each, Thalmic Labs didn't expect its products to hit wide consumer audiences at first. It was relying on early adoption crowds–techies, industry insiders, and gaming and computer developers–to buy its products on first launch in 2015. The startup did make what seems like a smart product launch choice–it launched on Amazon for added exposure and easy distribution.

Myo

Myo

While the Myo isn't going to be an international bestseller right away, the product and the company are exciting for investors because of the promise of future growth. The Myo is one of those rare products that is slightly before its time but is not first to market. There's a platform ready in the space for these types of control devices, and other hardware and computer uses are catching up, positioning Myo and Thalmic Labs to be big players in the next few years as drastic changes are made to the way users interact with computers.


Would you like to invest in startups and become a venture capitalist? The VC expert is ready to help you start invest in top startups. See how you can by becoming a qualified member HERE.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cybersecurity, biotech, mobile, data and financial services. Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.


Ninja Blocks - Review of the Top Hardware Startups

ninjablocks-review

Another startup in fairly early stages, Ninja Blocks has identified what it considers a growing problem in modern homes: everything is connected, but connections are disparate and lead to poor user experience. The company, which is cofounded by Pete Moore, has received $1.7 million in funding so far, but the open–source nature of its product has let it move forward with development and preorder processes.

Pete Moore isn't new to tech startups; he previously founded Cenqua, which was later acquired by Atlassian. He is also an angel investor and startup advisor. For the Ninja Blocks launch, Moore teams up with cofounder Daniel Friedman.

One reason investors should watch this young company is that Ninja Blocks is poised to bring a wide–ranging solution to a growing and hungry market. Right now, it is targeting home automation–a market that is flooded with high–dollar solutions, service companies, and products that require mobile device access. 

Ninja Blocks is looking to provide the same solutions without the excessive expense or mobile requirements. Its open source policy also lets other product developers integrate control access, so the single Ninja Blocks device may be able to control entire homes and more in the future.


If you'd like to learn about startup investing or want to see if you're an accredited investor apply HERE.  Angel Kings are the angel investing and venture capital experts.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cybersecurity, biotech, mobile, data and financial services. Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.


Slack App - Review of the Top Software Startups

Slack-App-Review

SLACK APP

Slack App offers chatting and communication with a business focus. Unlike apps that are more targeted to social media, Slack is about helping employees and businesses communicate with one another. As of March 2015, the company was valued at $2.76 billion, and it continues to grow. In the course of six months, the company has more than doubled its valuation. The explosive growth of the company has come from the addition of an average of $1 million in new contracts every 11 days, and from $12 million in recurring revenue from the previous year.

In just one year, Slack App has grown to hundreds of thousands of daily users. It has been deemed the fastest–growing business app ever. The reason Slack has experienced such phenomenal growth is because it did something the other app companies did not: It worked with the business app as though it was a consumer app. The gap traditionally seen between business and consumer apps has been shrinking, and Slack has taken advantage of this opportunity.

Slack’s timing was impeccable. Many businesses were disenchanted with the options they had for connecting with co–workers on a business level. With the Slack app, smaller teams throughout various companies discovered it in the cloud and started to use it. Quickly, Slack has become many companies’ first line of communication. 

In the beginning, there was almost no marketing done by Slack. The app sold itself, as people discovered it and word–of–mouth advertising caused more people to start using it. Because it provided employees with exactly what they needed and wanted in a business communication app, they told everyone they knew about it. That meant a more organic adoption of the service, and a higher level of loyalty from the user base. What made Slack so popular, though, was Twitter.

Businesspeople who used and loved the app would make mention of Slack on Twitter, where all their followers would see it. That led many more people to try the app, to see what the buzz was all about. CEO Stewart Butterfield believes that the app may not have seen such a high level of success so quickly if it was not for Twitter and all the people mentioning Slack on the social media platform. That was not the only reason the Slack app became so popular so quickly, though. Another reason was its ease of use, which is important to businesspeople who don't have a lot of time to learn yet another new piece of technology.

The layout of the Slack app is intuitive, and it integrates seamlessly with hundreds of other apps, so the information from them can be pulled into Slack. There is no training needed to start using the app, and the ease of customization makes the app a hit with people in all different types of businesses. If they need communication that's fast, easy, and well–prepared to work with other apps and technology, they need Slack – and thanks to the buzz around the app, they know it.  Will Slack be acquired by LinkedIn, Microsoft, or Google?  Only time will tell.


If you'd like to learn about startup investing or want to see if you're an accredited investor apply HERE.  Angel Kings are the angel investing and venture capital experts.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cybersecurity, biotech, mobile, data and financial services. Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.


SlideMail - Review of the Best Software Startups

slidemail-software-review

SlideMail

SlideMail is an exciting startup that's newer than the two previously mentioned. The fledgling company managed to land $120,000 in seed investments through Y Combinator in mid–2014. What makes SlideMail hot is the way it takes a space that's been mined by giants such as Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail and makes it new again with a little bit of intelligence and one feature that may make SlideMail technology one of the big tech acquisitions of the future.

SlideMail is an app that helps you handle email interactions. The app does what a lot of the browser–based email applications attempt to do, but SlideMail's intuitive programming does it better. Much of the technology is based on natural language programming, which lets SlideMail interpret simple phrases within email as a human does. If an email contains phrasing about dinner tomorrow night, SlideMail makes a note within the app. As times approach, the mail program brings appointment– or time–based emails to the surface, ensuring users don't miss time–based messages in the hustle of daily communications.

SlideMail uses similar logic programming to adapt to user behavior. If you archive email from a certain person to the same folder repeatedly, SlideMail might prompt you to set up automatic archiving. It also suggests email actions in an intelligent fashion, which lets users move through over–burdened inboxes more efficiently.

These functions may sound familiar to users of existing email programs. Outlook and Gmail both have some functionality that can recognize times and dates, for example, and users can set up rule sets in both programs to automatically handle email. With SlideMail, however, the app suggests these things based on actual behavior so users don't have to come up with a list of behaviors on their own. Products that meet existing needs in a more efficient or convenient manner are often successful, which is why SlideMail would score well on Angel Kings' product checklist.

Even more than convenience, SlideMail's privacy option gives it an edge.  With increasing news stories about the eternal nature of online data–and a growing number of scandals involving hacked or leaked emails–users are growing more wary of email use. According to SlideMail, however, all data is stored within your instance of the application rather than on third–party servers. By deleting the app, you delete all information related to your email account. It's not perfect privacy, but it is more than most mobile email users get.

SlideMail hasn't hit its stride with marketing. Users and tech gurus have pointed out a number of branding and marketing options for the startup, however. The convenience and time–management features will resonate with college–aged audiences, particularly those who are always willing to step away from mainstream applications such as Gmail. Another market might be older users, who still rely on Yahoo or other sites for email and would like a robust mobile email program–SlideMail works with existing accounts through POP access.


Would you like to invest in startups and become a venture capitalist? The VC expert is ready to help you start invest in top startups. See how you can by becoming a qualified member at HERE.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cybersecurity, biotech, mobile, data and financial services. Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments. Ross Blankenship has made more investments in venture capital before the age of 30 than most venture capitalists have made in a lifetime. As a venture capital expert on startup funding, Ross Blankenship continues to advise media outlets on upcoming SEC rules, been a mentor for startups, and helped accredited investors make investments in the highest ranked startups. Ross Blankenship is also an expert who advises the media on the JOBS Act, startups, and angel investments for new regulations and laws passed by the SEC about crowd funding and equity crowd funding. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.

The Top Software Startups in America

In 2014, The Economist noted that software startups were exploding across the world; venture capitalist Marc Andreessen went so far as to say, "Software is eating the world."

Though timing as of 2015 is somewhat favorable for any software startup founder with a strong product and plan, not every fledgling software company makes it. Many don't even make it to the seed stage of investing, partly because the ample competition in the niche makes it more difficult to attract investors. We'll review some recent hot software startups in a variety of stages and discuss some reasons they stand out from the global crowd, starting with:

apptus-software-startup

APPTUS

Product is definitely the deciding factor that's landing this hot software startup millions every time it steps up to the pitching mound. In early 2015, Apptus scored $41 million in funds as part of a Series B investment round, with much of the funding coming from Salesforce Ventures, an investing arm of Salesforce.com.

Apptus provides a number of solutions targeted primarily at e–commerce companies. Its first, and powerhouse, product is Quote–to–Cash, a platform that makes it easier for companies to move efficiently through revenue cycle and drive sustainable cash growth. Interestingly, Quote–to–Cash’s entire product line, as well as other solutions from this startup, is that the entire Apttus product line is based on Salesforce.com. In effect, Apptus piggybacks the extremely successful ERP solution with a number of integrations that improve experience for businesses using Salesforce.com.

Aligning its products with Saleforce.com gives Apptus at least two major benefits as a startup. One thing we like to see with a startup is that its product idea isn't first to market–a product that builds successfully on something else is much more likely to succeed. It's also more likely to see success faster than a ground–up venture, and faster success means faster time to value for an investor. By basing its product on the existing Salesforce platform, Apttus doesn't have to grow an audience from scratch. And, if you're going to tie yourself to another software company, why not pick one of the most successful? Salesforce itself grew 33 percent from 2013 to 2014, and was the fasted growing software company at the time.

The second reason the Salesforce.com connection makes Apptus a strong software startup is that it provides for an excellent chance at a future acquisition. At Angel Kings, we never invest in any startup that doesn't have an exit strategy, and linking arms with a company that is growing massively each year and has a history of generous acquisition purchases is about as good as any strategy we've seen.

Previous companies acquired by Salesforce.com include Buddy Media for $745 million in 2012, Radian6 for $326 million in 2011, and Exact Target for $2.5 billion in June 2013. As of early 2015, however, Salesforce.com appeared happy to invest in a growing Apptus rather than acquire it outright; in fact, according to Apptus, Salesforce.com's contribution to the startup's Series B funding is the highest investment amount from Salesforce.com that wasn't part of an acquisition.

Apptus also began as a traditional bootstrap, which is rare for software startups these days. Lean management during the first seven years meant slow growth, but once the company did come to investors, it had a strong project and a plan with many kinks worked out. Current CEO Kirk Krappe says that primary goals are to continue building a great company, but he acknowledges what many investors seem to be banking on: Apptus is positioned well for an IPO or sale in the future. 


If you'd like to learn about startup investing or want to see if you're an accredited investor apply HERE.  Angel Kings are the angel investing and venture capital experts.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-advisor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Ross Blankenship has made more investments in venture capital before the age of 30 than most venture capitalists have made in a lifetime. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.


AppSumo - The Best Lean Startups in America

appsumo-lean-startup

As with all great startup stories, AppSumo begins with someone addressing a need. This time, it was Noah Kagan, who was working with a Facebook games company. Through interaction with partners of that company, Kagan discovered that many businesses and users were having a hard time discovering innovative applications and web products.

Kagan realized someone could offer a product that connected those innovative products and services with the market. Using open–source code, Kagan built part of his product and hired an outsourced coder for a total of $60 to do the rest. The same month, he launched AppSumo, which was to offer deals on products Kagan found online. The first deal he offered was a pro account at Imgur for 50 percent off. Advertised on Reddit, which is a clever target audience crossover decision, the deal sold to 200 buyers.

David Cramer then joined Kagan as a cofounder. The two rebooted AppSumo with updated code and a new offer. They sold 500 of the new offer. The pair continued in a rinse and repeat pattern, learning as they went. Within a few years, the startup boasted 200,000 subscribers and a growing network of customers, startups, and advertisers. 


Would you like to invest in startups and become a venture capitalist? The VC expert is ready to help you start invest in top startups. See how you can by becoming a qualified member HERE.

Ross-Blankenship-expert-investor

Ross Blankenship is the "expert on venture capital and angel investing" for startups and investments for venture deals. He is also a proven entrepreneur, and the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com. Ross Blankenship has made more investments in venture capital before the age of 30 than most venture capitalists have made in a lifetime. As a venture capital expert on startup funding, Ross Blankenship continues to advise media outlets on upcoming SEC rules, been a mentor for startups, and helped accredited investors make investments in the highest ranked startups. Ross Blankenship has successfully founded several companies and now manages a Venture Capital fund focused on early stage, high growth startups in sectors such as mobile, cybersecurity, cloud computing and biotechnology. Learn more about Ross Blankenship, and how to become a successful, early investor at http://AngelKings.com.


All About the JOBS Act of 2012

Since the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012, there has never been a better time to invest in startups.  The doors are opening wider for investors to be a part of the new startup boom, and the conversations between investors and startups have never been so loud and public.   The risk and potential reward have always been great.  But those investors who keep their eyes open and listen can turn the risk and reward in their favor.   

With platforms like AngelKings.com and crowdfunding sites growing under the JOBS Act, you now have the ability to make smart, calculated investments in the next billion dollar startups. Watch our video to learn more.

The JOBS act includes provisions regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) including Regulation D, 506 b, and Regulation D, 506 c, with the newest Regulation A for pre-IPO companies.  

The "JOBS ACT" includes many provisions related to the following for startups and startup funding raising rules and investing provisions:

Title I:  American capital markets 
Title II: Access to capital 
Title III:  Crowdfunding
Title IV:  Small company capital growth
Title V:  Private company flexibility and growth
Title VI: Capital expansion
Title VII:  Changes to the JOBS Act


An expert on the JOBS Act and startup funding, Ross Blankenship is the managing partner of Angel Kings, which provides an opportunity to invest in America's top startups.  

To learn more about the JOBS Act, and to find out more about how to join Angel Kings as an accredited investor, visit AngelKings.com.

Get in touch with our expert angel investing and venture capital team today to learn about startup funding.  

Top Dorm Room Founders and Billionaires

Many impressive companies have been founded in dorm rooms. These companies have re–defined society, technology and cultural movements in America.  Here are some of the most impressive dorm room founders: Watch this video to learn more about the most impressive dorm room founders.

If you'd like to learn about startup investing or want to see if you're an accredited investor apply at http://angelkings.com.  Angel Kings are the angel investing and venture capital experts.


Ross D. Blankenship is the expert on angel investing, venture capital and the world of startup funding. Ross has successfully raised capital for startups and been featured in TechCrunch, Mashable and US News and World Report magazine. Blankenship has made more investments in venture capital before the age of 30 than most venture capitalists have made in a lifetime. As a venture capital expert on startup funding, Ross Blankenship continues to advise media outlets on upcoming SEC rules, been a mentor for startups, and helped accredited investors make investments in the highest ranked startups.

Ross Blankenship is the Founding Partner and CEO at Angel Kings, which focuses on venture capital for early-stage startups raising capital.

The X Factor: Invest in People Surrounded By Equals Or Those Greater

the-x-factor

Let's discuss the #4 of the Angel Kings' four must have personality factors, otherwise known as our "PASS" formula.  Here's a reminder of what those four personality factors are:

  1. Passionate, but with a purpose.
  2. All-in to their endeavor.
  3. Shows no fear of failure.
  4. Surrounded by equals or those greater.

Surrounded By Equals Or Those Greater

Not one startup founder has created a successful company without being surrounded by amazing talent. 

When we invest in startups through Angel Kings, we don’t just get to know the startup founder, but we also get to know the team.   We also don’t care whether someone went to an Ivy League or state school, or if the team is stacked with previous successes.  Ultimately, we want a founder who has managed to recruit people of equal talent and skill to support her vision and share the same success–driven purpose.

The default question we ask before investing:  Is there more than one person on the team who could step up and take over the CEO role if the CEO died, was replaced, gave up or just didn’t have it in her anymore?  There must be at least one, and preferably two or more, people within a company who could step up to the plate and replace a founder.

Even though an iconic personality ideally should build the startup, someone should be able to take over at a moment’s notice.  Don’t invest in a one–person business, which is often the problem that investors encounter with lifestyle and one–person service companies.


Within the Angel Kings’ Investment Formula, we use the following as metrics before deciding to invest in PEOPLE:

·      Integrity

·      Organic net wealth vs. Age

·      Family background

·      Education

·      Experience

·      Credit and Background check

 Investors need to interview founders in order to trust but verify the credentials and people with whom they plan on investing.  Your intuition is often the best marker for future success. 

For example, someone who claimed to have generated more than $10,000,000 in revenue at a previous cybersecurity startup once pitched to us at Angel Kings.  With such profound success in business development, we knew we might have a hit on our hands.  However, after speaking with the previous CTO and CEO, we learned that the startup had dissolved after three years and that the company had hit no more than $750,000 in total revenue during that time frame.  Be careful with integrity... Trust, but verify.

 Investors need to determine how old a founder is and whether or not she has previously earned a living or made money independent of her family’s wealth.  If a founder has made money by her mid–30s – read: had a liquidity event, IPO’d or sold a previous company – this should catch your eye.  However, if a founder is saddled with debt or still struggling financially in her late 20s while using her parents’ money to pay her bills, stay away.

Most 20, 30 and 40–year–olds should have learned how to manage their money. But another indicator of success in startup founders is their exposure to affluent people, which may be because many founders come from wealthy families themselves.  We believe that it is best to invest in founders who are comfortable having a conversation that deals with large amounts of money, but also do not support themselves using their families’ wealth.  These startup founders tend to have wealthy parents who taught their kids how to invest but also how to live frugally.  As an investor, having a founder who has been taught financial responsibility at a young age yields greater returns.  This doesn’t mean Angel Kings doesn’t invest in some kid who’s only 19 years old and is building the next big thing... rather, we tend to ask enough about a founder’s background and nurturing to get a sense of how he or she handles money.  After all, when we write a $1,000,000 check, this money should be neither overwhelming nor too little for a founder to understand how to manage it.

In fact, look no further than Zuckerberg and Gates.  One’s father was a wealthy dentist and the other’s father ran a bank.  Both kids went to private schools and then matriculated at Harvard University.

 Why does exposure to money matter?  Why are angel investments more successful when the founders come from a family with some means? 

The basic reason is two–fold:  On the one hand, you get someone who won’t spend freely without frugality (a big problem currently in startup investing), and on the other hand, the investors will get someone who’s not going to sell out on their first buy–out offer from a larger company. 

Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google exemplify the type of founder we’re talking about. They were offered $1,000,000 to sell Google to Yahoo.  To most people, $1,000,000 is a lot of money.  However, both Page and Brin had been among wealthy students at Stanford, and they both come from families who understand worth, value and how to spend money frugally but with calculated risk.  As founders, their backgrounds gave them a far–sighted perspective on what Google would be worth down the road.


If you'd like to learn about startup investing or want to see if you're an accredited investor apply here. Angel Kings are the angel investing and venture capital experts.

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding,  angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.  

The X Factor: Invest in People Who Show No Fear of Failure

the-x-factor

Here's a reminder of the Angel Kings' four must have personality factors, otherwise known as our "PASS" formula.

  1. Passionate, but with a purpose.
  2. All-in to their endeavor.
  3. Shows no fear of failure.
  4. Surrounded by equals or those greater.

Let's discuss #3 in our PASS formula.

Shows No Fear of Failure

The most common trait that we see in startup founders is no fear of failure.  Entrepreneurs in every startup must be able to hear the word “No” over and over again.  The harsh reality is that it’s hard to hear “no” for most founders, particularly when these often Ivy–educated, top–of–their–class individuals have soared beyond their peers all of their lives. 

But a “No” is ubiquitous in the startup world, and founders must maintain composure and be able to move on to the next customer, VC firm or investor, or else they’ll wither away like a flower in the desert.  They inevitably discover that hearing the word “no” and facing multiple rejections and objections to their companies are all part of the startup process.  The best founders are the ones who learn how to embrace these rejections and turn them into stepping–stones to success. 

Can you imagine what it must have been like for Elon Musk at SpaceX to think he had a shot of competing against NASA by launching satellites and rockets into space?

Musk has encountered resistance repeatedly when launching new products – whether it be from large defense companies that fear his companies will take their government subsidies, or from utility companies that are wary to embrace green energy with Musk’s SolarCity.

Another unquestionable example of a founder without fear is Mark Zuckerberg.  Facebook has been arguably the most impactful company on society in the past 10 years.  If it weren’t for Zuckerberg’s antics at Phillips Exeter Academy and then Harvard University, where he was warned repeatedly about his programming and online activities, Facebook would have never happened. 

Rejection and failure go hand and hand with running a startup. The difference between founders like Musk and Zuckerberg and founders who aren’t as successful is the ability to recognize that rejection isn’t an obstacle or roadblock.  Rejection is fuel to keep going, to keep building great things, and to launch what they know will transform industries and make people call them “icons.”

But let's better define failure...

Having no fear of failure doesn’t mean a startup founder should continue to build a product that people don’t want.  

If a founder is blindly stubborn, and she continues to sell her vision to a market that finds no need for it, then as an investor, you should be concerned.  There’s nothing worse than a founder spending money to build something no one is either going to use repeatedly for free (Facebook) or going to buy out of necessity (Tesla). 

Having no fear of failure doesn’t mean a startup founder should continue to pitch investors when they continually refuse to write a check. Having no fear of failure can simply mean a founder who takes charge of her own path.

Musk and Zuckerberg were intent on having their ventures change the conversation within industries that have existing dominant players.  They didn’t care that those players would be upset.  Based on their example, having no fear means a founder believes that a fundamental paradigm shift is needed in an industry to make the world a better place, and she’s going to take charge to make it happen.


Would you like to invest in startups and become a venture capitalist? The VC expert is ready to help you start invest in top startups. See how you can by becoming a qualified member here.

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding,  angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.  

The X Factor: Invest In People With An All-In Mentality

Remember the Angel Kings' four must have personality factors, or otherwise called our "PASS" formula:

1.  Passionate, but with a purpose.

2.  All-in to their endeavor.

3.  Shows no fear of failure.

4.  Surrounded by equals or those greater.

In this article, we will be discussing #2 of our formula.  

 

The All-in mentality

 

All passionate and purposeful founders or inventors must be asked whether or not it’s their full–time venture or just an idea they’re pondering perfunctorily.  Why?  If it’s not their full–time, all–in moment, don’t bother writing a check.  Not one of the top 10 billionaires in the world ever took on an idea, product or service part–time. 

For Musk, his all–in mentality has driven him to a level of obsessive compulsiveness that one could blame for a divorce and much strife within his own life.   Musk was all–in to PayPal – and to every venture he pursued.   Musk worked day and night, and in fact, slept in the office and shared a tiny apartment to save on expenses.  Musk would do everything he could to make sure that his company succeeded.

Normatively, is this good or bad?  Who knows… your job as an angel investor is to find the best founders who can bring you a massive return on your angel investment.  No, we don’t want, wish or hope for any of our founders to suffer personal strife or deal with major pains, but look to none other than Steve Jobs to know it can happen to the best.

 When we say all–in, just like in poker we want you to treat any investment – $25,000 up to $10,000,000, which we’ve seen at Angel Kings – as possibly your only startup investment.  A founder expecting you to write a check should be just as committed, if not more so, to building her product as you are in giving precious dollars to help her fulfill her vision.  She has to understand that receiving your check does not mean the work gets easier.  If anything, she has to become so hyper–focused in making her vision succeed that her level of commitment to both your investment and her vision becomes a bit daunting.

The all–in mentality is a two–sided coin for both investors like yourself and founders. 

On the one hand, you need to be willing to go all–in and have enough of a meaningful investment for it to hurt if the startup doesn’t succeed.  As Mark Cuban says, you need to have enough “skin in the game” to care about whether the startup succeeds or fails. 

On the other hand, the founder should be willing to play her cards right, not be distracted by different commitments, and remain fully committed to making your investment profitable.  If a founder is hedging her bets by thinking that “if this doesn’t work out, we can always do something else,” then it’s not going to work.  There’s a limited amount of time during which your startup investment should take off, and the founder can’t squander that time bouncing around ideas and splitting her time between different companies.  The all–in mentality requires focus, decisiveness and cooperation between the founder and the investor. 

As an investor, you have to be discerning about the founders of your startup investments.  Although a founder may have a great idea and is brimming with passion, she must be able to shoulder the level of risk that your investment carries.  Just as in poker, the founder must play every hand as if it were her last hand to play. For every hand dealt – whether pocket Aces or deuce–seven – a founder must be all–in as though her life is on the line.  Even when tired, exhausted and ready to give up because she feels like nothing is going right, the best founder always gets up quickly before the self–pity worms its way in.  There is a level of tenacity, shrewdness and optimism that a founder must possess in order to make sure her vision succeeds.

 

For the investors…

As an investor, your big moment could come at any time.  Again and again, you’ll be pitched on ideas, products and services that will be the next “big thing.”  You have to know when and how much you should bet to get a fruitful return, one in which you’re not just in the money but you’re the grand winner …  Yes, it’s possible.

 

For the founders…

View every hand you’re dealt as if it’s your last.  Look at an investment as your ticket.  You will never be dealt pocket Aces every hand.  You’re likely to be dealt just as many terrible cards as the next guy.  In fact, you should be happy to even be sitting at the table instead of working a boring job!

 

If you’re distracted or not fully committed to each hand, you will fail.


Want to get information on angel investing and venture capital? Get information from the venture capital expert on startups. And find out if you qualify as an accredited investor here.

ross-blankenship

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding,  angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.  

The X Factor: How To Invest In The Right People

When Angel Kings invests in startups, we look to the founders first.   Our team looks for that future icon: the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk.  Those names are pretty big shoes to fill.  We want someone who will swing for a homerun every chance he or she gets; someone who creates a new industry or platform to solve a problem; someone with an all–in mentality from day one until the day we meet him or her. And just to be clear: We meet the founders behind every potential investment them before we write a check.  And you should, too. 

The “People” factor accounts for a large percentage of our investment formula.  We’re disclosing this not because we want some sycophantic founder to pitch us and tell us how “passionate” and “dedicated” he or she is; in fact, to the contrary. 

The investment formula is about selecting the right people, and informing and educating them so that they don’t bother pitching us unless they fit our proprietary “PASS” Formula. 

Here are Angel Kingsfour must have personality factors before we make an investment in an idea from a founder or founders.  We call this the “Angel Kings’ Personality Profile” model:

1.     Passionate, but with a purpose

2.     All–in to their endeavor

3.     Shows no fear of failure

4.     Surrounded by equals or those greater

 These four personality traits are hard to define objectively.  After all, how do you define passion?  What does it mean to be “all–in?”  How can you tell if someone has no fear of failure?  How do you know if a founder has people on her team just as good as she is?  And does this matter?  Let's start answering these questions by further discussing #1 in our "PASS" Formula.

Passionate, But With A Purpose

It is vital for every founder to be passionate, since passion is what fuels a startup to success.  Think of a startup as a car, and every founder as the driver.  That driver’s passion is what fuels that car.  It’s the gasoline that keeps the car running through every bump on the road; every storm it has to weather; every passenger it has to carry.  We’ve been pitched countless times, and 99% of the time, the founder will say how passionate or dedicated he or she is about an endeavor.  However, if passion fuels a startup to success, it is purpose that will guarantee that a startup remains headed in the right direction.  Every founder that has had tremendous success has had both passion and purpose embedded in their companies.    

Take a look at Elon Musk.  Having founded some of the most successful companies in modern times – PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX –Musk perfectly fits each of the Angel Kings’ personality traits.

usk starts each new company with a fundamental question: will my idea completely revolutionize an age–old industry for the betterment of the people?  Most startups see a personal pain point and decide to fix it for themselves.  However, Musk sees fundamental stagnation in an industry, and delves head first into solving a problem that will change commerce.  Musk begins to answer his own question by building a product he would use personally, which is important, but he then tests immediately whether others would use it too by asking if they would pay for it… and invariably they do – in droves.

PayPal, Tesla and now SpaceX have changed the financial and transportation industries to the point that traditionally embedded players, like banks and NASA, are forced to rewrite how they can compete within the market they used to dominate.   Musk will remain an icon of the VC and angel investors industries because he persists in challenging the classic players with innovative ideas.  His passion is complemented by a real desire to purposefully drive change and to produce new solutions to existing problems.

Passion is important as the basic trait, but a better marker of a future icon or success is whether there is a genuine purpose behind an idea.  Passion, purpose and money aren’t mutually exclusive, either.  What we’re saying is that you are more likely to make money investing in someone if he or she has passion and purpose combined.


If you'd like to learn about startup investing, or if you want to see if you're an accredited investor, apply here. Angel Kings are the angel investing and venture capital experts.

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding,  angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.  

 

Review of the Most Successful Lean Startups - Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish

After working for a number of tech startups, Markus Frind decided to launch his own company in 2003. Frind settled on the online dating market and bootstrapped his company from his apartment, where he received the company's first Google AdSense paycheck–for a whopping $1,100.

By 2007, the company was reportedly worth close to $1 billion, and at that point, Frind started hiring people to help him. For the first four years, however, he did most of the work himself and generated a great deal of revenue through a freemium website that was funded by advertisers.

Frind didn't stop there. Over the years, Plenty of Fish followed the build–measure–learn model we discussed above. It eventually gave up funding by an ad–based, freemium model. By offering paid subscriptions, the startup hoped to better engage users.

Frind also made a timely decision after studying consumer use and the market. He integrated his product onto mobile platforms, which he claims is responsible for a large increase in both user and revenue growth. Between 2013 and early 2015, Plenty of Fish experienced doubled revenues. By early 2015, it had 100 million users and expected annual revenue of $100 million.

Frind once stated that he didn't know anything about SEO, community, venture capital, or advertising when he began his startup experiment. What he did know is how to learn: he stated that, "I spent every waking minute when I wasn't at my day job reading, studying, and learning."


Want to get information on angel investing and venture capital? Get information from the venture capital expert on startups. And find out if you qualify as an accredited investor here.

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding,  angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.  

Meet The Top BioTech Startups - PillPack

pillpack-biotech-startup

Healthcare providers and caregivers have been trying to organize medications for years. When someone is on multiple medications–particularly someone who is elderly–taking the right pills at the right time can be difficult. Taking the wrong pill, however, can be disastrous. PillPack steps in to meet a timeless problem with a clever solution: preprinted, sealed packs that contain one dose of pills. The pack tells users what day and time to take the pills, and lists all the medications enclosed, making life easier for patients, caregivers, and providers.

Watch the video above as Ross Blankenship discusses how PillPack is a biotech startup worth investing in.


Would you like to invest in startups and become a venture capitalist? The VC expert is ready to help you start invest in top startups. See how you can by becoming a qualified member here.

ross-blankenship-angelkings

Ross Blankenship is an expert on startup funding,  angel investing and venture capital.

Ross Blankenship is also the Founder and CEO of AngelKings.com.  Angel Kings is an investing platform that provides accredited angel investors the opportunity to invest in top startups and companies in sectors like cyber security, biotech, mobile, data and financial services.  Angel Kings provides both venture capital funds for startup investing as well as private equity funding for early and middle-stage investments.  

Total Addressable Market: Startup Market Size and Why It Matters

How much is the magic market share number? It depends on how much the investment ask is: you don't need a $20 billion market share to make a profit; niche companies often succeed with much small shares–they just succeed on a smaller scale.

In this section, we'll cover some basic ways you, as the angel investor, can estimate the addressable market share. We'll also talk about how to drill down in a startup's pitch deck, what to look for when the startup talks market share, and how to protect yourself against poor investments with regard to market.

 

Back-of-the-Napkin Considerations

 

You can do some back-of-the-napkin math to estimate a startup's future share of the market. The more you know about the industry or product type in question, the more accurate your math is likely to be, which is one reason many angel investors choose to operate in fields with which they have experience.

For a solid estimate of total addressable market (TAM), you'll need five pieces of information.

1.  The Total Population of Potential Users

This may be a geographical consideration: There are 100,000 people in the city where a restaurant wants to launch. More likely, this is a more abs