startup investing

3 Most Successful Dorm Room Founders

Mark Zuckerberg

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.


You can also sign up for our newly released course to give you inside access to the hottest startups 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.

Top Predictions of the Next Billion-Dollar Biotech Startups

Tute Genomics

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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.

TrueVault

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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

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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

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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

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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.


You can also sign up for our course to give you inside access to the hottest startups 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.

Top 5 Predictions of the Next Billion-Dollar Startups

Dropbox

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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.

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Buffer.com

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.

inDinero

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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.

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GitHub

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

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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.


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.

3 Important Startup Financials to Understand

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At a high level, when evaluating the financials of a startup, you can generally group it into one of the following buckets:

  1. Pre–revenue
  2. Breakeven
  3. Profitable

Unicorns are companies that are given a $1 billion valuation by investors and venture capitalists, and potential unicorns exist in each of these buckets. Unicorns are not always easy to spot, so how do you know what to look for?

Three key questions to ask when analyzing a startup’s financials?

  1. Is the startup growing sustainably?
  2. Is there a clear path to breakeven and profitability?
  3. In order to earn investors a strong return, what does this startup need to accomplish before its next round of financing, and how realistic are those goals?

Show Me the Money!

There’s nothing better than a startup that is already in the black. They don’t need your money, which makes you want to give it to them all the more!

But profitable startups are a different animal. In this case, the unicorn (or potential unicorn) isn’t hard to spot – the company is already throwing off cash, and you and every other investor is fighting to get in!

Instead, the key risk is whether or not you’re overpaying for the unicorn, and how hard and fast the unicorn can run.

Three key questions to ask when analyzing a profitable startup are:

  1. Why is this company able to achieve profitability?
  2. Where are the untapped areas of growth, and why would a capital infusion not only increase, but turbocharge growth?
  3. What metrics do you need to hit to give investors a return of three to ten times capital?

You can also join our newest course to give you inside access to the hottest startups 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.

Successful Startups Focus on Timeless Solutions

Successful Startups Focus on Timeless Solutions

“Audaces fortuna iuvat.”

– Virgil, The Aeneid    

How are Poker and Angel Investing the same?

How are Poker and Angel Investing the same?

Never invest in a founder or founding team, unless every person is all-in with the venture. 

Startup Founders Who Can Execute Always Win

Startup Founders Who Can Execute Always Win

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

– Walt Disney

The Greatest VC Angel Investors of All Time

The Greatest VC Angel Investors of All Time

Angel investors and venture capitalists come from all over and have fascinating and varied backgrounds.  Here is a look at some of the all-time top investors.

25 Questions Every Investor Must Ask Startups

25 Questions Every Investor Must Ask Startups

The old boy networks are gone.

ENTER ANGEL KINGS.

Startup Investing and Venture Capital Course - Just Released

We're proud to announce the release of our newest course on startup investing, venture capital and private equity.

If you're an accredited investor, startup founder, or just someone who wants to learn how to make money investing in America's top startups, this course is for you.  

Our first 100 signups will receive a signed copy of our bestselling book on investing - Kings Over Aces.  

Here are some of the fundamentals taught in this #1 startup investing program:

  • How to spot winning startups - People, Product, Execution, Timing, Traction and Financial Analysis.
  • Who are the top startups and founders in America? 
  • How does startup investing work? Special purpose funds, Carry, Warrants, Purchase Agreements, IPOs, and the mechanics of investing in startups.  
  • What startups are raising funds and how can you invest, wisely, and with a greater chance of success?
  • The Term Sheet - How does it work?  What does it mean for startups and investors?
  • What's a convertible note? A SAFE Note? Equity Rounds?
  • What's the JOBS Act?  How does the JOBS Act impact startups and investors?
  • Employee Stock Options?  How do they work?  What's their impact on your startup's finances?
  • BONUS Material:  Top Law Firms for Startups, Biggest VC Deals, Ranking of Best Startups In America.

The best part about an Angel Kings membership is you'll get weekly access to top startups fundraising.  An elite membership also comes with a Master's certificate which you can add to your profiles and during your startup investing discussions.  

The #1 Startup & Venture Capital Investing Course - by Media Expert on Startups - Ross D. Blankenship

The #1 Startup & Venture Capital Investing Course - by Media Expert on Startups - Ross D. Blankenship

Ross Blankenship - Leading Startup and Venture Capital investor who helps startups and investors around the world.  

Ross Blankenship - Leading Startup and Venture Capital investor who helps startups and investors around the world.  

We believe every investor (and startup) deserves the opportunity to benefit from smart, analytically-driven startup investing that brings more profit, and less pain. 

Note the prices above are valid for a limited time until the first 100+ signups are reached.  Based on the previously oversubscribed list, we expect this to be a week or less.

 

--> Be sure to signup today for the #1 course on venture capital, angel investing and the inside world of private equity.  <--

 

Billion Dollar Startups: Who, What, and How to Invest in Top Startups

The Billion Dollar Startup Formula

Like the S&P, Moody’s credit rating systems, or Morningstar research for ranking public companies, Angel Kings has built our own proprietary, private market investing formula and ranking of the next billion dollar startups.  Until now, we have never released our proprietary formula; we’re sharing this for the first time because you deserve to know how venture capitalists think, and moreover, how you too can make money investing in the right startups.  We score every startup we meet on a scale from 0 to 100 using the following investment formula.  

Before you make any investment in startups, ask yourself, the startup founders, and others, the following questions:

 I.   People & Startup Founders

The fundamental questions: 

1.     Are the founders all-in? 

2.     Does the founding team have a hacker, hustler, and social media guru?

3.     Does the founding team have a potential "icon," i.e. the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?

4.     Would you trust the founders with a blank check? (Based on a thorough background & credit check)

5.     What experience have the founder(s) had with money?

6.     Do the founders listen to your ideas? 

7.     How many of the founding people are still on board?

 

II.   Product & What Startups Will Be Around 20+ years from now

 

The fundamental questions:   

1.     How much do you enjoy using the product?   

2.     What is the likelihood the product will be around 20 years from now?

3.     How favorably do customers speak about the product?  

4.     How big is the actual market for this product?

5.     Can you convince your biggest skeptic to buy the product?

6.     Do customers keep coming back to buy the product?

 

III.   Execution

The fundamental questions:   

1.     Does the product create a need or "must-have-it" in businesses or consumers?

2.     Does the product spark memorable marketing conversations?

3.     Does the product empower a community of evangelists?

4.     Has the company become the thought leader, or the follower?

 

IV.   Timing  

The fundamental questions: 

1.     Is this a revolutionary, first-in-class product or the most amazing upgrade to an old system?

2.     If it hasn't been done before, why hasn't it? 

3.     Does the startup have an exit strategy: either staying private and being acquired, or having an Initial Public Offering (IPO)?  

 

V. Financials

The fundamental questions:  

1.     How soon will the startup make money?

2.     What's the startup's valuation?

3.     What equity stake will you obtain and is it enough to stay interested?

4.     Will your investment help allow for at least 18 months of sustainability? 

5.     If there’s an exit, what’s your potential upside?

We always ask tough objective and subjective interview questions; and we always calculate a “1 to 100” startup score.   To learn specific scoring ranges for each question, visit AngelKings.com.

* * *

 

There’s also another part of the decision making process above that’s not mentioned: it’s called your gut feeling or better known as “intuition.”  Whether you’re a card player, investor, doctor, lawyer, or any other profession, you often rely on your intuition in cases where things don’t add up quite right or you don’t have enough information to make an informed decision.   In fact, when you’re investing in startups, you won’t have the same publicly released information as you would investing in a company listed on the NASDAQ or NYSE; thus, you have to be more logical and patient in your investment strategy.   You need to use your intuition less often in startup investing before writing a check.  After all, for every startup success story you’ve heard where someone invested in a “billion dollar” idea because of a purported gut feeling, there are thousands more who lost their money because their gut was dead wrong. 

 

This is why the Angel Kings’ investment formula is important for startup investors and venture capitalists; it makes important decisions more reliant on facts than intuition.  Use as much of the formula as you can, ask the questions in the following chapters, but if there’s a missing piece that doesn’t add up to our 90 score… you’ve got to be willing to say “no.”  In the startup world, it’s about saying “no” more than saying “yes” that will lead you to higher returns on investment.     

 

As in law, your burden of proof for investing in startups is beyond a reasonable doubt.  And thus, our formula too is geared towards investing in companies that score a 90+ or more before we would ever say yes to invest.

 

*You can find our startup calculator on our website: AngelKings.com.

 FACTS ABOUT OUR STARTUP INVESTING:

·      Each of these four categories combine to make a 0 to 100 score. 

·      We invest when a startup reaches a total of 90+ points or more. 

·      Most startups (98.5%) that have pitched Angel Kings have scored 90 points or less.

 Here’s a fact: the typical venture capital firm (VC firm) assumes it can beat you investing in startups and amass greater returns than you.   VC firms often return up to 25% per year annualized, often beating the average S&P investor by 10% to 20% or more per year.

Now, here’s a myth: the old boy networks of VC firms and private equity (“PE”) funds are running the show and preventing you from getting in on startups.    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.

If you'd like to invest in startups, or get started in venture capital, contact Angel Kings today.

You can also read about our startup investing formula in our startup investing book - Kings Over Aces.  

The Startup Correction and Why Startups Should Raise Capital Now

"Startups should raise money now.  Buy your umbrella and get ready to weather this storm of volitility."