startup investors

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. 

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.