AngelList is a free and open matching service for entrepreneurs and early stage investors. Startup businesses create a profile and select which investors can view their information. Founder Naval Ravikant stresses that the website “is a passive communication channel,” not unlike Twitter, and any company can sign up to be a part of it. The angel investors are vetted however to prevent snoops and lurkers who are unlikley to actually engage in funding.
The site is riding the crest of a wave: that wave being the boom in Angel Investing which has seen a groundswell in the contemporary economic climate. Furthermore, AngelList highlights vibrant start up scenes elsewhere than Silicon valley, including Estonia and Chile. Criticism of vulnerability to deterimenal social proof factors have been levelled at the site, with Foursquare investor Bryce Roberts taking public leave of the platform with the announcement that it encourages a herd mentality
Nevertheless Angelist has the potential to alter the complexion of the investment market:
Business Insider: How many companies are on it, how many have raised money?
Ravikant: Almost 1,300 investors – about 60% angels and 40% VCs. Our rough estimate is over 200 companies funded. We’re a well kept secret. .. we find that a very high percentage of intros turn into investment offers, as much as 25%
This success poses a threat to venture capitalists who don’t have sufficient differentiation. It levels the field, improving the prospects for start ups and changing the dynamic of the investment ecosystem.