Is @AngelList Syndicates Really Such a Big Deal?

If you track the venture capital industry it would be hard to miss the conversation going on this week over AngelList “Syndicates.”

From the hyperbolic Jason Calacanis weighing in that “The petty VC’s did everything to deride [Naval, the co-founder of AngelList]” as though the industry was collectively shitting its pants that AngelList was going to put us out of business. But Jason is one of the smartest thinkers in our industry so while style points in his eye-poking post might be low, he’s definitely scratching at something important.

My favorite new VC blogger, Hunter Walk, weighed in with some thoughtful comments about how Syndicates might actually pit, “angel vs. angel.”

And even the venerable Fred Wilson weighed in with how people “leading vs. following” in funding rounds play different roles and have different skills.

So there you have it. Many of the good and great of our industry are talking about AngelList.

Must be doing something right!

I had a chance to discuss AngelList Syndicates with Naval at Michael Kim’s Cendana LP/VC conference on a panel with Naval, Roger Ehrenberg (IA Ventures) and Mike Brown, Jr. (Bowery Capital).

Is AngelList Syndicates really such a big deal?

If it gets broader adoption I think it is a big deal. I have a slightly different take on why I find it valuable.

For starters, what is AngelList Syndicates?

AngelList 101: As you know, AngelList is a platform where angels can invest in semi-screened tech deals. It should help some entrepreneurs to better access early-stage capital and should allow some angel investors better access to deal flow. As an angel you can look for the social proof in deals “Dave Morin is investing …” to make your decision. Social proof can be helpful. But it can also be destructive. It certainly shouldn’t be a proxy for good judgment.

AngelList Syndicates 101: While “AngelList Classic” was ‘each angel for himself’ – syndicates allows an active angel to form a group of like-minded investors to invest together in a deal or deals. The syndicate lead can then take “carry” on the profits generated from the investment, turning some syndicate leads into MicroVCs.

While VCs usually take 20% carry on their funds (you get no profit until you’ve returned your investment fund and then share 20% of the upside after that), AngelList Syndicate Leads take 15% (AngelList itself takes the other 5%). AngelList Syndicate leads don’t take any fees on the investment, which should help with returns.

Smartly AngelList requires a Syndicate lead to actually have their own money in the deal so they can’t just be packaging and taking fees – they actually have to put skin in the game. This is the same way VC firms work, by the way. If you don’t know, VCs end up writing sizable checks into their own funds, which is important in better aligning interests.

So What’s the Big Deal?

In Jason’s mind half of the VC industry will now disappear as entrepreneurs flock to him and to Dave Morin for their money

“.. the bottom half of VCs will now be wholesale replaced by folks like Kevin Rose, Dave Morin and myself. The three of us have $1M in backers in the first week. That means if we collaborated on a project we can do an A-Round after a brief conference call.” 

And Fred points out

“It also means that they will have to learn to lead and lead well. They will have to step up before anyone else does. They will have to negotiate price and terms. They will have to sit on boards. They will have to help get the next round done. Essentially they will have to work. 

… Not everyone is good at this. In fact, very few are. It’s hard to be a great lead investor 

Both are right. Jason, Kevin and Dave can move an order-of-magnitude faster than VCs and sometimes this is a good thing for entrepreneurs.

But as with many people who have a vested interest in fast rounds being assembled, they don’t quite get why it is so important that VCs actually take their time. VCs take their time precisely for the reason Fred articulates – they play the role of “lead investor.”

That means sitting on boards and helping entrepreneurs to handle the most difficult things that pop up like:

  • lawsuits
  • founder fighting
  • lack of traction, lack of downstream financing availability
  • existential threats (Apple announced they are competing directly with you)
  • strategic direction
  • help debating before key negotiations
  • M&A discussions (where your company is buying or being bought)
  • interviewing critical hires at a time where they have 3 other offers

and much more. Call any CEO that has me as a lead and they’ll tell you that I’ve been on midnight phone calls the night before big meetings acting as a sparring partner. Why? I sit on less than 10 boards precisely so that I can be deeply involved when I’m most needed. And I have witnessed this from nearly all of my peer group.

I have watched Jim Andelman blow out his personal life to help build spreadsheet models for one of our co-investments at a critical inflection point. And countless Sunday mornings I’ve had breakfast with Dana Settle  away from our families to help our companies at critical moments.

This is what leads do. Less investments, more active. Therefore of course they need to be more selection when writing checks and can’t spread their bets across 75 deals.

It’s different, not better or worse. I know the populist sentiment about VCs is that many want to believe that taking one’s time to make investments is due to 8-week’s holiday every summer and not working past 5pm.

I have never experienced a co-investor VC who is a slacker or uncommitted.

Yet I still see Syndicates as an important innovation.

In virtually every deal I do I leave space for angels. If I commit to a $2.5 million round I might write $1.8 – 2.2 million and tell the entrepreneur that they can bring in angels or seed funds for the remaining investment if they want. I don’t mind flexing up the amount available or flexing down (I will gladly take the whole round if needed / desired).

Why?

Kind of obvious. Angels add domain experience. Angels have additional networks. Angels can be helpful champions of the company. I don’t believe that I have monopoly on good ideas for the companies in which I invest so to me, the more the merrier.

Up to a point.

I don’t want 40 angels calling the CEO with their opinions on a regular basis. That would add too much overhead.

I have been involved with rounds of funding where individual angels asked to have lawyers review the next round of financing and slow up deals over what amounts to $25,000 out of a $5 million investment.

I don’t want confidential company information leaking to 40 angels – some of whom may be totally responsible and some of whom may inadvertently or intentionally leak information.

I have committed to some deals where some of the individual angels dragged out their investment decisions because to them $50,000 was a boat load of money (as it is for most people) while I had already wired my $1.85 million and wanted the CEO to get back to running the business. Kind of ironic that in many cases angels can actually be slower.

So Why Do I Love AngelList Syndicates?

Precisely because it helps organize a group of angels in ways that are helpful to entrepreneurs and to VCs. Far from putting us out of business, I believe it will complement our industry.

1. Helpful to Entrepreneurs – The most obvious. Syndicates can move faster in early-stage deals than rounding up 40 individual investors. Awesome.

2. Helpful to VCs – I can have 40 investors but just one signatory on deals. I don’t have to chase down tons of individuals. Helpful because if I know that Jason or others are “fronting” others in a deal I can deal with one person to negotiation in difficult times. Helpful because at the time of rounds we’re not herding cats.

3. Helpful to Angels – But what I find most innovative in AngelList Syndicates is that it is helpful to angels. Of course it’s obvious that it helps the self-interested syndicate lead who gets carry if the investment is successful. But it also helps followers. In most deals angels have few rights. One of the most important rights is “pro-rata” rights to invest in subsequent rounds. With angel money being “packaged” and aggregated into large bundles it makes it easier for angels to ask for rights it might not otherwise have.

The most interesting thing is that this will change early-stage investments in unanticipated ways.

As Hunter astutely points out in his post,

“My guess is there are also some angels who were popular when they represented a $25k check but won’t be as sought after if they try to push $300k into a round.”

This is my guess, too.

And of course syndicates unleashes many unintended consequences by creating a new breed of self-promotion amongst angels who previously told you how much they loved their 100 deals because it benefited their equity – now some actually have even more riding as carry – so as always caveat emptor. Of course the same goes with traditional VCs.

We of course have Naval to thank for helping to innovate in our industry. In the end he’s giving us all more tools to do our jobs more effectively. I’ve always been a believer that new competitive dynamics are good for industries because they favor those that are most nimble in responding to the new market dynamics.

AngelList does this. But it doesn’t radically alter our industry as some would have you believe. It enhances our existing working practices.

Mostly I’d like to thank Nivi. Because while Naval rightly gets a lot of credit for helping shake up our industry, Nivi is the co-founder who has always been behind the scene pushing the innovations just as hard and always happy to avoid taking any credit.

Thank you both for enriching what we all do.

Photo Credit from StickerMule. You can order yours here.

p.s. … no. I haven’t proof read this article. I’m getting back to my Sunday morning. You can deal with a few typos. You knew what I meant anyways ;-)

  • http://www.mywifipassword.com/ Parham Beheshti

    Great post mark!
    I think this is like “is micro finance going to bring down wall street”.
    As an Entrepreneur I see difference in the quality of money as well. Having a professional investor who doesn’t have a big chunk of his money in a single basket makes me much more relaxed. I have seen investors freaking out, panicking with every bit of bad news. Now multiply that by lets say 10! Yeah I will get a lead investor but nothing stops the little ones from calling me, trying to pull me in different directions, fighting among each other and trying to use the CEO for their internal politics.
    No thanks! I rather wait, get a smaller check but deal with someone who does this for living, not a hobby or hope to be millionaire (times 10)!

  • Fabiano

    Another great post, thanks.

  • http://sandersak.com/ Adrian Sanders

    “…they don’t quite get why it is so important that VCs actually take their time. VCs take their time precisely for the reason Fred articulates – they play the role of “lead investor.”

    If you could pick a percentage, how many VCs out there that are active today actually provide any of the value you list?

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Spot on. I hope Syndicates makes it easier on entrepreneurs to take angel money and gives angels more power of aggregated money.

    As I said, different – not better or worse.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    As far as firms go I’d say at least 100-150 firms. In terms of co-investors I’ve worked with – I’d say it’s 90%+.

  • Guest

    Nice post, thanks. One quibble. You write:

    “If you know, VCs end up writing sizable checks into their own funds, which is important in better aligning interests.”

    Sizable?

    Most VC GPs provide what, 2% of the capital committed in a fund? Maybe 3-5%. Maybe. But they take out 2% or 2.5% of capital committed EVERY YEAR as management fees. So they provide 2-5% of capital while fee-ing out 20-25% of capital.

    Why LPs are OK with this, I do not understand. Probably because the LP executives who make investment decisions are only following an allocation set down by a committee way above their heads, and then the execs are rarely if ever still employed by the LP 8-10 years later when fund performance is actually known. Meantime, some part of those humungous management fees go to paying for VC fund parties and dinners and events where the execs can feel the glam of the maybe next big thing.

    Aligning interests?

    Um, if VC GPs are allowed take 20-25% of capital as fees, while proving 2-5% of capital, it must be because they provide such awesome, above-market returns, right?

    Not even close.

    As an asset class, VC returns, well, stink.

    For interests to be aligned, VC GPs would have significant personal expsoure to the performance of the fund, and be paid some decent living, say the same salary as their portfolio company CEOs, and only get wealthy if the LPs beat the S&P500 by, say, 300 basis points. As it is, VC GPs make gargantuan salaries and expense accounts and lavish overheads and infrastructure, all in the service of truly mediocre or poor performance.

    But heck, what’s the big deal? I mean, its not like its hurting everyday people – http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/looting-the-pension-funds-20130926

  • Jason Kutasi

    As most investors in a crowd-sourced syndicate will pay retail, the wholesale investors (= professional angels) will be pushed down the capital stack or into later rounds. I think this might help fill the Series A tranche of capital (whether equity of debt) which seems to lacking today.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I understand your angst but of course your position is over-stated a bit. But in some cases of course you’re right.

    but here’s my take:

    1. Most VCs take 2% fees per year. True. But that fee goes into everything we do – staff, offices, travel, etc. So your quibble should be with $800 million funds that don’t have commensurate staff / partners. Try telling Dave McClure that 2-3% in fees is a lot.

    2. Most VC funds invest 2-5% of their fund. I have talked to countless VC partners who – while are still clearly in the advantaged class of our country no doubt – struggle to make the payments to their fund on a regular basis and some even have to take out loans to do so. One recent [prominent!] VC told me, “when I got the first capital call for $35,000 I thought – oh, shit. Where is that going to come from?” Not everybody has liquidity to write checks. I’m personally in easily for 7-figures across my funds. It adds up, believe me.

    3. VC industry return argument is bogus. Yes, as a “class” returns are bad. But that’s for structural and historic reasons. Returns of the top quartile over long periods of time have performed well. I have written about that here: http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2012/05/23/its-morning-in-venture-capital/

  • Dave

    Thanks for the very well balanced and informative post. I used to do more angel investing but have tailed off over the past few years largely due to a lack of time to focus on it due to my regular job. I was looking at some of the Angel List syndicate information and Angel List generally as a way to start to dip my toes back in the water with a less time intensive approach. Your post just saved me a ton of time in trying to think through the pros and cons of this. Much appreciated.
    I am curious how you see this impacting the follow-on rounds, which has been a big headache previously for companies I worked with. There is a syndicate and one signature but it still doesn’t seem to address the fact that the angels have however many people in a syndicate (5, 10, 50) with varying levels of committment and money. Perhaps it is no change other than simplyfing the company and VC’s dealings with the syndicate by dealing with only one person, not insigificant if the “lead” owns the herding cats work.

    I am also very curious whether these “lead” investors of syndicates can or will do the very hard, generally thankless work that all the VC investors I know do. Some do the work better than others, but I don’t know many/any successful lazy VC investors.

  • http://fabiensoudiere.tumblr.com/ Fabien Soudiere

    I believe Syndicates could help better than Crowdfunding. Having investor lead such as Jason Calacanis or David Morin would probably be the best person to mediate between entrepreneurs and angels. We entrepreneurs don’t have time or want to spend the time dealing with certain angels, yet early on we always value the cash more than the investor’s expertise or network. Not great… In the end, Syndicates may just be a good way today to get access to the ‘best’ quick cash if you have that one relationship with investor lead.

    I wonder if this decentralized funding will (in 3-5 years) make relationships between investors and entrepreneurs better, worse or maybe inexistent?

  • http://www.twitter.com/stevenkane Steven Kane

    thanks for your speedy and thoughtful reply, mark!

    1. actually, i’m sure many — most? — VC funds take 2.5%/year of committed capital management fees. but, whatever. i dont have a “quibble,” i’m simply observing facts: VC management fees absorb 20-25% of a fund’s committed capital, a truly humungous “load” by any measure, and one which makes achieving meaningful returns — again, a couple hundred basis points in excess of S&P500 index, after fees — a remote likelihood. which is borne out by the actual poor returns of VC…

    2. at the risk of being a cliche-monger, if one cant stand the heat… if GPs cant afford the structure, come up with a better structure. how about partially garnishing GP salary until funding commitments are met? but again, whatever. the issue you raised is “aligning interests.” how about getting rid of GP capital commitements altogether, while lowering management fees to be an operating budget, fully disclosed, annually, to LPs? and limiting GP comp to be the same rate as early stage portfolio company CEO? and raising carried interest to say, 30%?

    i mean, imagine if some portfolio company came to a VC and pitched the VC model by saying: hi investors, sorry, we’re never submitting annual operating budgets ever again, we get to draw all capital (initial rounds and all follow on) on demand, and we are taking whatever comp we want and never disclosing that, and get 20% of the return after return of capital regardless? wouldnt be a very long meeting?

    3. “bogus”? i read your post back then and i re-read it now. its a good argument for why you think VC is a good investment going forward from then. and i buy it. but when i say VC returns are mediocre or poor, i’m simply stating facts. Math. “Structural and historic reasons”? Um, what does that mean exactly? Returns are calculated by pretty straightforward math — how much capital was returned over time, compared with how much capital was contributed over time? For the vast majority of VC funds and investors, returns have been poor, for a very long time. Remember, VCs aren’t tasked — and dont take such humungous compensation and fees — to simply make a little profit on capital. The huge fees and long illiquidity and poor visibility and transparency are tolerated because of an expectation of returns that meaningfully exceed simpler more conservative investments, like index funds. To say that VC has fared poorly by that standard is not to editorialize, its to simply do the math.

    Anyways thanks for indulging my $0.02!

  • Guest

    I am trying to look at syndication through the lens of a rationale investor using Angel investing as a portfolio diversification strategy. From this perspective the Age

  • jlemkin

    Sounds right to me. Seems to me also there’s a more subtly disruptive element in AL Syndicates though that the “carry” gets to be deal-by-deal unless I am missing something. This is very unusual in venture, I think. It creates a strong incentive to do as many Half Decent deals as possible … and create a different set of incentives for Internet Famous Syndicators … this is what every VC would probably like on some level but can’t get …

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    Very balanced viewpoint, as usual. Two points.

    1. You/Hunter/Fred and even Howard seem to be harping on one scenario where the AL Syndicate is a lead and acts like a VC would. But that is only 1 scenario. Another popular scenario will be where the AL Syndicate is just one of the Follow participants.

    2. “In virtually every deal I do I leave space for angels.” I love this part. And that makes a lot of sense for the reasons you mentioned. A nuance might be that now you could ask some of them to “fold” under an AL Syndicate, so and instead of dealing with 12 angels, you’d deal with 1 lead.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I think if you re-read my article you’ll see that the scenario you speak about is PRECISELY what I love most about AngelList syndicates as a professional investor myself.

    I spent time on the “lead vs. follow” argument to make it clear that I don’t believe AL Syndicates replaces the importance of having a strong lead.

  • http://www.gunderia.com Sunil Gunderia

    I like investing in start ups because frankly it is cool to be a part of a community that is changing the world and fueling growth. But as an investor I also like the idea of using Angel investing as a part of a portfolio diversification strategy. Although actively investing as an Angel can be very rewarding (working with entrepreneurs, “being a part of the team”, etc.) it is also time consuming (identifying investments, reviewing business models, contracts) and also involves the unpleasantry of saying no a lot more than yes.

    Further, as a small investor it is almost impossible to achieve any sort of meaningful diversification within the asset class because the lack of deal flow and the limitation in the number of investments I can personally make. I also accept that I am not as smart as professional investors who do it for a living, so in reality, Angel investing is usually a bad bet for investors like me.

    Thus, the opportunity to invest in syndicates looks like such a good deal for investors like me. Passively investing with smart, connected investors like Jason, Dave or Kevin without paying a management is a great deal. Currently, there is a lack of transparency in terms of returns these guys have achieved in the past makes choosing which one to invest with more difficult but hell these are early days and Naval/Nivi are champions of transparency above all else.

    There are some other big questions for the syndicators to sort out. Going from being a $100k or so angel investor to becoming effectively a fund manager with what I am sure will $1M+ in syndicate money for 7 – 12 investments a year is a big deal. All the syndicators have day jobs and managing 100+ investors across 10 deals does not seem like an easy task especially when there are no management fees to allow you to hire help. All solvable but interesting food for thought.

    Bottom line is I love it. Syndicates are a big disruptive idea that could bring billions of dollars of new passive capital into early stage companies is nothing short of awesome.

  • derianbaugh

    Hi Mark, Thank you for your post. You have a great way of simplifying what is a very complex process. My startup is gaining traction and I’m sure that understanding how we can leverage your insights will be helpful in our raise. Thanks for all you do!

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    Perfect. Sorry that it didn’t register in my mind as clearly.

    That is also EXACTLY how I plan my entry into AngelList. I will follow and learn first, before I will lead. But I will lean towards deals where experienced VCs are leading or involved.

  • RogerVaughn

    I think entrepreneurs win regardless, but in my mind, the money is less important than who’s involved, so Angel’s List isn’t a forgone conclusion. Cheaper money is great, but if it means giving up the attention that may help reach market significance, what’s the point?

  • stevewfindlay

    In all of the chatter surrounding Syndicates, it’s refreshing to see both you and Fred Wilson focus on more than just the initial investment process and decision.

    Angel (and VC) investing isn’t just stock-picking. It requires getting involved with the teams; and helping them execute their plans in their chosen markets. This is where the real value is delivered by the investor.

    Disclosure: that’s why we set up Invrep.co – recognising the angel and startup community is changing. And wanting to ensure both investors and entrepreneurs get the best results: through great engagement and collaboration AFTER the initial investment is made.

  • ChuksOnwuneme

    Ha! I looked for a response from you as soon as this news broke! As usual, I knew you wouldn’t disappoint. Thanks for a well thought out and ‘balanced’ view to AngelList Syndicates. Reminds me of Pirates of Silicon Valley, but then again, an industry/profession/company that does not innovate fast enough … (anyone can complete the sentence)

    <= I have been there ;)

    Cheers and Happy Sunday!

  • http://www.eben.ca ceben

    Great post and thanks for pointing to and referencing other great contributors to the discussion. As a small angel myself, I look forward to participating in bigger seed rounds with some other great investors to see what kind of positive impact this can have for founders (and subsequently, the angels of course).

    To Jason’s point, I’d like to think that the lower tier VCs would ultimately disappear due to poor performance, with or without AngelList but perhaps the power of syndicates will weed these VCs out sooner.

  • James Eliason

    Great post Mark. Honestly, the best opportunity for this is in underserved VC markets where someone can can “find” awesome startups changing/breaking/building outside of your typical VC markets. Could be wrong but if I were in a syndicate position, I’d be looking towards underserved markets to improve my street cred of investing in awesome startups no matter where they are. Break the mold.

  • http://www.flyingkiwis.biz/ Rudi Bublitz

    Diversity in investment approach is important and in my opinion this article postulates exactly that. New approaches can challenge and thus modify and update existing practice. There is no single best funding source for all deals.

  • http://hoodasaurabh.blogspot.com/ Saurabh Hooda

    Syndicate seems like a Committee to me and Committees are never good for anything. Committees are bureaucratic, slow and risk averse.
    Entrepreneurs (i feel) will prefer 1-2 angels or a VC as compared to 40 people syndicate (even if they have single front face). This will be a good trend to learn from.

  • kevrmoore

    Mark, if syndicators are not qualified or able to serve as lead investors, then how long will they get away with charging a 20% all in carry? While many of the lead syndicators in funding so far are extremely experienced, savvy investors, many are not. The age of the media celebrity VC? I hate to use the term, but a bunch of dumb money from inexperienced small retail angels is pouring in. What happens when Jason’s first 5 syndicate deals crash and burn? At least VCs were playing with big boy institutional money.

    As an active angel, I have no interest in participating in syndicates right now and paying 20% simply as a finders fee in most cases. I would prefer to find my own deals. I do fear that these mega-angels may push out many experienced value-add angels like me because the big syndicates are incented to try to lock-up all of the “hot deals” on AL.

    AL disrupted the SV old boys’ network, but they may just be rebuilding a new one. Not sure how all of this is going to play out, but there will be blood. The vast majority of syndicates are going to lose money, retail investor money, not institutional. And, where is the accountability for the syndicators? Will they provide reporting with return data on their syndicate portfolios?

    Thrilled to hear that you like to leave room for angels and seed!

  • https://www.sharegate.com/ Chris@Alexander

    Very interesting. Great info to have – I was wondering how much utility one could expect to get out of AngelList – looks like potentially quite a bit… Thanks for the perspective and insight (even with typos)!

  • http://www.justanentrepreneur.com Philip Sugar

    Here is what I’ve seen over my 25 years in the industry. All generalizations, all from the entrepreneur perspective.

    Angels are much better at funding the dream. They can get excited, don’t worry about the economics as much, and generally have less sharp elbows.

    If the dream comes true, no issues.

    If it leaves a smoking hole in the ground in general, I have seen angels more upset (the chances of finding a crazy person in 10 people is almost 100%) A VC is upset, but fine to have some sort of acqui-hire where they can at least claim a victory even though it was total loss. At least your pain is limited in duration, but I personally have passed on two deals which would have been ok for founders (not good) because there was a bat-shit crazy angel calling me.

    The middle ground: This is where you want to deal with as few people as possible, and one’s that have been successful and are decent people. This is where things can get painful for a long time. If you have a good VC that has been successful, they’ll probably back the next round, especially because they probably didn’t go crazy on valuation. This is where people that need to write another $50k check who really couldn’t afford the first $50k (remember afford and able to spend are two different things) really get twitchy and will want to burn a ton of your time, because it is a ton of their money.

    So the lesson here is that a positive: more willing to fund a dream, is a negative when that dream doesn’t happen. I know people will tell me I don’t care, its go big or go home. I’ve seen a ton of people in the middle that were not feeling that way.

    Caveats: the number of deals I’ve seen is small, but more than a handful. I am not an angel. I do invest in companies but only when I am taking a management position which doesn’t count. I have taken VC money, I have bought out my VC;’s. I have never taken angel money.

  • stefano zorzi

    Mark, how do you see the connection between syndicates and crowd funding? I would argue that the possibility to coinvest with a pro with as little as 1000 USD could unlock some serious “dumb” money into the system. Curious to know your take on this

  • Daniel Waterhouse

    thanks mark, great post

  • http://about.me/jeffreyrobinson Jeff Robinson

    Always looking for a signpost indicating a frothy or near top in a market. AngelList Syndicates reminds me of taxi drivers being real estate developers.
    This is a clear sign that dumb money abounds and some big name well funded startups are about to be announced as dead in the water.

  • http://veespo.com David Semeria

    Hi Mark, long time no speak.
    At the risk of sounding a bit wet behind the ears, the notion of lead investors earning carry on the whole round is new to me. Any chance you could explain a little? Tks.

  • http://www.illi.st/ Judd Morgenstern

    From the entrepreneur’s perspective, once you get past initial F&F or Angel rounds, I think full-time entrepreneurs deserve full-time investors. There is value to be added beyond just the capital.

    Syndicates might be substituted for less value-add VCs or cause them step up their game and offerings. Healthier for whole system.

  • Amit Murumkar

    This is the most awesome article on Angellist syndicates and I completely agree with Parham – yes the last thing an early stage start-up needs is to get the purity of his/her vision muddied by the unnecessary noise – Instead of running it like a stock exchange, I would prefer it to be a 2 way street where I have some control points for the syndicates

  • http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/ Tom Foremski

    It’s a shame that AngelList didn’t raise money the new way but announced its latest funding just a day before the change in rules. Eating your own dog food would have been very impressive.