AngelList is a U.S. website for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups. Created in 2010, the platform has a mission to democratize the investment process and to help startups with their challenges in fundraising and talent. It started as an online introduction board for tech startups that needed seed funding. Since 2015, the site allows startups to raise money from angel investors free of charge.
AngelList was founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi. Using the traction from the Venture Hack blog on entrepreneur financing, Naval and Babak started a list of 25 investors with whom they would share interesting companies to invest in. They announced the list as “AngelList” in 2010, with the subscription of 50 angel investors who intended to invest USD $80 million that year.
AngelList aims to democratize the investment process. Business Insider dubbed AngelList the “Match.com for investors and startups”. In a recent interview, Naval Ravikant wants more “innovation on [the] infrastructure for innovation itself” by helping startups with money, talent, and customers.
AngelList's Syndicate facilitates startup financing with accredited investors. AngelList Jobs connect talents with startups, with over 35,000 recruiting companies, more than 2,000,000 candidates and 5 million registered users. AngelList's acquisition of Product Hunt will allow more support for startups with customer generation and product launch. AngelList Syndicates allow startups to raise money from accredited investors investing alongside prominent angel investors.
In late 2012, AngelList launched a portal for accelerators and incubators to accept and manage applications from startups to their programs. At opening, AngelList accepted applications for 500 Startups, TechStars Boston, and AngelPad. Other accelerators, like Rock Health, accept applications exclusively through AngelList.
In 2013, AngelList received a no-action letter from the SEC, allowing the operations of its Syndicates platform. FundersClub also received such a letter in the same period. AngelList Syndicates was noted as one of the most important innovations in the venture capital and angel investment industries, getting momentum with several well-known figures in the tech community creating syndicates, including Jason Calacanis, Scott Banister, Tim Ferriss, Gil Penchina, Scott and Cyan Banister, Fabrice Grinda, Elad Gil and more. In 2017, AngelList had 4,400 investors operating across 165 syndicates.
In March 2014, AngelList launched Maiden Lane, a first online venture fund for investing in syndicated deals. It was launched with more than $25 million in funding from a variety of investors.
In October 2015, AngelList announced a deal with a Chinese third-largest private equity firm CSC (China Science & Merchants Investment Management Group) for establishing a new $400 million fund for early-stage startup investments. According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal became the “largest single pool of funds devoted to early-stage startups — ever,” and also the “largest-ever single investment by a Chinese private-equity firm in a U.S. fund.”
In 2020, AngelList launched rolling funds, an investment vehicle that raises money through a quarterly subscription from interested investors. In the same year, AngelList India's CEO, Utsav Somani, launched a $5 million micro-fund, iSeed SEA, to invest in startups located in Southeast Asia.
In mid-2012, Naval Ravikant and Kevin Laws, AngelList's chief operating officer, were active in Washington in his support for the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), a law that eased many of the United States' securities regulations with the aim of making it easier for companies to either go public or to remain private longer while continuing to raise capital. He was in discussion with “Senate and Congressional staffers, Steve Case, and influential Congressmen who would listen.” During the same period, he organized an online petition that attracted 5,000 signatures on a letter to Senate leaders in support of the Act. Later in 2013, Naval Ravikant wrote a letter to the SEC to object changes in the JOBS Act that he believed "could create disastrous unintended consequences for the startup community."