Seed Funding: What Startups Would You Invest In?
Mashable’s new video series, Behind the Launch, follows Vungle on its startup journey toward a launch later this month. Each week on Mashable, the Vungle team offers our readers some tips and lessons learned from their own startup experience. This week, we saw Vungle’s founders Jack and Zain put their necks on the line to discuss the prospect of launching a million-dollar fund to connect with mobile app publishers. Below, Jack Smith discusses developments this week that affect startups’ ability to raise funding and where he sees startup funding coming from in the future. Watch the episode above, and be sure to tune in to Behind the Launch every Monday and Wednesday.
Some people are suggesting that the current funding climate for startups is similar to behavior at the time of the dot-com bubble — many startups are receiving a lot of funding. Notable recent seed funding rounds include Ark and Pair, which raised seed rounds of funding in excess of $4 million without giving up a board seat to investors — something never seen before.
This week saw some interesting developments in the current seed funding climate. First, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham warned companies about future seed rounds, warning startups to “lower your expectations for fundraising.”
At the same time, positive news came for early stage startups when angel investor Aydin Senkut raised a follow-on fund, and micro-VC True Ventures raised a third fund to invest in early-stage startups. Paul is extremely well respected in Silicon Valley, and what I would take from his advice is that now could actually be the perfect time for a lot of smaller individuals to consider investing in startups, especially if his prediction of dropping valuations comes to fruition.
I’m personally really passionate about inspiring entrepreneurship, and I know that this is a key motivation for a lot of startup founders. This week, my business partner and I discussed launching a micro-fund to attract app developers to our business, but I envision a lot of startup founders and individuals launching their own funds to invest in the next wave of up-and-coming startups.
Tools like AngelList make investing in seed deals accessible to absolutely anybody, and the platform quickly shows what startups are hot at any given time. In the future, if we manage to make Vungle a success, I would have aspirations to launch my own small investment fund — there are so many deals out there that I wish I could be involved in as an angel investor.
If I were to have a “fantasy portfolio” of seed deals today, then the top five startups that I’d invest in would be Dro.pt; Startup Genome; Embark; CodeNow and True Co. Nearly all of these companies worthy of prospective investments and are accessible on AngelList. The common attributes of all these companies — and what makes them appealing as an investment — is that they have amazing founders, huge visions and are in markets ripe for disruption.
If you were to start an investment fund right now, what would your dream seed portfolio look like? Tell us in the comments.