Why I’m bringing back the Open Angel Forum


[ tl;dr: I’m bringing back my angel dinner, the same one Uber & Thumbtack pitched their seed rounds at, at my house on December 2nd, because startups really need help getting past their seed rounds. ]

Back in 2009, I started a dinner party called Open Angel Forum. The goal was to kill the Keiretsu Forum, which charged founders thousands of dollars to (supposedly) pitch angel investors.

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Using the term “supposedly” because many founders told me the only follow-up they got from these payola groups was from service providers who attend them pretending to be angels.

Open Angel Forum alumni include: Uber, Thumbtack, Backupify, Contently, Food52, Signpost, StyleSeat, and countless others. They all raised part of their first round of funding at this wonderful event.

Then AngelList came around and there were many more angels than startups. There was no reason to host Open Angel Forum, at least not in New York, LA, or San Francisco. (They kept doing it in Boulder, actually).

Now I see a need for the Open Angel Forum again, but not because there are predatory scumbags trying to trick unsuspecting founders into paying for access to angels.

The problem today is that there are some great angel-funded startups that are stuck between the angel-funded world and the VC world.

There needs to be a place for angels to collaborate around these startups, the ones that are almost profitable and that have great prospects, but that don’t have the ability to break through the noise of the Series A logjam (aka the “Series A Crunch”).

There are simply not enough venture capitalists to join the boards of the startups that deserve an A-Round.

Format will be similar to old OAFs:

7 PM: 10 angels come to my house for dinner
7:30 PM: Three angel-funded startups that are the most worthy of an A-Round will present for 10 minutes each — with complete transparency of what they need to hit breakeven, scale, their challenges, etc.
8:30 PM: Everyone networks, perhaps we play some poker

To get one of the 10 seats, you have to be an active angel (maybe five investments and/or $250,000 invested in the past year).

In other words, you have to be a serious angel investor.

The goal of the angel dinner will be to collectively lead an A-Round for one, two, or all three of these startups (you never know). So, if a modest A-Round is $2m, and the 10 angels decide to lead that round, it would require ~$100-250k from the majority of members (i.e., 8 of 10 put in $150k each=$1.2m, enough to lead the round, find a couple more investors).

Obviously startups pay nothing.

If you’re an angel want to come, fill out this form and we will get right back to you.

If you’re a startup with a product in market, some level of traction and you are actively raising capital, you can apply here.

We’ll see if this crazy plan works … I’ve got a good feeling about it.

best @jason

PS – Launch Festival 2016 is coming up and founders come for free. Apply here.

PPS – if you’re an investor we recommend the Super VIP experience.