All press is good press, or so the saying goes, and both AngelList and LinkedIn have been making headlines this month--but only one for the right reasons.
While AngelList announced that startups raised over $160mm in capital on its platform in 2015, LinkedIn's stock plummeted and erased approximately $10bn in company value after its latest disappointing earnings report.
As the Founder and CEO of Applico, I regularly speak to startups and their leadership about everything from mobile app development to recruiting to fundraising. This month's new got us thinking about which platform mattered more to startups--LinkedIn or AngelList? While LinkedIn is still by far the larger company, the answer might surprise you.
Here are five reasons why AngelList is more important to the startup community than LinkedIn:
1. It's easier to hire and get hired on AngelList
AngelList is the world's largest marketplace for startups jobs. Here are some stats on its marketplace:
- 250K candidates, 16K companies, 548K matches.
- Active candidates and jobs doubled in the last year.
- Hiring companies include Tinder, Medium, Hinge, IFTTT, Meerkat and Yelp.
The talent wars in tech are heated and competitive. There is a constant influx of startups with shiny new rounds of financing poaching talent with higher salaries and equity packages. Startups don't always have the resources to hire full-time HR departments or recruiters to fill their missing talent gaps. AngelList does a better job catering to startups than LinkedIn, as AngelList's job marketplace lets a mutually interested startup and potential employee connect for free. There is no fee for posting an available position or for AngelList introducing the two parties.
Over 50% of LinkedIn's revenue comes from charging recruiters to connect with talent. LinkedIn is more of a directory, while AngelList is focused on job transactions- meeting people who are actually interested in working at your company, which is closer to doing a transaction than cold-calling people on Linkedin. AngelList is about transactions with directory as a side-effect.
Based on our experiences working with startup clients, recruiters aren't the best option for early-stage startups. On AngelList, the connections feel more human because both parties must opt in before an introduction happens. On LinkedIn, an introduction may not be in the best interest of both parties as the intermediaries (recruiters) are primarily interested in securing their fees.
Furthermore, AngelList's user base is more focused around startups. Not all LinkedIn users are interested in tech, which creates a lot of unnecessary noise for startups or talent looking to hire or get hired.
2. Startups can raise money on AngelList
AngelList connects startups with accredited angel investors looking for deal flow. Startups can announce they're using the platform to raise capital. At that point, interested angels can connect with the startup to receive more information and potentially fund them. In fact, AngelList lets you raise actual capital on its platform, not just meet investors.
AngelList even features certain startups that its internal team and a rotating group of VC analysts deem interesting, which can help these companies attract investors to their fundraising efforts.
Startups and investors also benefit from AngelList's syndicate functionality, which allows investors with notoriety to lead a funding round with the participation of smaller, less involved investors.
AngelList's strong network effects benefit investors and startups alike.
3. AngelList democratizes venture capital
Venture capital is a gated community because of time and money; not everyone has the access to the capital and time required to successfully partake in venture capital. AngelList syndicates increases the amount of capital available to startups by enabling syndicate leaders to pool capital from smaller investors. These smaller investors can then partake without the traditional levels of capital and time required on behalf of investors. Syndicates also derisk some of the lead investor's exposure by not requiring them to foot the entire bill.
Syndicates allow smaller backers to invest in deals they wouldn't have access to otherwise, while the syndicate lead does the due diligence on the investment for them in return for a percentage of future profits. As a result, AngelList has helped more startups get funded and opened up startup investing to many people who had never done it before. The platform is bringing in new capital and providing greater access and accountability for small investors.
4. Incubators + AngelList
A lesser-known AngelList feature is its incubator listing. Incubators typically provide early-stage startups with mentorship, guidance and resources to accelerate startups from ideation to product launch to growth and traction. Here is the full list of incubators accepting applications on AngelList.
5. LinkedIn's UX is behind the times
The majority of the tech community is on LinkedIn. As early tech adopters, many of these users grew up professionally on LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn's UX hasn't kept up with the times. What about the LinkedIn platform compels startup-focused users to continually login into besides updating their profile? LinkedIn's core interaction isn't as relevant for the startup community. Of course, talent and startup founders will take an introduction to a job or an investor on LinkedIn, but as we mentioned before, AngelList's features are more compelling for this audience. The AngelList Jobs app is as simple Tinder. Compared to the baroque UX of LinkedIn, AngelList's UX chops are more aligned with the startup audience than the public behemoth, LinkedIn.