By Ajay Yadav, CEO and founder of Roomi.
Every year, $200 million flows through AngelList. There are 50,000 accredited investors watching their feeds for the next big thing. For the select few startups who catch the eye of admins Babak Nivi and Naval Ravikant, there's even an inner sanctum of 150 Silicon Valley heavyweights waiting to hear your pitch. If you're an early-stage startup, you can't afford not to be there.
The real question is, how do you stand out from the thousands of other startups on AngelList? My team and I spent an entire year refining our profile page, and that effort has paid off. Since we first went live on AngelList, we've received thousands of job applications, hired our now-COO, and raised over $1 million in funding.
Below are three of our growth hacks you can use to jumpstart your own profile:
Make your team look professional -- not just your product.
If you visit our AngelList profile, you'll notice all of our team members has an up-to-date page complete with a smiling picture against the same gray backdrop. This isn't just for show. Thoughtful profile pages give investors a gold mine of information up front -- and, ultimately, the confidence to contact you, even if you've never been introduced before.
With this in mind, ask your team members to take a hard look at their own AngelList pages. Each one should feature:
- A bio highlighting previous contributions to growth and traction
- Relevant press articles
- At least one reference from a past employer or even a university professor
Remember that investors invest in the team as much as they do the product. Make it easy for them to trust the people you work with -- not just the business you've built.
Leave your deck off the page.
Let's say you've completed your profile, and your team members have published impressive profiles of their own. One look at your page and investors feel inspired to hit the "contact" button. This is where you can play a little hard-to-get.
Instead of linking to my deck, I've written on my startup's page, "Deck available upon request. Please don't hesitate to ask." As a result, I've found investors tend to do one of two things: In the best case scenario, they write to you requesting the deck. That's good news: You now have their contact information and a chance to keep the conversation going. Use this as an opportunity to ask them for feedback.
In the second-best-case scenario, an investor will request the deck in the comments section. While you won't have their contact information, you will have the power of social proof: The more comments you receive, the better chance you'll have of piquing other investors' interest. Turn-of-the-century showman P.T. Barnum put it best: "Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd."
Assume nothing, and test everything.
The truth is, there's no perfect formula for standing out on AngelList. The only thing you can do with certainty is test. Here are the two variables I'd start with:
- Your personal "About" section. Imagine you're an investor. Every day you scroll through so many AngelList profiles that your eyes start to glaze over. Which one would grab your attention, paragraphs or bullet points? If your bio is currently one block of copy, try highlighting key milestones with short, impactful bullets.
- Your template for messaging investors. Experiment with bullet points versus paragraphs, short messages versus long, and one industry over another. For what it's worth, after messaging with at least a thousand angel investors, I've found that a few bullets on how fast we've grown followed by a specific ask has worked well.
In the end, a good AngelList profile does more than raise capital: It allows you to connect with smart, passionate investors you never imagined meeting otherwise. They pay you to become your biggest advocate. They're the first people you turn to when you're stuck for a solution. In the darkest moments of building your business, they're the ones in your corner.
You owe it to yourself to put the effort in now. You'll thank yourself later when you're sitting on a seed round with the brightest minds in business by your side.
Ajay Yadav, CEO and founder of Roomi, sees every day as a new opportunity to "crush it" and to make positive co-living experiences easier to find.