If I Ran It: Angel Investing (Part 2)
Oct 5th, 2014
Updating my list of companies that I find interesting and would invest in with my imaginary angel fund.
This is a continuation from the first post.
How is the portfolio doing?
Namo Media - Bought by Twitter for 50M
Tailwind - One of 7 companies using Pinterest's Business Insights API.
Beacon Reader - Joined Y-Combinator. Partnered with Huffington Post
Keen.io - Raised a $11.3mm Series A round of from Sequoia Capital
Lob - Raised a $7mm Series A
App.io - Launched App.io Ads
Pijon Box - Joined 500 Startups
1 Second Everyday - Featured in movie Chef
Topics I Find Interesting
- Future Of Work: Apps that enable a new class of workers to make a living as bootstrapped entrepeneurs
- Developer Tools: Supporting the work of developers. Making their lives easier and increasing their capacity.
- Mobile Commerce: Making it easier to make big purchases on mobile (if anyone is interested in last minute travel, hit me up!)
Here are some other interesting companies that I would put in my portfolio
Moo.do - Simple to-do app from my college friend Jay. Jay formerly worked on Surface at Microsoft and is a super smart dev. Moo.do is a simple organizaitonal tool and has many little tools to make it the souped-up textedit that I need. They have thought things through and made an elegant solution. Evernote or Google should buy this.
Barricade.io - Intrustion detection as a service. Security is in an important part of building great web applications and tools like Barricade can be impactful for developers. David Coallier previously sold Orchestra.io to Engine Yard and has a solid understanding of how to build tools that devs will enjoy using.
Readme.io - Developer hubs made simple. Beautiful product. Strong vision. Shipping often. This is a pain lots of developers have felt and Readme is the best solution out there (I've checked out all of them). Last time I saw a product so loved by developers was Stripe.
Spokenlayer - Audio playback for written media. Spokenlayer makes it easy for publishers to take their written content and turn it into high quality audio. Will has been grinding for years and its great to see how the company has evolved. One to root for.
DNS Designs - Creators of the MagZip, a zipper that you can use with one hand. UnderArmour is now shipping items with their zipper. Love their story and hope they continue to sign more deals. Get these folks on Shark Tank!
Bowery.io: Easy Developer Environment Setup. Smart team of devs solving a frustration I've experienced firsthand: issues configuring development environments. Bowery can make onboarding new team members easier and also easy the process of continued group collaboration on projects. One to watch
Envoy Elegant Front Desk Management. Started by Larry Gadea (an original StartupThreads subscriber!), Envoy is a well designed ipad app for greeting visitors at a front desk with a SaaS model. As they add more enterprise friendly tools, I can see them growing a great deal.
Runscope Automated testing for APIs. As APIs become increasingly important for the future of technology, developers and companies will need more tools to ensure their reliability. This is a tool I've worked with that I like. Great team who has experience in the developer community.
Trustev - Fraud Detection for Ecommerce. Having had the unfortunate experience of dealing with fraudsters on multiple occasions, Trustev is a solution that every ecommerce site (or the platforms they are built on) should invest in.
Hired - Hiring for top candidates. Have been sending candidates to Hired through my StartupJob.me. Its a great service that is in the best interests of the candidate, helping them not only get great offers, but manage and respond to them. It also works well for the best candidates (the ones that already have jobs). Lots of room for growth.
Everlane - Quality Online-Only Apparel. This one has been around for a while but I love their brand and products. Started by my college TA, Everlane really has built a loyal fanbase that enjoys not only their products, but their brand and story. We even have customers at StartupThreads asking for Everlane shirts, even though they arent sold wholesale. Excited for the future for Everlane.
Major League Hacking - College hackathon league. Inspiring college students to build hacks and improve their skills. Genuine founders who have worked the developer evangelism scene with two of the best companies at it. I hope they expand to high school and work on the education aspect of getting young people excited about programming.
Vue Mobile Analytics. Vue makes it easy for app developers to quickly get analytics on what their users are doing by dropping in one line of code. Scrappy founder and well built product.
Stripe - API for payments. Yes, I would do this one again. This is one company that just keeps making the right moves. Its one of the few places I would have considered working for (I could definitely contribute to their developer evangelism efforts). Everything from engineering, to design, to partnerships, they are executing on every level and will continue to.
StartupThreads - API for printing and shipping apparel. Having the most information about where this one is heading, I'm the most excited I have been to release some new tools for companies. Stay tuned.
What companies are you excited about?