AngelList Introduces Roll Up Vehicles
Plus $390M Raised by Boston Tech Last Week
One Link for All Your Angel Checks
A hint at AngelList’s long-term strategy can be seen on the new navigation bar of their website. In addition to For Investors and For Fund Managers, they’ve carved out a new section: For Founders.
In the past, I’ve written about the launch of their manager-focused Rolling Fund product and more recently about their first founder-focused product, Recurring Transfers. Last week, they tacked on a new founder-focused value add: Roll Up Vehicles. It’s a way for founders to streamline the process of receiving angel investments by rolling up every check into a single line on the cap table. Founders just apply to use a Roll Up Vehicle, spin up a deal page, and a shareable link is created that can be given to any investor. Investors can wire funds directly through that link and the rest is basically taken care of.
AngelList will handle all the backend work including KYC compliance, tax documents, and distributions management — all for a one-time fee of $8K. It’s similar to a traditional SPV, except it removes the need for the founder to be the GP of the vehicle. AngelList takes on all the backend managerial duties. The one-time fee can be covered by the company or the investors, and investors can easily proxy voting rights to founders through the vehicle.
So, is the $8K fee worth it? I’m no expert, but they claim it can save founders a significant amount of time and money over the course of their company’s life compared to taking on direct investments individually. You can estimate whether these savings would be significant to you with a nifty calculator that they released alongside the product launch:
If you have an SPV that’s $1M+ in size spread across dozens of investors, that $8K might be completely worth removing headaches for the lifetime of the entity. I imagine cap table management isn’t one of the roadblocks that founders envision when they set off to start a company, but that it can quickly become so after taking on a handful of angels.
What if simplifying the investment process, and post-investment shareholder management, of small check investors becomes completely painless? Do founders ever worry that each incremental check adds X minutes of cap table management headaches? Could Roll Up Vehicles make it exponentially less annoying to deal with dozens of small check investors, therefore making them more commonplace? Let me know if you have any thoughts here!
Stuff I’m Reading
Boston Tech Financing Rounds:
After a whopping $750M Series C that I covered just six weeks ago, eCommerce acquisition giant Thrasio has announced a $100M extension opened up for “previous backers that didn’t get the allocation they hoped for” in the last round.
If you’re unfamiliar, their category-defining business model is to find and acquire high-growth DTC products sold exclusively on the Amazon Marketplace. By consolidating operations and rolling up hundreds of brands into one entity, they can create a highly efficient eCommerce giant. They’re doing so at an astronomical rate, claiming $1.5M in incremental was being added each day earlier this year.
Some quick stats:
Not disclosing a valuation, but claims it’s a 50% increase from last month’s, and a previous debt round valued them at $3B.
They’ve acquired over 100 brands now.
Last year they did $500M in revenue on ~20% profit margins.
$1.8B now raised in total
More from me on FBA Acquirers:
Data protection and backup company HYCU just announced a large $87.5M Series A from Bain Capital Ventures. The three-year-old company focuses on multi-cloud backup and Recovery-as a-Service for businesses. It’s founded and run by Simon Taylor, who previously spent 10 years at Comtrade Group.
Tomorrow.io (previously known as ClimaCell) just raised $77M in Series D funding alongside the rebrand, led by Stone Court Capital with participation from Highline Capital. The company helps businesses get more actionable insights about the weather and how it will impact their daily operations. It can generate customizable HD weather maps with its weather API and produce historical weather data for AI models. It also has a consumer-facing app called Weather Assistant.
In February, they announced their plans to launch dozens of radar satellites to further improve their forecasting technology.
Expert freelancer platform and marketplace Catalant Technologies just raised $35M from Morningside Group. More than 30% of Fortune 100 companies use Catalant for its software and Expert Marketplace to access 70k+ domain experts and vetted consulting firms. Previous investors include General Catalyst, Highland Capital, GE Ventures, and Mark Cuban.
A new filing shows that nine-year-old vertical farming company CropOne just raised $28.9M in a $42.2M round. They focus on developing modular vertical farming solutions that require a hundredth of the water used by traditional farming methods. They also sell under the brand FreshBox Farms, which is available at retail locations across Massachusetts.
Somerville-based long-duration energy storage company Form Energy just raised $24M in incremental equity in a $76M round. The four-year-old company is building hardware and software products that enable long-duration solar/wind energy storage and optimization. They’re previously backed by Eni Next, The Engine, Prelude Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and others. The company is led by Mateo Jaramillo, ex-VP of Product on Tesla’s energy team.
Somerville-based WaveSense just raised a $15M round from Rhapsody Venture Partners and Impossible Ventures for its autonomous driving radar technology. Their ultra-wide band radar sends pulses of electromagnetic radiation into the ground and measures how the waves “bounce back” to paint a picture of the subsurface environment. They can then combine this with other sensor data to generate centimeter-level accuracy of what’s happening on the road.
Immersion cooling company LiquidStack just raised a $10M Series A from cloud IT infrastructure provider Wiwynn. They recently spun out of cryptocurrency mining company Bitfury. They’re focusing on developing two-phase immersion cooling for high performance computing applications. Phase 1 refers to heat generated from submerged chips turning into vapor and phase 2 is the vapor condensing onto a specialized coil — all entirely passive with no moving parts required.
Following a $1.4M seed round in September, blockchain infrastructure company Purestake just announced a $6M funding round led by Coinfund with participation from Binance Labs, ParaFi, Coinbase Ventures, and previous seed investors. They’re focusing on building developer tools on top of the Algorand and Polkadot blockchain networks. They’re also building Moonbeam, a smart contract platform for building interoperable decentralized applications.
Kintent, which helps vendors automatically become compliant with new customers, just raised a $4M seed round from Tola Capital and several angels. The two-year-old company helps vendors get recommendations on how to become compliant with a new customer’s systems without filling out long questionnaires. YC’s summer 2020 batch had a similar sounding company called SafeBase that focuses on vendor security assessments.
School bus fleet management company BusRight has announced a $2.5M seed round co-led by Underscore VC and Cyan Bannister’s new seed fund, Long Journey Ventures. They’re modernizing school busses, one of the US’s largest mass transit systems, by providing route planning and optimization, digital navigation, and a portal where parents can view their child’s route.
SciAps, a nine-year-old company that builds tools for identifying compounds, raised $1.5M out of a $5.4M round. The company develops handheld devices that help workers in agriculture, chemistry, mining, law enforcement, and more quickly identify the elemental concentration of any material. They use tech including Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) devices, X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) devices, and Raman Analyzers. Previous investors include CEI Ventures, Rand Capital, Enhanced Capital Partners, Eastward Capital Partners, and others.