Over the past few years I’ve made a handful of personal angel investments in founders who I think are incredible, and I am proud to be a small part of InternMatch (Andrew and Nathan), Bitnami (Erica and Daniel), LE TOTE (Rakesh and Brett) and Estimote (Jakub, Lukasz and Rafal).
I have two themes I am passionate about:
- Software Developer Productivity (Bitnami & Estimote)
- Actualizing Ourselves as “Grown Ups” (Internmatch and LE TOTE)
Both themes come from my own experiences, as a software developer / developer marketing for Twilio and as a 20-something making my way from kid to adult. I’ve been fortunate to know the founders of these companies, and how I came to invest in each one is its own story for another time. 3 of the 4 are still pre Series A, and I am looking forward to watching them grow.
There are many startups I wish I had invested in, whether they fit into these themes or not. Much respect to the folks who identified how awesome they are early and made a deal happen. Hindsight is 20/20 but many of these companies still have many funding rounds to go. As it stands, I’m a happy paying customer of several of them:
RelateIQ — Best CRM I’ve ever used, hands down. I am a paying customer and it is actually starting to replace email for me as well (see me rant about how much I love them as far back as June 2013). Our entire company uses.
Instacart — I’m healthier with fresh food, and use it several times a week. (Much love to my YC batchmates!) We use it both for personal and work.
Uber — Love the experience, my latte budget is now my Uber budget. (Met these dudes getting the service set up with Twilio, in 2009?)
Hired — These guys are just crushing it in recruiting, and we’re using them to find engineers at Mattermark. A friend found a sweet job through them.
DigitalOcean — when developers love it, it has to be good (first made this call in June 2013). Simple cloud hosting is awesome.
Product Hunt — well they don’t actually have any funding, yet. Ryan?
Magisto — mobile video editing is hard, this is awesome and magical so I pay for it.
It would be easy to just list all the fastest growing or biggest exits I’ve heard of, but that’s not really the point. Mark Suster wrote a post about the importance of falling in love with the founders as an investor — and in all these cases I’ve fallen in love with the experiences these products enable.
Thanks to these companies for being awesome and useful, and hopefully I’ll catch you next time!
Who would you put in your fantasy VC portfolio?