A year ago I arrived in San Francisco from Vancouver (knowing nobody), having taken the first iOS development job in SF that I came across on Hacker News.
8 months later I left that company to found a startup called Shyp. As of last week, Shyp has raised $2.1 million from an amazing group of investors.
So how did this happen, given that 12 months ago I arrived in California with zero connections?
One word — AngelList.
It all began when I was watching Techcrunch Disrupt online and saw a pitch by a company in the shipping space. Naval Ravikant (co-founder of AngelList) was on the judging panel and, while giving his feedback, he basically recommended that the company should do exactly what we were already doing at Shyp. This was my chance. I emailed Naval a few minutes later and pointed him to our landing page. He loved it and asked to meet.
The opportunity to meet Naval at the AngelList office was amazing. He genuinely wants to help out startups as much as he can. He loved what Joshua (my co-founder) and I were doing at Shyp, gave us some homework and said there was a good chance we would get featured on AngelList. At this point, we still had jobs, but this news sent us over the edge. We were in no financial position to quit, but we knew we were on to something big. So, the next week Joshua and I took the plunge. Looking back at this now, we were fucking crazy. We had no savings, lots of debt, and only a small chance Naval would feature us on AngelList.
Just a few weeks later, it happened — we were featured. Talk about a rush. We had amazing investors — ones that we had only read about in the past — reaching out to us. My inbox was instantly full, and over the next couple weeks we met with the most amazing people. Hunter Walk and Satya Patel from Homebrew were among the first people to reach out after we were featured, and Homebrew eventually became one of our lead investors. Side note: Hunter and Satya are amazing. They saw the potential in our vision for Shyp and took a chance on us before anyone else.
AngelList is not only about fundraising — it is a recruiting beast! Jack Smith reached out to us after we were featured to see if he could help out in any way. Joshua and I later convinced him to join as a late co-founder. Our first employee Andrew Wyatt, who is a fucking rockstar, also reached out via AngelList.
One of the most exciting moments in our fundraising process happened when Naval called me one day and mentioned Tim Ferriss had asked about us. A few weeks prior I applied to Tim Ferriss’s Spearhead capital proposition. I’d been a huge fan of Tim for a while, and the chance to work with him in any capacity was mind blowing. Naval gave us a glowing recommendation, meetings with Tim ensued, and eventually Shyp was chosen out of hundreds of applicants. After a few weeks of working with Tim and Naval, Shyp was able to raise $250k in 53 min via one blog post.
Last week we announced our seed round of $2.1 million from an amazing list of investors;
Tim Ferriss (three-time New York Times Best-Selling Author)
Brian & Beth McClendon (Brian is the Founder of Google Earth)
David Marcus (President of PayPal)
Homebrew (Hunter Walk & Satya Patel)
Sherpa Ventures (Shervin Pishevar & Scott Stanford)
XG Ventures (Andrea Zurek & Pietro Dova)
Osama Bedier (Former Google & Paypal VP)
Naval Ravikant (CEO/co-founder of AngelList)
Antonio J. Gracias (Board Member at Tesla & SolarCity)
Dan Rose (VP @ Facebook, exec at Amazon for 7 years)
Joshua Schachter (Founder of Delicious, Tasty Labs)
Scott Belsky (Founder and CEO of Behance)
Jason Johnson (Founder of August)
Daymond John (Shark on ABC’s The Shark Tank)
Shri Ganeshram (Founder of FlightCar)
Aaron Batalion (Co-founder LivingSocial)
Each of our investors, a co-founder, Tim Ferriss, and our first employee came from AngelList.
Thank you AngelList.