You'd Like to Be an Angel Investor? Here's How You Can Invest In My Deals…

150 Comments

tim_ferriss_smile_-_Google_Search

Most deals get done in informal settings. Now, I’m inviting you to join me. (Photo: Russell Yip)

 

Please note that my syndicate investing in Shyp has now closed. You can still back me on AngelList to gain priority access to future deals. More updates will be posted here later in the round.

 

On September 23, 2013 (that’s today), the world of startup financing changes forever. It’s a truly historic moment.

Previously, I couldn’t publicly share deals with you. Now, thanks to an unprecedented legal change, I can offer a portion of my start-up investments to any of you who qualify as “accredited investors.”

  • Previously, you had to be part of a small club to see such deals. Not any more.
  • Previously, you might even need to be in Silicon Valley, drinking wine and having coffees around the clock, to see good deals before they filled up. No longer.

Starting today, I’ll share some of my favorite deals with you, beginning with a start-up called Shyp.

Notable companies I’ve advised include Uber (pre-Series-A), Evernote, Automattic (WordPress.com), Shopify, and TaskRabbit, among others. Early investments include Twitter, Facebook, Reputation.com, etc.

In this case, I used a “Spearhead Capital” blog post to my ~1.4M monthly blog readers to find promising startups. Nearly 400 companies applied, many of which are producing millions in revenue. Out of all of them, and with the help of Naval Ravikant (CEO/co-founder of AngelList) to interview finalists, I chose Shyp.

Shyp is the fastest and easiest way to ship packages. More on that shortly.

Investing alongside me–and potentially you–in this round are:

  • David Marcus (President of PayPal)
  • Brian McClendon (Founder of Google Earth)
  • Daymond John (Founder of FUBU, Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank”)
  • Joshua Schachter (Founder of Delicious, Tasty Labs)
  • Aaron Batalion (Co-founder of LivingSocial)
  • Homebrew (Hunter Walk and Satya Patel)
  • Naval Ravikant (CEO/co-founder of AngelList)
  • Scott Belsky (Founder and CEO of Behance)
  • Sherpa Ventures (Scott Stanford & Shervin Pishevar)
  • Antonio J. Gracias (Board Member at Tesla and SolarCity)
  • XG Ventures (Andrea Zurek and Pietro Dova)
  • Osama Bedier (Former head of Google Wallet)

…and more

So, how can you join us?

Before I tell you, remember:

  1.  Startups are speculative, and this is gambling. You shouldn’t invest anything you’re not comfortable kissing goodbye. Treat it as casino money.
  2.  If you are going to invest in startups despite this high risk, plan on building a portfolio of dozens, very slowly and carefully. This should be just one of many. Read more on approach here.

The Short Version

If you’d like to invest in Shyp, simply click here.  A description of the company is in “The Longer Version” below.

You’ll need to set up an AngelList profile (free), and the minimum investment is $2,500. We’re only able to accept $250,000 from everyone.

For more on the team and concept of Shyp, click here.

If you miss this one, not to worry–you can automatically join my deals in the future, which puts you first in line next time.

Can’t invest right now? No worries. If relevant, I’d love for your to consider any of the below actions. Shyp and I would really appreciate it!

– Apply to be a Shyp Hero (Heroes are Shyp’s drivers). Click here.

– Apply for a job on Shyp’s core team. Click here.

– Interview the co-founders of Shyp: Kevin, Josh, and Jack. They’re clever gents. Just email: founders at shyp dot com.

Tell Shyp which city you live in so they can launch there before others!

The Longer Version

I’m putting my name and network behind Shyp and personally investing $25,000. I’ll also be providing oversight and advising the company on product/conversion optimization, national launch strategy, etc.

I’m using a new AngelList feature called “Syndicates” to share my $250,000 allocation of Shyp.

Unlike venture capitalists (VCs), I am charging zero management fees. If you don’t win, I don’t make a dime. If you invest alongside me, the only expense is a 20% “carry” (roughly 20% of the profits) if there’s a good outcome.

DESCRIPTION OF SHYP

Shyp is the fastest and easiest way to ship packages.

Through the Shyp iPhone app, you take a photo of what you want to send, specifying destination and pick-up time. You’re done.

A “Shyp Hero” (driver) arrives at your home or office at the specified time, takes your unpackaged item away to be packaged, then sends it on its way via the optimal carrier (i.e., Fedex, UPS, etc.). Shyp automatically optimizes for speed and cost, and Shyp charges no more than Post Office prices, plus a $5 pickup fee for sending solo items. If you send more than one item, the company waives the $5 pickup fee.

More on how this works below the video.

I have confidence in the team, and here’s why I love the model:

- Recurring revenue. It has a frequent use case, just like Uber and Evernote (again, both of which I’ve advised). Millions of people can use Shyp on a weekly or daily basis.

- It’s simple and solves a real problem. Do you enjoy going to the post office or UPS store? Scheduling pickups that require you to be available for 3-6 hours? Of course not. Shyp makes fixing all that as easy as snapping a picture. And they package everything for you. No more wasted afternoons.

- It has unusually high margins. Shyp matches USPS retail prices, but by taking a volume discount from carriers and utilizing regional couriers (that end-users cannot), Shyp can maintain high profit margins. Using OnTrac, as one example, is 75% cheaper than USPS.

- It’s tackling the “first mile” problem, not the “last mile” problem. Lots of companies are focused on same-day delivery from retailers to consumers: the last mile. It’s a crowded battlefield of a market. But what about the burden of packaging up shipments from homes and offices? This “first mile” problem is enormous, and the market is neglected. Shyp aims to own it.

How to Get In First

Would you like first access to my future deals, right alongside my close friends?

To see things before I post them on the blog, you can automatically back me on AngelList, as Naval (CEO of AngelList) and others are doing. Click here for more details. This will ensure you don’t miss anything.

###

DISCLAIMERS — DON’T SKIP:
Startups make big plans a lot, and most don’t follow them. Shyp might run out of money; customers might not like using a third party to ship things; UPS, Fedex, or some upstart could start competing; or the team could simply fall apart tomorrow. Any statements about their future plans, margins, etc., are pure speculation on my part. That’s why startup investing is very risky, so again: don’t invest anything you aren’t prepared to write off 100%. Last but not least, I’m not necessarily planning on sending frequent updates or notices of Shyp’s change in plans (if any), as startups change on a weekly or daily basis.

Posted on: September 23, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

150 comments on “You'd Like to Be an Angel Investor? Here's How You Can Invest In My Deals…

  1. Wow this reminds me much of what Alexis spoke about in his previous posts… find something w/ a poor user experience and fix it!

    Thanks Tim for sharing this, it is almost like i have a my very own investor consultant :)

    I am going to share this like crazy

    Brent

    Like

  2. Very cool. Wish I had the money to be accredited + invest.

    This has been a personal pain point for me, and I hardly ever ship anything. Handling ANY shipment usually takes at least 30 minutes of my time, and it is NOT rewarding.

    Since I value my time, this is a no brainer. I also often an shipping on behalf of someone, and could expense the fees to them. Great, great idea. If they can solve the two-sided market problem, they will be huge. We ship more and more things every day.

    Like

  3. Hi Tim,

    Thank you for this opportunity, I was just looking into Angel investing but found out that I lack the capital required for most investments.

    Does your offer apply to international backers? I’m based in Europe.

    Like

  4. Tim-

    Great concise post. I was aware of the changing legislation essentially allowing startups to advertise their fundraising rounds, but I think what Angellist is doing with this newfound flexibility is great!

    But I’ve always believed (and am working on a detailed blog post about this as we speak) that the “accredited investor” rule (along with various legislation that incentivize private companies in their growth phases to remain private for longer, etc) is a MAJOR reason why upward mobility in America is increasingly more difficult, and the wealth gap is growing .

    Now that — thanks for Angellist and the new legislation — it’s much easier for accredited investors to allocate and invest their capital as they see fit, do you think it’s time to lift the accredited investor rule all-together? Obviously this would significantly increase the potential fundraising rounds for startups, but also make a significant (and positive) improvement in upward mobility and the overall economy.

    Steve

    Like

    • Hi Steve,

      There is a great debate about this. I think the SEC’s concern is having people invest too high a % of their total nest egg in speculative investments likely to fail (like start-ups).

      Curious to see how things shake out.

      Tim

      Like

      • ** Celebrity shock from your response!! **

        …ok, I’m good.

        Tim–

        Do you know of any big players in this debate? Would love to follow them on twitter to keep my finger on the pulse of the debate, and even maybe reach out to them to discuss details and/or interview them.

        And I too am curious on how this will play out, but would much rather be involved in the dialog of crafting the solution than sitting on the sidelines **hoping** that Washington will get it right– I honestly think this is too important of an issue to sit idle on.

        -Steve

        Like

  5. Tim – great idea, as usual.

    By the way, I re-read “My Story and Why You Need This Book” for the “nth” time last night (4HWW) and I still can’t keep from laughing out loud at your hilarious escapades. It is truly remarkable how far you’ve come, and how generous you have remained with your readers.

    Cheers,

    Norm

    Like

  6. Shyp is a great idea but i don’t think I’ll be viable until a large entity embrace it in a city. Ex: the municipal govermnent only do business with Shyp, a major enterprise, say Bombardier decides to use it and tell all employee to use it. Then it would spread. But otherwise, i ship packages 2x per year so it will never come to my mind to call shyp for something i rarely do. But it would be good for small businesses… and it still come down to how do you make them call you all the time?

    Like

  7. just funded.
    question – if I sign up for automated backing, is that what it says it is, ie I am committing $2500 every time you make an investment? or – is it guarantee that I *can* back but get approval before I have made the commitment?

    thanks!

    Like

  8. Excellent concept, solves a real problem- extension of intelligent logistics to the only part of the shipping process that still sucks. Could be great for returns. I’m in!

    Like

  9. Tim, I’d like to know how often you anticipate syndicating before I commit to backing your syndicates. Are you going to do a deal a week, one a month, or one everyone few months? Thanks for any info you can provide.

    Like

  10. Gak, I don’t fulfill the needs to be accredited, so close though. I’d love to invest with you :(

    I even dropped my lunch and ran home from campus to jump on my computer. I guess I will have to wait.

    Like

  11. Terrific, I’m in! Tim, I’m the guy who bought your manuscript of 4 Hour Work Week for charity back in the day — it would be an honor and a delight to invest alongside you now.

    Like

  12. In order to invest as a syndicate it states; “You must be accredited to invest.” How does an individual invest if they are not accredited???

    Like