Given the cult of disruption in Silicon Valley, it’s not a surprise that from time to time people try to disrupt the very business of Silicon Valley itself.
There are algorithms to predict a startups success, new ways of sourcing deals, new ways of investing in companies, and other hacks on the very nature of what’s inherently a pretty old-fashioned business, where deals are done on a conference room handshake, and new partners are minted through multi-year apprenticeships.
In recent times, three people have disrupted the venture world the most: Paul Graham, Yuri Milner, and our guest for our final PandoMonthly event of the year on November 15, Naval Ravikant.
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Each of these guys — in his own way– got a foothold by doing something that wasn’t being done well by the existing players, and each knocked major forces back on their heels. Each was mocked initially or written off as somehow not substantial. But ultimately, each has forced even the biggest VCs to change their playbook in some way. (We hope to get the other two as guests in the future.)
Ravikant is particularly interesting, because he is the only one of the three who disrupted the venture business with a product.
He’s the co-founder of AngelList, something that started out as almost a social network for startups and investors, where people could fill out profiles of what they were working on and investors could seek to “Friend” them. Today, it has become a source for billions of dollars in angel deals, must-have recruiting tool for entrepreneurs, and a place to quickly, easily, and electronically handle funding documents.
Ravikant is bit by bit tackling everything that entrepreneurs hate about the financial part of building a company and bringing it online, making it efficient, and removing all the mystery around it. As a result, he has changed the nature of deal flow, recruiting and the legal business in the world’s most powerful startup ecosystems.
And he helped make crowd funding legal through his work getting the JOBS Act passed. As Ben Horowitz said in our PandoMonthly in June, “He went to Washington and he changed the law! That blew me away.”
And Ravikant is just getting started. He has a long, ten-year plan for AngelList that he’s notoriously mum about. Until next Thursday, we hope.
It’s not a surprise that something this disruptive has its fair share of detractors. AngelList is still controversial in many pockets of Silicon Valley. People argue only the companies that can’t raise money, raise it on AngelList, or that listing on there makes a company look desperate. Others say that it merely disrupts the wild world of seed investing, but the venture business stays the same. But no one thinks it’s going away.
When I talk to entrepreneurs — particularly those outside the Valley — I get more questions on how they should deal with AngelList than probably any other topic.
We’ll talk about all of this on stage with Ravikant and learn more about his journey that brought him here.
This is our final PandoMonthly in San Francisco this year, so please grab a ticket for $20 and help us close out an amazing year of events with a big, huge crowd!
Also, we’d like to extend a big thank you to our sponsors for this event, Accel Partners.
[Image Credit: kk+ on Flickr]