Anyone who’s ever closed a complex business deal in the last decade has likely experienced the nightmare that are “Virtual Data Rooms.” These legacy Web 1.0 platforms are used to securely organize and share transactional and due diligence documents in the cases of events such as financings, asset sales, and mergers and acquisitions. Unfortunately, VDRs have not kept pace with technology over the last decade and the experience tends to be cumbersome at best. That said, the alternative is a combination of manual spreadsheet management and constant emailing of confidential documents.
It’s no surprise, then, that when Los Angeles startup CapLinked offered a modern secure workspace alternative, it’s taken off like syphilis on a pirate ship. Today the company is announcing $1.6 million in Series A financing and the addition of former Industrial Logic programming instructor Adam Sroka as its new SVP Technology.
Investors in the round consisted Founders Fund angel investment group FF Angel, Siemer Ventures, 500 Startups, Peter Thiel, former Bertelsmann executive Andrej Henkler, and Althea Foundation Chairman Alexsis de Raadt-St. James. (Disclosure, Thiel is a PandoDaily investor.) The round brings CapLinked’s total funding to $2.5 million, including previous investments from Thiel, 500 Startups, Yammer CEO David Sacks, Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, 7th Rig, and TheGlobe.com and Slated founder Stephan Paternot.
“FinTech has traditionally lagged behind the innovation that’s happening in other areas of enterprise software,” says co-founder and CEO Eric Jackson. “For years now, companies have been forced to choose between cumbersome, expensive Virtual Data Rooms and decentralized, unsecure email to manage their complex transactions.”
CapLinked offers a number of features that set it apart in its space. Namely, investors can use the site to build profiles and track dealflow, as well as manage transactions when they occur. While it sounds a bit like AngelList, the two platforms are partners – if unnatural ones – not competitors. CapLinked built an integration to allow companies to link their deal management “rooms” to their AngelList profiles.
When transactions are consummated, everyone involved including advisors, lawyers, and board members can be invited to view a private secure “deal room” where relevant information is available. Users get real-time notifications when prospective investors view their deal rooms, and all activity on the site is tracked for securities law compliance. In a not to LinkedIn, Pro subscribers are able to message other CapLinked members outside of their network, including potential investors and other companies.
Founded in 2010, CapLinked crossed $37 billion in transactions hosted on its platform earlier this summer and has more than 135,000 active users. The basic version of CapLinked is free to use and allows users to browse others’ profiles but not create their own. CapLinked Pro plans, which cost $200 per month, allow one user – either an investor or a company – to create a single workspace of up to 50GB in size. Custom enterprise plans are also available upon request.
Shockingly, prior to CapLinked, the investors who have backed many of the most progressive companies and projects in the world were doing so with tools that were embarrassing in their lack of sophistication. Having seen the power of the platform first hand in their own businesses in most cases, it’s no surprise that the company attracted a number of prominent investors. Use of CapLinked is approaching “best practice” status, so much so that one day soon investors could refuse to participate in transactions in which it’s not utilized. Now that’s the kind lock-in that investors and entrepreneurs dream about.