Product Hunt is fast-becoming a HackerNews for product geeks. And now, in what we’re pretty sure is a first, SV Angel has closed an early-stage deal that it sourced through the site.
SV Angel (disclosure: a Pando investor) is leading an undisclosed seed round for picture chat app TapTalk. As the Financial Times reported, Facebook engineers are so obsessed with the app they’ve reportedly started replicating it to build Facebook’s Snapchat competitor messaging app Slingshot.
Since it was outside the Silicon Valley bubble, TapTalk kept a relatively low profile until Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover posted it on the site in April. Product Hunt is a user-generated content site where people post links to new products others might not have heard of. Fellow users can up vote or down vote the products they like best, and comment on them or post links to other news articles.
It’s a much faster, more easily digestible way to see the latest stuff on the market, and in recent weeks the site has started beating tech press to breaking the news on new products. It beat TechCrunch on covering Tinder-for-dogs app (yes, that’s a thing now) BarkBuddy, when user William Peng, a general partner at Red Swan Ventures, posted a link more than a week prior. It beat Lifehacker and FastCo on new iOS Mac desktop notifications app Notifyr by a week.
SV Angel associate investor Abram Dawson followed the site since its earliest incarnation as an email service. He uses the site to broaden his deal flow network and find products he might not otherwise. “I’m constantly checking it to be honest with you,” Dawson says. “It’s a way to quickly identify what products are getting attention.” He believes it levels the playing field for a lot of founders who might not have a built-in Silicon Valley network. “You have to know someone to make an introduction to us,” Dawson says. “Product Hunt is a way for anyone to get their product seen.”
He spotted TapTalk on there and brought the deal to the attention of more senior partners at the early-stage firm. Product Hunter founder Ryan Hoover says that this is the first he’s heard of any VCs officially closing a deal through a company found on the site.
That said, SV Angel isn’t the only firm with a deal sourced through Product Hunt in the works. Index Ventures is in the process of negotiating terms with a company they wouldn’t disclose that they discovered on Product Hunt, as is an angel investor who wishes to be unnamed until his deal closes.
Product Hunt’s Hoover says such developments have surprised him. He’s a product geek and former product manager, not an investor. “It’s funny, I didn’t set out to build a tool to source deals yet hundreds of investors read the email digest and visit the Product Hunt every day,” he says.
If the trend continues, it’s possible Product Hunt could become the new AngelList of seed stage deal flow sourcing in Silicon Valley.