Startup fund-raising and hiring tool AngelList has swooped into Europe and hired one of the eco-system’s most respected players. Philipp Moehring, who as a long-time associate at the Seedcamp accelerator and won acclaim as a level-headed players (nominated as Best Mentor at The Europas Awards), has been hired by AngelList founder Naval Ravikant to spearhead the company’s push into Europe. Moehring will now lead the process of AngelList eventually launching its ‘Syndicate’ product (which allows startups to syndicate funding rounds) across Europe, as well as its ‘Talent’ product which is geared towards startups hiring.
While the move is a blow to Seedcamp, having an old friend over at AngelList is not going to hurt them one bit, and AngelList is in no way competitive – indeed Seedcamp already uses the platform to filter startup applications to their programme. Moehring will be based in Berlin but will be travelling to London and San Francisco very regularly.
He said that the company last night posted an FAQ on who it will operate in Europe.
This explains that startups will be able to use AngelList in Europe but some products are not yet available due to regulatory reasons. The well-known features (contacting other users on the platform, hiring talent etc) are all fine, but only companies with a Delaware based C-corp can use it to raise money and only from US investors, not Europeans. This is until AngelList has been through the regulatory process in each relevant jurisdiction across Europe – which will clearly take some time.
Likewise, European investors still cannot run an AngelList syndicate yet, though they will eventually be able to. AngelList does not currently market to European investors.
That said, it’s my hunch that the UK – where many European startups are formally HQ’d – will be the first jurisdiction.
Moehring said AngelList has already helped startups hire over 200 people in Europe via the platform, which remains free for European startups to use at the moment.
Of course, it’s the Syndicates product which has made the most waves in the US – leading to some investors like Jason Calacanis and Kevin Rose flexing the full weight of their pulling power to attract other co-investors in the market. But we will have to wait for AngelList to pick its way through Europe’s fragmented market place before that is launched.
“We are figuring it out jurisdiction by jurisdiction,” Moehring told me.
“I’m personally interested in making things easier for startups, and AngelList does that. Getting investment for a startup is a black box, and still so much of it is unknown to many new founders – so breaking that open is going to be a good thing,” he said.
AngelList’s business model is based on the fact that it takes 5% of the ‘carry’ – the upside cash when a startup is acquired or has a liquidity event. Additionally its Talent product is a paid-for service in the US. Right now it’s free in Europe.
It cannot be underestimated the impact this will have in Europe. The fact that AngelList – used extensively in the US by almost all startups – will have someone of Moehring’s calibre shepherding their operations in the region is likely to have a highly positive and far-reaching ramifications for startups in Europe, who typically have to rely on much small levels of funding. AngelList’s virtual nature could speed up the funding process to make it far easier to raise money, and put them on a more equal footing with US startups.
Update: AngelList’s move into Europe comes just as Germany gets its own home-grown match-making service this week: Venturate.com.