There a few platforms that aim to connect investors and startups on the web, including AngelList, but for the most part investment transactions and venture funding is done face-to-face, many times with a hand shake involved. A new startup, called CapLinked, is hoping to change this by offering a collaborative platform for entrepreneurs, private investors and advisors to find each other, build relationships, and transact business on the site. CapLinked, which was co-founded by PayPal marketing exec Eric Jackson, is announcing a $900,000 round of funding from group of former PayPal execs (a.k.a the PayPal Mafia), including Peter Thiel, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, Joe Lonsdale (co-founder of Palantir Technologies); Aman Verjee (CFO of Sonos); and David Anderson. In total, CapLinked has raised over $900,000 in angel funding.
Using CapLinked is fairly simple for entrepreneurs. They can use the platform to raise capital and sell or buy assets, manage and contact investor prospects, centralize document flow on a secure platform and connect with new investors, advisors and companies.
Users can create a pitch, and invite others via email to check out the idea on the site. Entrepreneurs can upload documents, multimedia and other presentations to make a case for their idea and put all confidential company or deal related information behind a secure “walled garden” platform. Once an entrepreneur has an idea he or she wants to share, he can send a link to the platform to potential investors. And CapLinked has provided startups with basic form documents and contracts for investments.
CapLinked provides investors (the site is exclusively for accredited investors) with a Fidelity-like platform to track their portfolio of private companies in one location and encourages investors to build a public profile featuring their portfolio investments, clients, or companies they manage.
The startup, which launched in October of 2010, already has more than 2,100 companies and 1,000 investors on the platform, and $800 million in potential deals. Jackson, who likens the platform to a LinkedIn-meets-Salesforce for private investing, tells us that the platform isn’t just for tech startups—he has hopes of CapLinked being used to fund movies, commercial real estate deals or other professional products. “We want CapLinked to be the go-to platform for anyone who wants to raise capital for a company or project,” he explains.
Thiel says of CapLinked, “Start-ups are tremendous drivers of economic growth, yet the basic mechanics of investing in new companies can be difficult and inefficient, especially for first-time entrepreneurs or people outside venture capital center…CapLinked is providing—for the first time—an efficient online platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors, helps them build relationships, and streamlines the investment process.”
The startup’s founders certainly have experience in both tech startups and the investment world. Jackson, who authored The PayPal Wars, was PayPal’s first Senior Director of U.S. Marketing and served as interim VP of Marketing after acquisition by eBay in 2002. Fellow co-founder Christopher Grey was a managing partner and co-founder of private equity firms Crestridge
Investments and Third Wave Partners as well as a managing director for Emigrant Bank.
Jackson says that he believes CapLinked can succeed because it provides a comprehensive platform for both investors and entrepreneurs. He may be on to something, considering the recent success of AngelList.