Meet The Competitors Vying For The Crunchie For Angel Investor Of The Year

We’re getting ready for the 9th Annual Crunchies here at TechCrunch, where some of the brightest startups, companies and leaders hope to win the coveted Crunchie award in one of the 12 categories up for grabs.

Among that mix are those who write the checks to get these startups off to a good beginning – angel investors. Below are the angels that have been selected as finalists for the Angel of the Year award, as well as a look back at some of the awesome investors who have been given this award in previous years.

Come see which angel makes it to the top of our list this year at the 9th Annual Crunchies show, which takes place on February 8 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House. Tickets to the show, which is described as the Oscars of startups and technology, are still available starting at $115. Get your tickets today, because prices increase 10 percent this Friday. You don’t want to wait!

The 2015 Nominees

Cyan and Scott Banister

Seed investors Cyan and Scott are an investment power couple with money in Uber, SpaceX and many other high-profile startups. Scott sits on the boards of Postmates and PayPal and Cyan is the founder and EIC of photography social network website

Gil Penchina

Penchina runs a small, $4 million per deal seed fund, crowdsourced from more than 500 angel investors on AngelList. He co-founded Fastly and ran Wikia as its CEO until 2011. He was also an early employee at eBay and has been an active angel investor for the past 12 years, with investments in LinkedIn, PayPal, Couchsurfing and many others.

Naval Ravikant

The CEO and co-founder of AngelList also sits on the board of Uber and Twitter and has made 88 personal investments since 2007. Ravikant is someone many in the tech community look to as a leader and go to for investment advice and remains an active angel investor.

Chris Sacca

The billionaire investor was a Crunchies winner in this category in the seventh year of our awards show. This year we’ve seen him make a cameo on ABC’s Shark Tank, investing $250,000 in Palo Alto-based Hatch Baby.

Joanne Wilson
Aka Gotham Gal, the investor and blogger has a strong past in wholesale and retail (starting out as a buyer at Macy’s department stores) and is a champion of women in tech. Wilson has made 46 investments since she started participating in angel rounds since 2010, including investments in Scoot, Le Tote and PlateJoy.

Past Winners

We introduced the Best Angel award in the third year of our annual awards show, so starting with year three:

Ron Conway – 3rd Annual Crunchies Winner

Conway is the founder of SV Angel and has served on several advisory boards for well-known tech companies including Twitter, Digg, Ask Jeeves, Facebook, Zappos, Trulia and StumbleUpon. His investments include Reddit, Brigade, Medium, Domo and a slew of other prominent startups in Silicon Valley.

Paul Graham – 4th Annual Crunchies Winner

Graham is one-half of the founding team of Y Combinator and co-manages the Mountain View, CA accelerator with his wife Jessica Livingston. He’s invested in countless successful startups through YC and has authored several books including On Lisp (1993), ANSI Common Lisp (1995), and Hackers & Painters (2004).

Reid Hoffman – 5th Annual Crunchies Winner

Hoffman is a co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn and a partner at Greylock. Prior to that, he was the executive vice president at PayPal. Hoffman is also on the board of Airbnb, Gowalla, and Swipely; an adviser to Groupon; and a director at Zynga, Mozilla Corp., Six Apart, Shopkick, and He is an angel investor in several internet companies, including Digg, Facebook, Flickr,, Ning, Six Apart, and Zynga.

Chris Dixon – 6th Annual Crunchies Winner

Dixon co-founded an East Coast seed venture fund called Founder Collective and is a partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. Dixon has made angel investments in more than 50 startups including Hipmunk, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Stripe, Pinterest, Dropbox, Codecademy, Stack Overflow, Bloomreach, Optimizely, Trialpay, OMGPOP, and Skype.

Chris Sacca – 7th Annual Crunchies Winner

You may know him from his recent participation on ABC’s Shark Tank, but the early Twitter and Uber financier has met made several successful startup investments since jumping into venture capital after a career at Google as the search giant’s head of strategic initiatives.

Kickstarter backers of Oculus – 8th Annual Crunchies Winner

Last year we had a unique winner in this category – everyone who backed Oculus VR on Kickstarter. Facebook gave a healthy $2 billion to acquire the startup in 2014 and now those early supporters are about to get a free Rift to thank them for their loyalty in the early days.