AngelList acquires Product Hunt

AngelList, the LinkedIn for startups, just bought Product Hunt, the platform where people vote up or down on startup products.

Product Hunt declined to comment on the selling price but a source close to the matter tells us it was about $20 million. Recode first reported that same price. 

Product Hunt was rumored to be raising its next round for the past several months but, as founder Ryan Hoover tells TechCrunch, AngelList seemed like the best option for the future of the company and now the two are combining forces.

Hoover and AngelList’s Naval Ravikant, who invested in Product Hunt previously, met shortly after Hoover launched his platform but the PH founder says he had some initial concern AngelList could potentially move into the same consumer-focused product discovery platform he’d built on Product Hunt.

On the flip of that was AngelList’s concern Product Hunt could easily turn into a similar fundraising platform for startups. However, the two continued to talk and that fear never materialized. Instead, Hoover says he now sees more opportunities in working together.

Though Hoover doesn’t deny he was trying to raise a round (we’ve heard in the $7 to $9 million range) he says he’s been chatting for the last four months with Ravikant on what an acquisition would look like.

“This was just the better option,” Hoover told TechCrunch of deciding to sell. “It wasn’t our only option by any means.”

Hoover didn’t want to say what those other options were, but he did say there was an element of trust and a mutual alignment with the AngelList deal.

“This was super important in taking that next step,” Hoover said. “We had to look at Naval and his team and say ‘are they just going to acquire us and shut us down?’ for instance…but Naval made it very, very clear that he invested personally in what we’re doing because he believes in our vision for the future.”

And Ravikant seems to agree with Hoover, telling TechCrunch, “Product Hunt is a perfect fit for us.”

“We already help founders raise money and recruit talent,” Ravikant continued. “With Product Hunt, we can also help founders launch products and find early adopter customers. It dovetails very nicely into our mission of helping founders. With this acquisition, we become the network for technology companies.”

Product Hunt has struggled in the past to break out of tech and into mainstream product discovery. But the platform has continued to grow as a tech tastemaker, going from a small batch of 1,000 when it launched in late 2013 to now driving over 100 million product discoveries (defined as people clicking out to sites) for 50,000 companies, according to Product Hunt.

And Hoover is now leaning in to his base. “Several millions of people work in tech and tech is something that affects all of our lives,” Hoover said. “But now in this new AngelList and Product Hunt collaboration, in this new world, it’s actually an opportunity to help the tech industry but it still doesn’t sacrifice our mission or our vision of becoming even bigger.”

What Product Hunt will become under AngelList remains to be seen, but Hoover assured not much will change. He will still be the CEO and says he’ll run Product Hunt independently in the same way Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook, still runs its own platform.

Hoover and his team, which is mostly remote at the moment due to a separate San Francisco office lease headache, will also move into some space set aside for them at AngelList headquarters in San Francisco’s financial district.

The biggest challenge moving forward for Hoover is how to get the two teams to come together. “A lot of that challenge is how to make the transition smooth for everyone. It’s never going to be 100 percent perfect but that’s fine,” Hoover said. “On the plus side we’ll no longer be homeless and we’ll be able to focus on building what we’re building.”