Gil Penchina

Founder of Flight.vc and super angel. Co-founder Fastly and Vouch.

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON May 20, 2016

Discussion

Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
I view the world as an entrepreneur - even though our 20+ AngelList syndicates has forced me into more of an investor role. Back me at https://angel.co/penchina/syndicate to see our deals. Topics I'd like to chat about today include what to look for in a startup and what it takes to raise an angel round today. Ask away!
Sam Couch@samuelcouch · Engineer // People Person
What tools do you wish existed for VC? What tools do you currently use? (for sourcing deals, managing portfolio, etc)
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@samuelcouch I would love to have one place to go to get all sorts of "secret" data on companies - like their sales, traffic, hiring, costs, etc. Most of that data exists somewhere (vendors, google, visa)
Austin Teague@austin_teague · Full-Stack Marketer and Entrepreneur
@gil_penchina I hate plugging startups to investors but you should check out Fortuos.io. They are looking to do exactly what you want.
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
How do you find industry experts to talk to so that you stay up-to-date (and advise your portfolio companies)?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@candriopoulos I start with the industry conferences - and blogs. Honestly not that sophisticated :-)
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
@gil_penchina Thank you very much for your responses. I appreciate it. Which are the industry conferences that you always attend and blogs that you regularly read?
COSTAS ANDRIOPOULOS@candriopoulos · https://medium.com/strictly-curious
Hello Gil, thanks for taking our questions. Where do you look for emerging trends (e.g. sources, events, websites, etc.) and how do you pick ventures in nascent industries?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@candriopoulos Honestly so many sources - Conferences, News Media, Experts in various fields - but most important is meeting startups and seeing what's actually working vs what is a dream. Media doesn't actually know what's going to happen, they just predict by guessing :-)
Austin Teague@austin_teague · Full-Stack Marketer and Entrepreneur
@gilpenchina Thanks for joining today. You are a notable investor on AngelList, what do you look for when choosing what startups to invest in with your syndicate?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@austin_teague @gilpenchina It honestly depends on the sector. In consumer - growth. In Saas, revenues and CAC/LTV
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Gil, thanks for being here today. What are your top tips for startup founders looking for their initial investment?
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What does a typical day look like for you?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@jakecrump Meetings, email, meetings, conference, meetings. Investors are constantly soaking up information about the environment and what's working and you should assume when you pitch them that they're comparing you to something else they looked at last week
Hugo Filipe Ribeiro@hugofiliper · Founder and CEO | Magikbook
Hi Gil! Recently I saw a quote from an investor saying that the "next big thing in tech is going to look like a toy.". What's your view on the connected toys market? Thanks
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@hugofiliper it might look like a toy. Not clear to me toys are the market though. You can argue an iPhone is a toy. That's the way my son uses it... For videogames But I'm not bullish on toys per se
Hugo Filipe Ribeiro@hugofiliper · Founder and CEO | Magikbook
@gil_penchina as I see, everything starts to be connected and toys are no exception. I believe that is an opportunity to change a market that is still quite unexplored. :) perhaps my vision is related to the fact I'm the Co-founder of a connected toy startup :)
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
Q. Do you think the population in general has enough knowledge about the word AI to be impressed by seeing it in branding/marketing messages?
Syed Ahmed@tabishis · Altimus Solutions, Inc.
Do you think MOOCs will eventually replace traditional learning, specifically tech focused learning? Do you invest in products that are focused on solving problems for MOOC students?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@tabishis What sort of problems?
Corey Hubbard@corey_hubbard · Founder - DreamHighr
Hi Gil! I appreciate your time today and I wanted to ask should a first-time pre-seed stage founder concentrate solidifying her P&L or building for growth in the current environment?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@corey_hubbard At your stage the P+L barely matters
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@corey_hubbard Focuse on getting customers obsessed with the product
Corey Hubbard@corey_hubbard · Founder - DreamHighr
@gil_penchina Got it! Thanks a Million!
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@corey_hubbard If it's really an economics question - you want to learn/be able to explain your unit economics. Not the P+L
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
On being an angel investor 1) How do you evaluate new potential investments? 2) What are your favorite verticals/sectors? 3) What are some investments you missed/didn't see the potential at the time? 4) You've been investing as an angel for almost 18 years now. How has angel investing evolved over time in terms of a) deal economics b) identifying the best deals c) the people you're working with d) other things 5) Are there any verticals or sectors you do not invest in / are bearish on?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@tomstocklein 1) How do you evaluate new potential investments? FOUNDERS, MARKET POTENTIAL, PRODUCT/GROWTH 2) What are your favorite verticals/sectors? WE DO A TON OF CONSUMER, SAAS AND MARKETPLACES 3) What are some investments you missed/didn't see the potential at the time? I PASSED ON INSTACART IN THE SERIES A 4) You've been investing as an angel for almost 18 years now. How has angel investing evolved over time in terms of a) deal economics b) identifying the best deals c) the people you're working with d) other things THE DEALS ARE MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE, AND THERE ARE WAAAAAY MORE STARTUPS NOW THAN THERE WERE IN THE LATE 90'S SO SORTING THROUGH THE NOISE IS A LOT HARDER 5) Are there any verticals or sectors you do not invest in / are bearish on? REGULATED AREAS (ED, HEALTH, ETC)
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
On pitching angel investors as an entrepreneur 1) How many pitches do you receive per week on average? 2) What is the best way to peak your interest (e.g. short email or 10-page deck or demo, etc.)? 3) What are the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when trying to raise an angel round? 4) What's your best advice for founders trying to raise money from angels? 5) Which other angel investors will make you more likely to say yes to a deal?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@tomstocklein 1) How many pitches do you receive per week on average? DOZENS 2) What is the best way to peak your interest (e.g. short email or 10-page deck or demo, etc.)? SHORT EMAIL - THE KEY THING THAT MAKES PEOPLE GO WOW ABOUT YOU. ONE METRIC, ONE GROWTH HACK, ONE COMPELLING VALUE PROP 3) What are the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when trying to raise an angel round? IT TAKES FOREVER - HERDING THE CATS AND YOU NEED TO REFINE YOUR PITCH BY GETTING FEEDBACK AND ADJUSTING IT 4) What's your best advice for founders trying to raise money from angels? PRACTICE IT FIRST WITH INDUSTRY EXPERTS BEFORE PITCHING FOR $$$ 5) Which other angel investors will make you more likely to say yes to a deal? HARD QUESTION TO ANSWER.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What three things should every new founder constantly be thinking?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@ems_hodge As a founder I'm always 1) talking to customers 2) recruiting 3) fundraising
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@jakecrump Being an investor in ProductHunt !!
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What industries would you place your bets on in the next 10-20 years?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@jacqvon Big data/AI is clearly leading a big revolution Healthcare is taking more and more of every $$ of GDP - I just don't have any expertise there
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What are the first tabs you open on your computer/phone every morning?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@jacqvon Email, Email, Email 400 emails a day. Company updates, pitches, news, etc. It's my universal dashboard
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Gil Penchina@gil_penchina
@jacqvon Focus on doing something small and achievable - and doing it until it's perfect. Think about how simple Twitter or Amazon were at the start. One just let you post 140 characters and didn't even have search. The other only sold you books
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What life experiences do you think have helped shape you to become a good leader in business?
What's your take on the potential for VR / AR market opportunity? What does successful execution look like?