Project Pegasus

Get intro’d to a vetted pool of angel investors.

Project Pegasus is an experiment. We’re 3 early-stage founders who know the inefficiencies of the “if you’re worth your salt, you’ll manage to network your way to us” attitude of VCs and angels. What if someone could do this work for you?

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Hi everyone! Welcome to our experiment! Can, Dorena and I are 3 early stage founders ourelves, and we believe that founder talent is uniformly distributed – having a network is not indicative of founder success. The current market for pre-seed investing has super high information asymmetries and is an inefficient market. Accessing pre-seed capital through a network favors the status quo, which is a huge disadvantage for people of color, females and people that don’t have an ivy league school on their CV. We know from our own experience that raising a pre-seed is a huge pain and every founder you’ll talk to will tell you the same – while raising an angel round for our current startup, we just couldn’t take it anymore and had to do something about it, so we're piloting project pegasus as an experiment. If it's successful and we can make some matches between founders and angels, we'll build this out as a platform. If not, that's fine too and it was worth a try! If we can make matches, we'll take a small commission from the angel investors – but for founders the service is free! Thoughts? Ideas on how we could improve? Let us know in the comments below!
@niko_dunk Rock and roll!
@niko_dunk YAAAAY!!! Let's do it :)
@niko_dunk Interesting concept! How do you find the angels you pass the applications onto? This feels a lot like the VC scout model applied to angel investors.
@niko_dunk @abadesi Thanks! Niko's currently in SF and sleeping so I'll respond :-) In the beginning we'll see if any of the applications is a fit for angels that we already know. If we think so, we'll do a double opt-in intro. If we can make successful intros, hopefully more angels and startups will want to work with us. Let's see if that plan works out :-) What do you mean by VC scout model?
sounds like it has potential. good luck
@dnadivi Thanks!
I think I'm more curious if the pool of investors is vetted or qualified in any capacity. "Investor" is a very loose word with a broad definition. Startup and investor is a two-part equation for the relationship to be a fluid and a mutually supportive process. Exposure to your "investor" pool/database and their previous investments successes/failures even their preferred geographic location would be helpful. If this is just the traditional headhunter experience when someone with minimal knowledge just rando blasts your resume to a PR list in the designated industry. As-is seems kinda half-baked. Where is the initial value to the startup or the investor? I don't see any case studies or data analytics on your site at all.
@elizabethhannan Randoblast (you need a tm! on that) could even damage your future chances. And "vetted" is an interesting question too. Who would vet those investors?
@elizabethhannan @ipstas Hi Elizabeth and Stan! Thanks for clicking! :D The initial vetted pool is simply our networks that we've worked with here in the Bay Area. Investor is a loose word, you're right, so we think founder-based intros will be most relevant to good startups. We are still manually vetting and making the matches currently. All of the historical data and successes/failures you'll be able to discuss with them over the phone – just how it's worked for us personally in the past too. Preferred geographical location is a great idea! The idea is definitely half-baked. We're trying to solve this problem, and this is a first experiment towards it. Thanks for bearing with us! :) Case studies and data analytics will be shared soon after the first batch.
@elizabethhannan @ipstas @niko_dunk Better half-baked than not baked at all. Old Chinese proverb. Joke :-)
@elizabethhannan @niko_dunk @canolcer The road with 1000 stadiums starts with killing your first legion (the old Roman saying). In some manuscripts it is not a legion but a manipulus
Love the idea. Random one, did you end up getting funding on your initial concept(s), or did you shift to this?
@william_fanning Thanks :-) So @dorenanagel and I are working on our education startup, Kosmos, full-time since 1 year and will continue to do so. We are currently wrapping up our pre-seed round. @niko_dunk is currently exploring different projects (incl. this one) and might just end up doing Pegasus full-time :-)
@dorenanagel @niko_dunk @canolcer Dope. Well super enthusiastic about the mission. It seems like the thing no one wants to talk about is that there is no real advice for getting that first bit of money, so if you aren't from money (or a genius coder) you are pretty much out of luck. We have some nibbles for pre-pre-seed (I am calling it a "Discovery" round, in place of what would be a "friends & family round" for most startups). But if it turns out not working we will probably submit an application to you. And one unsolicited thought, as I have pondered this topic a lot; I would keep the option open to take a point from the founders (in addition to your plan now to take it from the angel). Reason being, the point is totally worth it for people who are genuinely unconnected/poor. And if you do find that your process is effective ... without it there is no reason that people who are connected (and not poor) wouldn't use it too. That said, being that you will want to advance the projects with likelier success, those outliers you are trying to reach might be left out in the cold, seeing as they are competing for your attention with less resources. So in a way, charging the unconnected founders a point could help them in the long run, by keeping your platform focused on them. Good luck!
@dorenanagel @niko_dunk @william_fanning Thanks a lot, William and good luck with your round. You can still apply even if you're not looking for an angel actively - maybe we can still do an interesting intro for you that might help you out later down the road. Regarding taking a fee from the startup: I can't put it to words, but it just seems wrong to take money from the founders for something like this. From a purely economics perspective, angels have orders of magnitudes higher purchasing power than a typical early-stage founder. So it does make sense to have a higher price (or a price at all) for them, as they are less price sensitive.
@dorenanagel @niko_dunk @canolcer Definitely on P1 (although if this money comes through we might fly stealth for a bit). And totally get it on P2. And not to belabor my point — but from someone who spent a long time figuring out the venture scene as an outsider — I would have gladly given a point for a warm intro that led to my first angel investment. I might be an outlier, but just wanted to let you know that value prop is out there :) Super excited to follow your journey regardless!
@dorenanagel @niko_dunk abl@william_fanning Thanks a lot! And yes, you are right. I probably also would have. Let's see, nothing's set in stone :-)
On average 3-5% startups get their seed. I would be interested to see how that number changes with Pegasus
@ipstas Agreed! I doubt whether projects like this can change that percentage much, but hopefully more high-quality startups will get funded!
@niko_dunk Well... and who decides that startup is a high-quality? Why startup would leave information at all? How many angels you have already (nothing on your LP)? How do you vet them? How do you vet startups? What is your expertise? To vet a startup in _any_ niche you need a LOT of expertise. Same for an angel. I can keep asking, because your LP creates more questions than answers
@ipstas Hi Stan! Good questions! I can only say right now that this is an _experiment_, we don't have all the answers either, and we'll see how many intros and matches we can make by the end of this week. But I think this problem requires a solution, and we're taking a crack at solving this inefficiency.
@niko_dunk Food for thought: Sometimes inefficiency exists just because the market participant (in this case an angel investor) wants it to exist.
@niko_dunk @ipstas True. But we think they shouldn't exist :-)