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Kevin Rose Is AngelList’s Million-Dollar Man, by Liz Gannes of AllThingsD

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Liz Gannes writes:

Next time Kevin Rose makes an angel investment, he has more than $1.1 million at his beck and call to do it.

Rose is the current leading man on AngelList, where 245 people have committed to put their own money into any of the deals he does. He told them he expects five seed investments per year.

Rose has collected those commitments in just one week, since AngelList launched a feature that allows backers to put their money behind small investors as part of its investing syndicate product.

Rose does have a day job — as an investor, no less — at Google Ventures. Does all this support make him want to go solo? Apparently not.

“I’ll be syndicating my Google Ventures seed deals through AngelList whenever possible,” he said this morning. “I won’t be returning to the independent angel world — still full-time and focused on Google Ventures.”

Rose’s quick ascent to the top of the AngelList leaderboard reflects the fact that he is a tech celeb, having kicked off his career as a tech television show host, and has since become Internet-famous for founding the community site Digg (he also founded a company called Milk, which didn’t really go anywhere, and was bought by Google, leading to his employment there). Not to say that Rose isn’t a savvy investor; his personal deals include Twitter, Square and Ngmoco.

Rose said his backers are not just his fans; many of them are accomplished tech investors on their own. “If you look at the backers, these are insanely talented folks, founders, designers, really connected folks I’d like to have involved in my business,” Rose wrote via email today. He named as examples AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant, author Tim Ferriss, Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann, key Facebook advertising engineer Yun-Fang Juan, and Facebook designer Bobby Goodlatte.

Besides Rose, the AngelList syndicates leaderboard is full of many familiar names, several of whom also happen to have invested in each other’s syndicates.

Kevin Rose leads the way!

Also on the top of the leaderboard:

Besides Rose, the AngelList syndicates leaderboard is full of many familiar names, several of whom also happen to have invested in each other’s syndicates.

(And apparently, there is some flexibility in what will qualify as an angel, considering that Rose plans to channel his Google Ventures deals, and institutions like Betaworks are on the list.)

Path co-founder Dave Morin has more than $900,000 per deal, Launch conference creator and rabble rouser Jason Calacanis has more than $750,000, and Ferriss, Betaworks, Ravikant, Lee Jacobs, Brad Feld and Dan Bragiel all have more than $100,000. The leading woman on the list is Juan, now an EIR at the Social+Capital Partnership, with almost $50,000.

And MG Siegler!

I must say, I find this whole syndicates experiment fascinating.

James Hong made the list too!


What's great about Kevin Rose and MG Siegler is that they're investing Google Ventures money.

And then giving AngelListers an opportunity to follow them into those deals.

So it's kind of like Google Ventures is the new YCombinator.

Syndication is a great way to throw off risk and implicate other smart people into the deal.  The real question, from an investor's perspective, is whether or not Angel syndication creates a process of bringing better or worse due diligence to bear on the portfolio company and applicable domain expertise on the customer market.

I've found that just getting a raft of bright people into a deal doesn't always predict victory.  Sometimes it leads one to overlook obvious anomalies and mistakes because people believe that everyone else is a proxy validation for success and have all the issues covered--or else they wouldn't be in the deal if it wasn't rock solid, right?  And that being said, it can be quite productive to accelerate your investment expertise by learning what smarter people are doing as long as you still decide accordingly to your own investment virtues and strategy.  Assuming you have them in the first place.


Best investment advice I ever got was in an elevator riding up to my office on Wall St as a fresh-faced kid, back in '88, when a grizzled veteran turned to me and, apropos of nothing, just started talking:

"Investment success is not about being smarter than other people, it's about making money--there are plenty of intelligent idiots chasing value in worthwhile companies failing every day.  

The secret to successful investing is achieved not by being right with the smartest people in the room about any worthwhile company--it is by understanding and betting on which companies will become valued and bid up by stupid people, regardless what the smartest people think is right."

Hey I'm on the list!

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