Most deals get done in informal settings. Now, I’m inviting you to join me. (Photo: Russell Yip)
Please note that my syndicate investing in Shyp has now closed. You can still back me on AngelList to gain priority access to future deals. More updates will be posted here later in the round.
On September 23, 2013 (that’s today), the world of startup financing changes forever. It’s a truly historic moment.
Previously, I couldn’t publicly share deals with you. Now, thanks to an unprecedented legal change, I can offer a portion of my start-up investments to any of you who qualify as “accredited investors.”
- Previously, you had to be part of a small club to see such deals. Not any more.
- Previously, you might even need to be in Silicon Valley, drinking wine and having coffees around the clock, to see good deals before they filled up. No longer.
Starting today, I’ll share some of my favorite deals with you, beginning with a start-up called Shyp.
Notable companies I’ve advised include Uber (pre-Series-A), Evernote, Automattic (WordPress.com), Shopify, and TaskRabbit, among others. Early investments include Twitter, Facebook, Reputation.com, etc.
In this case, I used a “Spearhead Capital” blog post to my ~1.4M monthly blog readers to find promising startups. Nearly 400 companies applied, many of which are producing millions in revenue. Out of all of them, and with the help of Naval Ravikant (CEO/co-founder of AngelList) to interview finalists, I chose Shyp.
Shyp is the fastest and easiest way to ship packages. More on that shortly.
Investing alongside me–and potentially you–in this round are:
- David Marcus (President of PayPal)
- Brian McClendon (Founder of Google Earth)
- Daymond John (Founder of FUBU, Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank”)
- Joshua Schachter (Founder of Delicious, Tasty Labs)
- Aaron Batalion (Co-founder of LivingSocial)
- Homebrew (Hunter Walk and Satya Patel)
- Naval Ravikant (CEO/co-founder of AngelList)
- Scott Belsky (Founder and CEO of Behance)
- Sherpa Ventures (Scott Stanford & Shervin Pishevar)
- Antonio J. Gracias (Board Member at Tesla and SolarCity)
- XG Ventures (Andrea Zurek and Pietro Dova)
- Osama Bedier (Former head of Google Wallet)
So, how can you join us?
Before I tell you, remember:
- Startups are speculative, and this is gambling. You shouldn’t invest anything you’re not comfortable kissing goodbye. Treat it as casino money.
- If you are going to invest in startups despite this high risk, plan on building a portfolio of dozens, very slowly and carefully. This should be just one of many. Read more on approach here.
The Short Version
If you’d like to invest in Shyp, simply click here. A description of the company is in “The Longer Version” below.
You’ll need to set up an AngelList profile (free), and the minimum investment is $2,500. We’re only able to accept $250,000 from everyone.
For more on the team and concept of Shyp, click here.
If you miss this one, not to worry–you can automatically join my deals in the future, which puts you first in line next time.
Can’t invest right now? No worries. If relevant, I’d love for your to consider any of the below actions. Shyp and I would really appreciate it!
– Apply to be a Shyp Hero (Heroes are Shyp’s drivers). Click here.
– Apply for a job on Shyp’s core team. Click here.
– Interview the co-founders of Shyp: Kevin, Josh, and Jack. They’re clever gents. Just email: founders at shyp dot com.
– Tell Shyp which city you live in so they can launch there before others!
The Longer Version
I’m putting my name and network behind Shyp and personally investing $25,000. I’ll also be providing oversight and advising the company on product/conversion optimization, national launch strategy, etc.
I’m using a new AngelList feature called “Syndicates” to share my $250,000 allocation of Shyp.
Unlike venture capitalists (VCs), I am charging zero management fees. If you don’t win, I don’t make a dime. If you invest alongside me, the only expense is a 20% “carry” (roughly 20% of the profits) if there’s a good outcome.
DESCRIPTION OF SHYP
Shyp is the fastest and easiest way to ship packages.
Through the Shyp iPhone app, you take a photo of what you want to send, specifying destination and pick-up time. You’re done.
A “Shyp Hero” (driver) arrives at your home or office at the specified time, takes your unpackaged item away to be packaged, then sends it on its way via the optimal carrier (i.e., Fedex, UPS, etc.). Shyp automatically optimizes for speed and cost, and Shyp charges no more than Post Office prices, plus a $5 pickup fee for sending solo items. If you send more than one item, the company waives the $5 pickup fee.
More on how this works below the video.
I have confidence in the team, and here’s why I love the model:
– Recurring revenue. It has a frequent use case, just like Uber and Evernote (again, both of which I’ve advised). Millions of people can use Shyp on a weekly or daily basis.
– It’s simple and solves a real problem. Do you enjoy going to the post office or UPS store? Scheduling pickups that require you to be available for 3-6 hours? Of course not. Shyp makes fixing all that as easy as snapping a picture. And they package everything for you. No more wasted afternoons.
– It has unusually high margins. Shyp matches USPS retail prices, but by taking a volume discount from carriers and utilizing regional couriers (that end-users cannot), Shyp can maintain high profit margins. Using OnTrac, as one example, is 75% cheaper than USPS.
– It’s tackling the “first mile” problem, not the “last mile” problem. Lots of companies are focused on same-day delivery from retailers to consumers: the last mile. It’s a crowded battlefield of a market. But what about the burden of packaging up shipments from homes and offices? This “first mile” problem is enormous, and the market is neglected. Shyp aims to own it.
How to Get In First
Would you like first access to my future deals, right alongside my close friends?
To see things before I post them on the blog, you can automatically back me on AngelList, as Naval (CEO of AngelList) and others are doing. Click here for more details. This will ensure you don’t miss anything.
DISCLAIMERS — DON’T SKIP:
Startups make big plans a lot, and most don’t follow them. Shyp might run out of money; customers might not like using a third party to ship things; UPS, Fedex, or some upstart could start competing; or the team could simply fall apart tomorrow. Any statements about their future plans, margins, etc., are pure speculation on my part. That’s why startup investing is very risky, so again: don’t invest anything you aren’t prepared to write off 100%. Last but not least, I’m not necessarily planning on sending frequent updates or notices of Shyp’s change in plans (if any), as startups change on a weekly or daily basis.
Posted on: September 23, 2013.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.