In recent years, as more and more startup leaders and founders got into the check-writing game, we spotted a few gaps. Angel investing is something of a mysterious art. It can be intimidating, and seemingly tough to break into. What’s more, is that it can be a lonely endeavor — one where you don’t have any partners to look at opportunities with or mentors to run your thinking by.
When we launched the first-ever Angel Track over three years ago, we had a lofty goal to fuse together the magic of community, knowledge sharing and opportunity to build the strongest network of angel investors out there. Since then, we’ve welcomed over 145 incredible members across six cohorts into a vibrant, diverse community that’s now backed high-growth startups including Figma, Notion, Cameo, Clubhouse, Airbase, Tonal, Linear, Scale, Calm, Fast, Descript, and dozens of other headline-grabbing companies.
In addition to our partnership, every cohort has been powered by seasoned angels and investors covering everything from developing a personal brand, rigorously assessing market opportunities, and serving founders after the wire hits. These experts have included:
- Ann Miura-Ko (Co-founding Partner, Floodgate)
- April Underwood (Co-Founder, #ANGELS)
- Charles Hudson (Managing Partner, Precursor Ventures)
- Daniel Gross (Founder, Pioneer)
- Elad Gil (Co-founder of Color Genomics)
- Jack Altman & Sam Altman (Lattice, YC, OpenAI, etc)
- Jessica Verrilli (General Partner at GV)
- Keith Rabois (General Partner, Founders Fund)
- Kevin Ryan (Founder and CEO, AlleyCorp)
- Lee Linden (Managing Partner, Quiet Capital)
- Michael Dearing (Founder, Harrison Metal)
- Scott Belsky (Chief Product Officer, Adobe Creative Cloud)
But what’s stood out to us most over the years is that Angel Track isn’t a short crash course — it’s evolved into a durable community that members can lean on and lean into as they level up. As we close out the last session, it’s special to see how these cohort-based groups stay in touch, whether it’s continued learning through follow-on special Angel Track sessions, sharing investment opportunities, or co-investing.
It’s also incredible to take stock of what they’ve achieved on their own. No matter their role, a common throughline is that Angel Track draws in folks who are eager to support the next generation of startups with more than just a check. Some are still wearing the founder’s hat like Celine Halioua (Loyal) and Curtis Lee (Pinwheel) or jamming as a standout operator at some of the most interesting companies around, like Ayo Omomola (VP of Product at Carbon Health), Cristina Cordova (Head of Platform and Partnerships at Notion), Jiaona Zhang (VP of Product at Webflow), Nick Caldwell (VP Engineering at Twitter) and Kintan Brahmbhatt (GM and Director of Podcasts at Amazon).
Dozens have also gone on to be scouts for other funds, and plenty have taken the route to become full-time investors — most recently, Sriram Krishnan at Andreessen Horowitz. Others have gone the solo or rolling fund route, like Lenny Rachitsky, Li Jin, Gumroad founder Sahil Lavingia and Superhuman CEO Rahul Vohra.
We’re so convinced of the talent and potential of the folks in this community that when it came time to expand our own investing team at First Round, we’ve tapped into this network ourselves. Our new partner, Meka Asonye, was a part of our Spring 2019 cohort while he was a sales leader at Stripe. And Todd Jackson, who joined us as a Partner back in early 2020, was actually part of our first-ever Angel Track cohort when it was still just an experiment.
Remote and rebuilt
2020 forced our hand in retooling the program in dramatic ways — rethinking the intimate, in-person gatherings to transition to our newly-remote world. While previous Angel Track sessions were run out of our offices in New York and San Francisco, this past year we expanded nationwide to include a wider array of emerging investors outside of existing centers of power in tech. Supporting the next generation of angel and venture investors is key to increasing representation and opening up more access to capital in communities of color — we’re eager to double down on this work and continue widening the doorway in 2021.
With a couple of completely-remote cohorts under our belt, we tapped our members for what worked, what didn’t and what angels really want to know so we could continue to uplevel the program and match the dynamic changes we’ve seen in the ecosystem recently.
With this feedback in hand, for the first time since our original launch, we’ve completely redesigned the curriculum from the ground up. We’ve pulled on threads from 15 years of our own experience with ‘Day 0’ investing in companies like Uber, Roblox, and Square and stitched it together with the collective wisdom of our angel investing community to craft something truly unique that we don’t think exists anywhere else. From sourcing investment opportunities outside your immediate network and mental models for evaluating the team, product, and market, to decision-making matrices, and even tax implications — at Angel Track we obsess over the details, and we want you to be a part of it.
How to apply
Interested in applying for our spring 2021 Angel Track cohort? You can read more about the program here, or go straight to the application to tell us a bit more about yourself. Applications close on April 7th. (We’ll be accepting applications on a rolling basis before then.)
Meet our latest cohort
Without further ado, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to our most recent cohort of angels from Fall 2020, who joined us from their kitchen tables all across the country.
- Alexis Zhu, Partnerships at Stripe
- Allison Canton, Associate General Counsel at Flatiron Health
- Amanda Lubin, Head of School Operations at Lambda School
- Ashley Flucas, Angel Investor at Flucas Ventures
- Ben Tossell, Founder at Makerpad
- Brexton Pham, CEO at All Blue
- Charley Ma, GM of Fintech at Alloy
- Chris Valerio, Product Lead at Instacart
- Derek Callow, Former CMO at Bumble
- Gil Shklarski, CTO at Flatiron Health
- Hadar Dor, Product Manager, Integrity at Facebook
- Judy Abad, Director of Field Business Strategy and Operations at TripActions
- Kimberly Foster, Launch with Goldman Sachs
- Kintan Brahmbhatt, GM and Director of Podcasts at Amazon
- Leura Craig, Co-Founder and Partner at Outlander Labs
- Li Jin, Founder at Atelier Ventures
- Matt Bilotti, Product Lead, Growth and Lifecycle at Drift
- Michael Bloch, CEO and Founder at Pillar
- Michael Vaughan, Former COO at Venmo
- Nairi Hourdajian, VP of Communications at Figma
- Noura Liben, CEO and Founder at NewCo
- Rita Garg, Director and GM at Facebook
- Rochelle Steward, VP of Consumer Tech at Silicon Valley Bank
- Sahil Lavingia, Founder and CEO at Gumroad
- Sam Lee, Founder and CEO at IndeCollective
- Tara Hernandez, Fund Manager and Investor at Reform Ventures
- Thaddeus Young, Founder at Reform Ventures
- Vivek Sodera, Co-Founder at Superhuman