A New Deal Flow: Startup Raps For Angel Funding, Venture Firm Responds In Kind
Last week, Erick posted a video in which the founders of a stealth, San Francisco-based startup called Undrip spit some rhymes in an effort to raise seed funding for their new venture. Undrip, which is building a service to better filter your social networking streams (like Twitter) and let people consume media content without the noise, hoped to use their creative plea as a way to attract attention from top investors. They even created custom videos that they sent to individual investors, like Ron Conway. (See the video here.)
Of course, as Erick pointed out, in an overfunded environment, startups are looking for ways to set themselves apart from the pack. I would say that their video, which includes a sexy red car (and also happens to be Getaround’s Tesla) and a catchy chorus to the tune of, “We need a angel, We need a ride”, is pretty spectacular. You have to hand it to the guys for being willing to stick their necks out. Not only that, but in a world of boring pitches (trust me, we’ve seen a few), this is music to the ears of the media and VCs.
How do we know? Well, we’ve been pointed to a video response created by Detroit-based venture capital firm, Ludlow Ventures, which seems to prove that some investors are not only listening, they may just want in. You may (or may not) know the Detroit firm as an investor in startups like Hipster, Graphic.ly, Fundly, and FLUD, to name a few. (Here’s their portfolio for reference.)
Jonathon Triest, who is the Co-founder of Ludlow Ventures and the moonwalking, rhyme-dropping emcee in the video above, said that he loves seeing entrepreneurs take creative approaches to pitching investors, and Undrip’s video spurred he and his team to respond in kind.
Knowing that Mick Hagen, the co-founder of Undrip, also happened to be a founder of Zinch, a college admissions matching service which blew up and sold to Chegg, Triest told me that he knew the team had chops — but it was, of course, the video prompted them to make a call. The entrepreneur-VC and friendly version of playing the dozens, clearly.
Triest said that his firm is looking to invest in startups with great founding teams; Ludlow is trying to focus on picking and choosing entrepreneurs who, as he says, “they know they could have a beer with.” He said that he expects early-stage startups to pivot several times early on, but if the founders seem like good people, who are passionate, have chops, and are willing to stick it out, then that startup may just have what it takes to get the stamp of approval.
“The money-side plays an important role in seeding startups with the kind of capital that can enable early growth”, he said, “but that’s only half of it. We have to start treating entrepreneurs with respect, because they’re the ones out there going for it”. To that end, Ludlow Ventures wants to work closely with entrepreneurs and be a part of their development all the way along the line (in other words, founder friendly); and sharing office space with Quicken Loans Founder and Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert’s Detroit Venture Partners, with a roof-top view overlooking Comerica Park, being part of Ludlow’s brood has some perks.
Triest said that he has been in talks with Undrip, which he hopes will lead to some future investment. Nothing has been signed at this point, but Undrip’s video certainly seems to have captured some attention. Of course, every early-stage VC firm claims they want to be “founder friendly”, but not every VC is willing to respond with the same kind of creative energy their startups try to exhibit on a daily basis. So props to this VC for getting into the studio and laying down some flow.
A full list of the lyrics as well as Undrip’s original video follow below:
Verse 1:Yo undrip is bumpin’Pumpin the volume like a tech Christian SlaterAnd we hear ya loud and clearYa need an angel we got them wingsLike our skulls full of red bull on private planesLets fly hands up to the sky like we scored the goalWith a Hockey stick projection of Gretzky proportionsAnd we’ve done our due diligence we’re ready to closeThere’s just one thing we need to knowIs undrip bout to go to the topSo preferred with the stockIf ya ain’t heard ludlow we ready to rockSo it’s ready or not here we comeAnd the mission is gettin’ that acquisition sonFrom the elevator pitchin to the elevator hittin’ the top floorAnd openin’ to penthouse parties with horres devourersAnd scores of angel investors, prepared for bidding warsUnlockin’ that flow and so much more
Chorus:We need a angel, We need a rideWe need a bump, a bump so we flyWe’re gonna make that money off of social steamBut we need your help to reach the dreamWe need a angel, We need a rideWe need a bump a bump so we flyUndrip is about to goWe just need an angel to unlock the flow
Verse 2:Comin’ straight out of detroit, so our wings are redBut they’ll fly just the same, and your dreams in bedWill be reality instead because we livin’ it upDroppin that cold hard currency on companiesThey bout to start callin’ us green gravityYou write code, we write checks that let your grand story unfoldAnd when it’s all said and told from the premoney valuationTo the exit strategy the numbers look amazinOnly thing missin is chapter 11 but trust that’s all by designAs long as you can design and program well put grands in yo handsPlant seeds in this round and we’ll watch them growOh to big money trees so check the equity nowAnd you’ll see how ludlow gets downLudlow, LudlowBaddest angels around