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How Shaan Puri's podcast landed him a $4M rolling fund

We’re thrilled to announce this week’s exclusive with Shaan Puri, serial entrepreneur, angel investor and GP! Shaan sold his last startup to Twitch and is currently the co-host of My First Million podcast and GP of All Access rolling fund, which invests ~3m/year into startups around the globe. Shaan is best known for taking complicated business ideas, breaking them down and making it simple for people to understand. We had to pleasure to sit down to talk all things cap table related, including:

Shaan Puri

TCT: You launched “All-Access-Fund” Rolling Fund on AngelList in September of 2020 and have since invested in a handful of startups. You’re now 6 months in — what’s been the biggest surprises/challenges of being a first time fund manager?

More money, more problems! 

When you have more capital to deploy, investing takes more time and getting into deals is harder because your check size is bigger. That’s honestly been the biggest challenge so far.

The biggest surprise is how much LP interest there is to be in my fund. We hit the 99 investor limit and the fund is now ~$4m/year!

How would you describe your relationship with LP’s and how often do you lean on them for helping support your portfolio of companies you invest in?

Our relationship is surprising. Most people assume I raised the fund from my network in Silicon Valley.

But in reality, I raised the fund ONLY from people who follow me on Twitter or my podcast. So even though we have 99 investors, I have never met any of them in real life, and didn’t call/pitch anyone on Zoom. The entire relationship is built from trust of them reading/listening to my content for years. So they know how my brain works and my track record (lucky for me!).

I update the LP’s monthly about deals we’re doing — and if they have a way to help the companies, they email me saying “oh that thing you asked for, I have an intro for the company.”

What’s the most competitive (funding) round you’ve gotten into, and how did you go about winning over the founder(s)?

Probably Gagan (Biyani)’s new ed tech company. He’s a serial founder, big silicon valley network, and his last ed tech company is worth $3B+. So there was a lot of demand to get into the round. I got in because I have a big audience that I could launch a course to, so I offered to be an “investor” and a “user” whereas most investors could only do the first part. I’ve found that it’s important to be a user of the product and not just an investor and believer.

You’re the Co-Host of My First Million podcast, which does 4M+ downloads per year and you also have your own newsletter with 19k subscribers. Where do you find the inspiration for content on a daily basis?

I basically just lurk the internet.

Twitter, Reddit, YouTube… and go down rabbit holes. Sometimes the result is really interesting topics or findings and then I keep digging deeper, sometimes tweeting things out to get feedback from our audience as well. Basically, I just follow my curiosity, and then I share the most interesting bits on the pod(cast) and see what type of traction it has and follow it from there.

Let’s talk about deal flow. What percentage of your deal flow is referrals, cold inbounds, etc?

So far, it’s been roughly:

You’re a big proponent of frameworks (your New Year's Resolutions framework, for example). What type of framework do you use for vetting founders?

While I’m sure this is similar to others, I want to make sure of the following: 

What was your first 100x/10x and how did you get into that deal?

Lambda school was my first. I got into the deal as a scout for my friend. I was thinking of doing a startup like that myself... and then saw lambda school already in motion, doing it even better than I had imagined. So I called Austen, learned about the business, and asked to invest. Then I convinced my friend who I was scouting for to invest in it and split the upside. 

How do you stay organized with your angel investments (managing notes and SAFEs pipeline, etc)? What does your personal tech stack look like?

I use Google sheets and AngelList for the backend and that’s mostly it! I like to keep it simple.

You’re currently leading Product, Mobile Gaming & Emerging Markets as a Senior Director at Twitch (via Bebo acquisition). How do you allocate time between your operating role and investing? 

I don’t actively try to invest.

I just read a lot and meet a lot of people — and when I see something that I think can be big, I try to invest, so it’s not necessarily a split of “I spent XX hours investing” per week, but rather on an opportunistic mindset and trying to grow my network week over week.

You’ve stated that angel investing should be more accessible to the public. What needs to happen to make this a reality?

I think someone needs to build a startup index fund. So you can invest and get access to like 300 or 500 new startups a year without being a picker. To me, this would be a great opportunity to allow the masses to invest more in the private markets.

What’s the next “unbundling” trend we’ll see?

I think we’ve started to see this but the unbundling of money, specifically crypto, is going to one worth watching over the coming years!

What’s your secret for getting on the cap table?

Show real interest when you talk to the founder. Know your shit. Start helping ASAP and have a unique asset other investors can’t offer (eg. in my case, a big audience..and knowledge about building big audiences)

What’s your biggest cap table “mistake”? (alternative: What's your biggest miss (a company you saw but passed on)?)

I’d say my biggest mistake was not putting more money into dukaan even though I saw it… and I wanted to lead the whole round myself. I ended up investing $20k but I wish I would have been $2m!

What are you passionate about outside of work?

Becoming mentally fit. Being able to master your mind & mood is a huge focus of mine and I’m constantly working on it every day.

For more insights into startups, angel investing, and new business ideas, follow Shaan on Twitter (@ShaanVP)!

Deal News This Week:


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Sources: Crunchbase, Twitter, LinkedIn

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