It’s hard to believe, but I’ve presented nearly 100 startup investment opportunities to First Stage Investors.
All of these companies impressed the hell out of me. But there’s one startup that stands apart from all the rest. It’s the only one I’ve come across that I believed in so much, I actually decided to join it.
That company is KingsCrowd.
In some respects, KingsCrowd is your typical startup. It’s small, young and dynamic. And it has a particular vision of how to solve a clear problem.
A Meeting of the Minds
I met KingsCrowd founder and CEO Chris Lustrino at an investment meeting in Boston. At the time, I had no idea who he was or what he and his brand new company did.
Most founders I meet launch into their elevator pitch at the first opportune moment. But Chris had his own unique way of introducing his company to me. He started asking me about my house. He wanted to know what my real estate broker told me about it before I bought it.
The basics, I said. Square feet, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age, property size, price and a few other things.
“People buy and sell houses based on about a dozen facts,” Chris said. “What if I told you I’ll be capturing more than 200 data points on every startup that’s raising online. That’s your dealflow, Andy, right?”
“KingsCrowd wants to draw a picture for you and every investor that will be just as easy to understand as a picture of your house. But instead of using a paintbrush or a camera, we’ll be using data.”
That’s how I found out that Chris and I share the same goal of arming investors with the information they need to make informed decisions. I do it through sharing my insights on startups I like. But it took me about five seconds to realize that Chris’s idea of harnessing data to reveal the obvious and not-so-obvious strengths and weaknesses of a startup was the future.
Chris and I continued to talk about how to fix a very broken startup investing ecosystem. Startup investors lacked the basic information and metrics that investors in public stocks took for granted. And that meant it was impossible to compare startups to each other. It was hard to judge value. It was difficult to measure the effectiveness and abilities of the leadership team. How disruptive a new technology was needed to be measured as well. And when that technology was ready to roll out was often a guessing game.
Given these shortcomings, why would anybody want to invest in a startup?
They wouldn’t. The startup investing space needed a new path forward. Otherwise, it was in danger of turning into a highly specialized, niche mode of investing.
Startup investing needed a set of analytical tools that hadn’t been invented yet. And they needed to be tools that anybody could use without special training or knowledge. Chris founded KingsCrowd with the idea of creating those tools.
It was a powerful vision — one that I not only agreed with but wanted to help realize.
As they say, the rest is history. First Stage Investor became a part of KingsCrowd last year.
Impressive Progress on Many Fronts
KingsCrowd has come a long way in a relatively short time. It’s pulling in revenue, but revenue growth is not the overriding focus of the company. Nor should it be. Far more important is the headway it’s making in developing a massive collection of data on thousands of startups. It’s miles ahead of a couple of late-comers trying to replicate things that KingsCrowd is doing. KingsCrowd’s headstart is virtually insurmountable.
KingsCrowd is now extending its data gathering operations to cover everything ranging from later-stage startups all the way to those about to go public. And that’s just scratching the surface. The online private markets are expanding rapidly across the board. And as those markets expand, so will KingsCrowd. Right now, KingsCrowd is working on extending its coverage into many of these alternative investment markets — like real estate and collectibles.
And as these markets grow, millions of retail investors will need KingsCrowd’s tools to help them invest with confidence and insights based on real data.
KingsCrowd’s mission is to enable anyone to invest in non-traditional asset classes. And its mission has become my mission. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure it succeeds. I’m not only giving my time and effort to KingsCrowd — I’m also investing my own money. It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. KingsCrowd is just a great early-stage investment opportunity.
It’s raising on Republic. I strongly suggest you check it out.