With all the recent investment deals jacking up start-up valuations, you’d think investors and entrepreneurs would need little help in finding each other. But beyond star investors and well-known entrepreneurs, it’s not necessarily easy to get good deals done. That’s where a new start-up called Caplinked is hoping to make its name. The company just announced $ 525,000 in new angel funding led by VC Peter Thiel and a stable of other heavy hitters.
Caplinked — launched early last year by former PayPal Director of Marketing Eric Jackson and private equity investor and banker Christopher Grey — has built a platform for entrepreneurs and investors it says combines the social community of LinkedIn with the customer-management tools of Salesforce. Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Caplinked is looking to create a social and secure communications channel that will help deals flourish. The site helps founders and company advisors network and share their pitches with investors, who can get a better look at the business plans of emerging start-ups.
The latest investment brings Caplinked’s total funding to more than $ 900,000. Aside from Thiel, investors include Dave McClure of 500 Startups; Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir Technologies; Aman Verjee, CFO of Sonos and David Anderson, managing partner of 7th Rig. Caplinked CEO Jackson said the new funding will be used to build out the team and improve the user experience of the site.
Jackson, who previously wrote the PayPal Wars, said many entrepreneurs and investors are still leveraging e-mail and spreadsheets to track their contacts and communications. But he said a modern platform that allows synchronous communications and secure document sharing can help bring the two sides together more easily. In the U.S. alone, Jackson said there are some 20 million private investors, and 100 million globally, who can make use of Caplinked.
“We’re trying to give everyone a centralized platform that makes it easy to share and track who’s seen what and give owners control,” Jackson said.
The site just got underway in October and now has about 3,200 users with 2,100 company profiles listed. Jackson said there are about 1,000 investors on the site, mostly independent investors with some VCs and angel investors in the mix as well. Jackson said the site is already yielding benefits for average entrepreneurs, who are able to get more looks at investments. He said Caplinked, which is freemium with premium tools available for pay, will remain free for entrepreneurs.
Despite concerns about a growing tech bubble, Jackson said Caplinked isn’t likely to contribute to the overheating. “We’re giving tools for better networking and more transparency, before and after deals,” Jackson said. “I don’t see how transparency can increase frothiness.”
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