A New Deal Flow: Startup Raps For Angel Funding, Venture Firm Responds In Kind

Posted by Pierre de la Fortune on April 6, 2015 @ 12:01 a.m.

Written by Rip Empson

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 Slater And we hear ya loud and clear Ya need an angel we got them wings Like our skulls full of red bull on private planes Lets fly hands up to the sky like we scored the goal With a Hockey stick projection of Gretzky proportions And we’ve done our due diligence we’re ready to close There’s just one thing we need to know Is undrip bout to go to the top So preferred with the stock If ya ain’t heard ludlow we ready to rock So it’s ready or not here we come And the mission is gettin’ that acquisition son From the elevator pitchin to the elevator hittin’ the top floor And openin’ to penthouse parties with horres devourers And scores of angel investors, prepared for bidding wars Unlockin’ that flow and so much more

Chorus: We need a angel, We need a ride We need a bump, a bump so we fly We’re gonna make that money off of social steam But we need your help to reach the dream We need a angel, We need a ride We need a bump a bump so we fly Undrip is about to go We just need an angel to unlock the flow

Verse 2: Comin’ straight out of detroit, so our wings are red But they’ll fly just the same, and your dreams in bed Will be reality instead because we livin’ it up Droppin that cold hard currency on companies They bout to start callin’ us green gravity You write code, we write checks that let your grand story unfold And when it’s all said and told from the premoney valuation To the exit strategy the numbers look amazin Only thing missin is chapter 11 but trust that’s all by design As long as you can design and program well put grands in yo hands Plant seeds in this round and we’ll watch them grow Oh to big money trees so check the equity now And you’ll see how ludlow gets down Ludlow, Ludlow Baddest angels around

Rip Empson is a writer at TechCrunch. He covers startups, because he loves them. In an unhealthy way. Coverage includes music, social, mobile, healthtech, edtech … listen, if you’re not obnoxious, you’ve got an innovative idea, you want to change the world (while maintaining a sense of humor), he’ll write about your company. You can reach him at rip[at]techcrunch[dot]com

For more info please visit: http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/28/a-new-deal-flow-startup-raps-for-angel-funding-venture-firm-responds-in-kind/

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