Featured Startup Pitch: Angelbacker enables early adopters to gain equity in startups through product advocacy and promotion

By Editor February 18, 2015

Paul Chen profileBy Paul Chen, Angelbacker co-founder


Angelbacker is a website where anyone can discover cool startups and get company stock for adopting and promoting their products early. Angelbacker plays into the trend of the Internet democratizing traditional markets, and we are democratizing ownership in the products we use and love.


On our platform, startups run crowdfunding-like campaigns seeking a large number of product champions, aka ‘angelbackers,’ for a percentage of their company. In return for equity, angelbackers contribute their time by promoting, improving, and engaging (PIE) with products they love and believe in to shape their success.

At the core, Angelbacker acts as a third-party middleman service to facilitate and manage the ownership exchange between the startup and the product champions. The platform provides tools for startups to vet each angelbacker and track their progress toward key objectives that must be completed to earn stock.

Angelbacker   Spot the new biggest startup6


Angelbacker is the seventh startup between the founders, including a number of exits and failures in the past. Previous to our entrepreneurial experiences, Erik worked at game companies Activision and Midway Games, and I worked in various technical and business management roles at hardware companies Maxim Integrated and Fortinet. We met in grad school at MIT in 2008.


We actively recruit launch partner startups to join our platform through referrals, startup events and accelerator/incubator networks. We focus a lot on inbound marketing, and run content marketing strategies such as syndicating our entrepreneurship-related content to various sites with readership of early adopters.

We enable network effects to help startups round up their campaign goals on our platform, and also run PR campaigns to get press in publications related to the companies on our platform.


Angelbacker does not see itself as a crowdfunding platform today, but many similarities exist. According to a Massolution report, crowdfunding platforms raised $2.7 billion and successfully funded more than a million campaigns in 2012, with an 81 percent increase to $5.1 billion for 2013. By 2025, the global crowdfunding market is predicted to reach between $90 billion and $96 billion—roughly 1.8 times the size of the global venture capital industry today, according to a 2013 study commissioned by the World Bank.


Angelbacker’s crowdsourcing model is unique in its space. There are other user testing and feedback services or crowdfunding sites, but they do not offer equity to the participants. We are promoting the concept of community ownership, for which we give everyone access to startup equity, something only accessible to those with considerable money or skills.


Angelbacker currently takes a percentage fee from the angelbackers upon a successful startup exit. In the future, it will charge a listing fee from startups to list on our platform. Similar to a venture capital fund, Angelbacker’s revenue stream depends on the long-term success of its ‘portfolio’ companies.


We are currently seeking launch partner startups working on interesting and cool consumer ideas.

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Angelbacker logoHEADQUARTERS: San Francisco

WEBSITE: www.angelbacker.co

FOUNDERS: Paul Chen, Erik Chan

INVESTORS: Bootstrapped


TWITTER: @Angeladopter

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/angelbackerco

LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/company/angelbacker

ANGELLIST: angel.co/angelbacker