Is it time for a common app for startup founders? •

by Ana Lopez

Venture capitalists are allowed controlling capital, but one currency they always look for is an elusive, evolving currency: deal flow. Betting early on the next big startup is all it takes to bolster a fund’s full returns (and then some) – and help that gutsy investor make a name for themselves.

This reality makes Afore Capital’s latest product launch all the more friendly. The venture firm, which just closed a $150 million fund in May 2022, is launching what it describes as a general application for founders of pre-seed startups. Similar to the well-known college admissions application, a startup Common App would allow founders to seamlessly pitch multiple investors using the same basic form and pitch deck – all at once.

Here’s how it works: Afore Capital has an accelerator-like program, Afore Alpha, that offers a standard pre-seed deal to founders. The application includes questions about the founding team, pitch deck, recent wins, inspiration, and, interestingly enough, whether the startup has applied or been interviewed by Y Combinator for the company’s internal benchmarking process.

The accepted countries will receive a $1 million lead investment through a $10 million post-money SAFE, a deal that Afore says is five times more capital and five times the valuation that accelerators like YC and Techstars offer.

Now, the same founding teams that sign up for Afore’s program will automatically distribute their application to some 30 or so investors in the venture firm’s network. The cohort, which Afore names as pre-seed experts, includes Allison Barr Allen of Trail Run Capital, Allison Pickens of The New Normal Fund, Em Herrera of Night Ventures and Rex Salisbury of Cambrian Ventures.

Related Posts