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Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant

Naval Ravikant is an angel investor, podcaster, and entrepreneur. He is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList, and is the founder of several other technology companies such as Epinions, Vast.com, MetaStable, The Hit Forge, and Genoa Corp.

Naval Ravikant is an angel investor, podcaster, and entrepreneur. He is best known for being the CEO, chairman, and founder of AngelList. However, others may know him from his other entrepreneurial activity as the founder of Epinions, The Hit Forge, Genoa Corp, Vast.com, and MetaStable; or through his blogging and podcasting activities at Venture Hacks. Naval Ravikant hosts his own podcast called Naval, and has been invited to participate in several popular podcast shows such as The Joe Rogan Experience, Spartan Up, and The Tim Ferris Show.

Education

Naval Ravikant graduated from Stuyvesant high school 1991, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1995 with a bachelors degree in economics and computer science. After completing his education Ravikant made the move to Silicon Valley to work for an internet service provider called @Home in 1996.

Career

Vast.com

In 2005, Naval Ravikant founded Vast.com, an online white-label classifieds marketplace. A year after its founding Vast.com had 25 employees working in two continents across 5 times zones — making it one of the first examples of a distributed micro-multinational technology company. Naval Ravikant had the following to say about the technology making the distributed and multi-national nature of Vast.com possible: 

This is core stuff, very advanced technology. We are building a company in a way that would have not been possible even two years ago. 

CoinList

In 2017, in partnership with Protocol Labs (Filecoin), Naval Ravikant spun-out CoinList from AngelList.The company is a platform for cryptocurrency companies to launch their initial coin offerings (ICOs). CoinList restricts the sale of ICOs to accredited investors to ensure all transactions on the platform are legally compliant. To comply with securities regulations CoinLIst uses the Simple Agreement for Future Token (SAFT).

AngelList

In 2009, Naval Ravikant co-founded AngelList with Babak Nivi in San Francisco, California with the goal of connecting founders and entrepreneurs more efficiently. The first version of AngelList was unofficially launched in 2007 on the Venture Hacks blog and it was originally called AngelBase. The official AngelList website was officially launched in 2011 which was mostly closed to people outside of the AngelList community, but in 2012 AngelList became an open website. AngelList acquired ProductHunt on December 1, 2016 for $20 million.



In an interview in 2011 on Mixergy, the interviewer asked Ravikant what kind of companies are looking to raise money on AngelList and Ravikant had the following to say: 

I'd say about 80% are web companies, consumer or enterprise, so software service or consumer web companies. Although, we do also now consider healthcare, green tech, biotech, anything technology related essentially. 

Epinions

At the age of 25, Naval Ravikant, walked away from $4 million unvested stock options in @Home to begin working on an idea he had for a startup company with Nirav Tolia. In 1999 Naval Ravikant and Nirav Tolia founded epinions, a company for logging consumer reviews. 



Eleven weeks after starting Epinions, Ravikant and Tolia recruited 3 employees and secured $8 million in seed funding from individual venture capitalists and Benchmark Capital. The company grew very fast from it's initial conception, and Bill Gruly of Benchmark capital had the following to say about the growth of Epinion: 

This is, unequivocally, the fastest I have ever seen a start-up move. 

25 year old Ravikant also commented on the speed of growth of Epinions 12 weeks after founding the company, saying: 

Who's afraid of competition? We're a start-up. We've got focus. Nobody will be able to move as fast as us. I pity the fools! 

In 2003 Epinions merged with DealTime and went public via Shopping.com. In 2005, Ravikant and several others sued two former venture capital investors of Epinion claiming they "cheated them out of nearly $40 million" during the merger of Epinion and DealTime. After some legal back and forth about the case it was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Ravikant commented on the lawsuit he went through with the investors of Epinions by saying: 

Essentially it was a learning and growing experience for me, and as part of that learning experience I realized that entrepreneurs fundamentally have an information asymmetry relative to investors in the market. And so we set out to correct that. 

The company would later be acquired in 2005 by Ebay for $620 million at $21 per share; a 20% premium of their closing price of $17.44 . A month before Shopping.com was acquired by Ebay, Nielsen/NetRating reported that shopping.com had 14.6 million unique monthly visitors. 

The Hit Forge

In 2007, Naval Ravikant founded an investment firm called The Hit Forge in San Francisco, California focused on investing in social media technology companies. The company has invested in the following companies: WeGame, Jambool, Cabify, Mesmo.tv, and SocialMedia. The Hit Forge has had 3 exits which include Jambool, WeGame, and Mesmo.tv. 

MetaStable

Naval Ravikant is a co-founder of MetaStable, a cryptocurrency hedge fund. 

Genoa Corp

In 1998 Naval Ravikant founded a company headquartered in Fremont, California called Genoa Corp that developed linear semiconductor optical amplifiers. On April 1, 2003 Genoa Corp was acquired by Finisar for $5.5 million. 

Venture Hacks

Venture Hacks is a blog founded in 2007 and run by Naval Ravikant, Babak Nivi, and Kartik Agaram focused on offering advice on entrepreneur financing. Ravikant says the purpose of Venture hacks is to be "educating entrepreneurs on the process of how you raise and negotiate venture capital". The first blog post on Venture Hacks was the first version of what would later become AngelList in 2009. On April 16, 2019 Venture hacks became completely independent of AngelList.

Advisory roles

Naval Ravikant acts, or has acted, as an advisor for the following organizations: Index, The Human Diagnosis Project, Maiden Lane, MediaSpike, Space Monkey, Shyp, Hack Fund I, Kinnek, Unsplash, Junglee Games, Gigster, cofounder.co, Philz Coffee, PandaWhale, Hack Fund II, Republic, PicCollage, Vault12, Breezeworks, Flipagram, HireAthena, Zeus, Mirror, Skycatch, NOW Ventures, Evolve VC, Fragrantica, bloXroute Labs, Stellar Development Foundation, The Good Party. 

Board membership

Naval Ravikant has served, or is currently serving, as a board member at the following companies: Vault12, AngelList, Heyzap, and Flipagram. 

Investing

Naval Ravikent has personally invested in over 200 companies, including the early venture rounds of Uber, Twitter, Wish and Thumbtack, and is a general partner in a cryptocurrency fund called MetaStable investing in blockchain technologies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Zcash. Naval was also previously a Venture Partner at August Capital and DotEdu Ventures.



When making decisions on what companies to invest in as an angel investor Ravikant says that anytime he considers investments he needs to genuinely like the founders, and goes into every deal with the assumption that the founders will be part of his life for the next ten years. Ravikant seeks out founders of the companies he invests in that make him a smarter entrepreneur, he told a reporter for Business Insider that: 

My favorite founders are actually the ones who I learn from. So every time they call me up because they need help with something I jump on it because I know [after] walking around the block with them for an hour I'm gonna [be] much smarter. 

In August of 2018 a journalist named Alejandro Cremades, working for Forbes, analyzed Crunchbase data and ranked the top 50 angel investors based on their total number of investments, and also ranked the top 5 angel investors based on their number of exits. Based on the Crunchbase data Cremades ranked Ravikant 6th out of the top 50 angel investors overall with 121 investments, and 3rd overall out of the top 5 angel investors with the most exits with a total of 38 exits. 

Awards

Naval Ravikant was named Angel Investor of the Year by TechCrunch and received a Crunchie award during the 10th Annual Crunchies Awards. Naval is also one of the leaders in the cryptocurrency world, and in 2017 was ranked as the 4th most influential person in the world in the blockchain industry by CoinDesk.

Family and early life

Naval Ravikant was born in 1974 in New Delhi, India. When Naval Ravikant was 9 years old, he and his family (his mom, dad, and brother) moved from New Delhi, India to New York City. His father was a pharmacist in India, but his pharmacist credentials were not acceptable to practice pharmacy in the United States. Both of Ravikants parents did clerical work in New York City after their move to New York City. Shortly after moving to New York City, Ravikant's parents split up, leaving his mother responsible for raising him and his brother for the majority of their childhoods.



During his childhood Naval Ravikant claims reading was his first love. He spent a lot of time reading growing up because his mother was always working multiple jobs and attending night school. 

Basically the library was my after school center. After I’d come back from school, I’d just go straight to the library and I’d hang out there until they closed. Then I’d come home.

Ravikant continued his love for reading during the course of his life, and has the following to say about his investments in good books:

A really good book costs $10 or $20 and can change your life in a meaningful way. It’s not something I believe in saving money on. This was even back when I was broke and I had no money. I always spent money on books. I never viewed that as an expense. That’s an investment to me.

JOBS Act

Naval lobbied for The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act, a law intended to encourage funding of small businesses in the United States by easing many of the country's securities regulations. It passed with bipartisan support, and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on April 5, 2012.

Investments

The following table contains information regarding investments made by Naval Ravikant. 



Investments of Naval Ravikant

Company
Type
Date
Exit

21.co

N/A

N/A

Yes

3GearSystems 

N/A

N/A

Yes

500friends

Seed

December 15, 2009

Yes

9GAG

N/A

N/A

No

N/A

N/A

No

Abacus 

N/A

N/A

Yes

Adku

N/A

N/A

Yes

AeroFS

No stage

October 1, 2010

No

After School 

Series A

February 3, 2016

No

AirHelp 

N/A

N/A

No

Alation 

N/A

N/A

No

Artsy

N/A

N/A

No

Attune 

Seed

February 5, 2014

No

Beautylish

N/A

N/A

No

Bitwise AssetManagement 

N/A

N/A

No

BlackJet 

N/A

N/A

No

Blockstack

Series A

January 5, 2017

No

Bonafide

N/A

N/A

No

Bounce.io 

N/A

N/A

No

BranchOut 

Series A

September 9, 2010

Yes

Breezeworks 

N/A

N/A

No

Cambrian Genomics 

N/A

N/A

No

Carbon 

N/A

N/A

No

Cardpool

Seed

March 1, 2010

Yes

Chai

N/A

N/A

No

SHOW ALL (79)



Timeline

People

Name
Role
Related Golden topics







Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

50 Angel Investors Based On Investment Volume And Successful Exits

Alejandro Cremades

Web

August 5, 2018

A Calm Mind, a Fit Body, a House Full of Love

Naval Ravikant

Web

May 21, 2019

A Founder's Anxiety

Naval Ravikant

Web

January 4, 2019

A Venture SLA

Naval Ravikant

Web

June 28, 2013

Accountability Means Letting People Criticize You

Naval Ravikant

Web

June 21, 2019

American Fall

Naval Ravikant

Web

October 18, 2016

American Spring

Naval Ravikant

Web

January 15, 2016

AngelList: How A Silicon Valley Mogul Found His Passion

Peter Cohan

Web

February 6, 2012

Arm Yourself With Specific Knowledge

Naval Ravikant

Web

March 25, 2019

Be Too Busy to "Do Coffee"

Naval Ravikant

Web

May 8, 2019

Being Ethical Is Long-term Greedy

Naval Ravikant

Web

June 26, 2019

Bitcoin - The Internet of Money

Naval Ravikant

Web

November 7, 2013

Build a Team that Ships

Naval Ravikant

Web

April 27, 2012

Embrace Accountability to Get Leverage

Naval Ravikant

Web

April 11, 2019

Envy Can Be Useful, or It Can Eat You Alive

Naval Ravikant

Web

June 28, 2019

Escape Competition Through Authenticity

Naval Ravikant

Web

May 16, 2019

Eventually You Will Get What You Deserve

Naval Ravikant

Web

May 19, 2019

Example: From Laboorer to Entrepreneur

Naval Ravikant

Web

April 26, 2019

Free markets Are Intrinsic to Humans

Naval Ravikant

Web

March 5, 2019

Funding Markets Develop in Reverse

Naval Ravikant

Web

December 1, 2010

Fundraising Hacks: Interview with Naval Ravikant of AngelList

DROdio

Web

2010

Give Society What It Doesn't Know How to Get

Naval Ravikant

Web

March 14, 2019

Google should pull an Android on Facebook

Naval Ravikant

Web

July 7, 2011

How to Get Rich: Every Episode

Naval Ravikant

Web

June 3, 2019

Judgement Is the Decisive Skill

Naval Ravikant

Web

April 29, 2019

SHOW ALL (74)

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

A Calm Mind, a Fit Body, a House Full of Love

May 21, 2019

Accountability Means Letting People Criticize You

June 23, 2019

Arm Yourself With Specific Knowledge



March 25, 2019

Be Too Busy to “Do Coffee”

May 8, 2019

Being Ethical Is Long-term Greedy

June 26, 2019

Embrace Accountability to Get Leverage

April 11, 2019

Envy Can Be Useful, or It Can Eat You Alive

June 28, 2019

Escape Competition Through Authenticity

May 16, 2019

Eventually You Will Get What You Deserve

May 19, 2019

Example: From Laborer to Entrepreneur

April 26, 2019

Fireside Chat with Naval Ravikant - New Frontiers 2019

April 13, 2019

Free Markets Are Intrinsic to Humans

March 29, 2019

Give Society What It Doesn't Know How To Get

March 16, 2019

How to Get Rich: Every Episode

June 22, 2019

Joe Rogan Experience #1309 - Naval Ravikant

June 4, 2019

Judgment Is the Decisive Skill

April 29, 2019

Keep Redefining What You Do

May 13, 2019

Labor and Capital Are Old Leverage

April 15, 2019

Learn to Sell, Learn to Build

April 1, 2019

Live Below Your Means for Freedom



March 29, 2019

Make Abundance for the World

March 29, 2019

Make Luck Your Destiny

March 29, 2019

Making Money Isn't About Luck

March 29, 2019

Naval Ravikant Talks Entrepreneurship

May 13, 2010

Naval Ravikant: EHF New Zealand Interview

April 13, 2019

SHOW ALL (46)

Companies

Company
CEO
Location
Products/Services

AngelList



San Francisco



Vault12



Mountain View



References