Venture capitalists can They control capital, but one currency they’re always looking for is an elusive and evolving one: trade flow. Betting early on the next big startup is enough to cement a fund’s total return (and then some), and help that plucky investor make a name for himself.
This reality makes Afore Capital’s latest product launch seem even more benevolent. The venture firm, which just closed a $150 million fund in May 2022, is launching what it describes as a common app for pre-seed startup founders. Similar to the familiar undergraduate college application, a common startup application would allow founders to seamlessly pitch to multiple investors using the same basic form and pitching platform, all at once.
Here’s how it works: Afore Capital has an accelerator-like program, Afore Alpha, which offers a standard pre-seed deal to founders. The app includes questions about the founding team, pitch deck, recent wins, inspiration, and interestingly, whether the startup has applied or been interviewed on Y Combinator for the company’s internal benchmarking process.
Those who accept get a $1 million principal investment via $10 million post-money insurance, a deal that Afore says is five times the capital and five times the valuation offered by accelerators like YC and Techstars.
Now, the same founding teams that apply to the Afore program will automatically send their application to some 30 investors in the venture firm’s network. The cohort, which Afore calls 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.