Trending On AngelList: Tactics & Results

At this point AngelList is fairly pervasive in the startup/angel ecosystem but not much tactical knowledge is being shared about (1) how to get attention there and (2) results. I’ll lay out the details of our AngelList experience in this post.



  • Flex your network
  • Timing is really important



  • #1 Trending Startup for a week
  • 10 investor/partner intros



It’s best to hold off on creating an AngelList profile until you are ready to begin talking to investors. Others have advised that you shouldn’t join AngelList until you have 30% – 50% of your round committed. It’s good for perception and fueling urgency. We had about 30% committed.

You can go in and create your profile at any time, just be sure to leave your page UNPUBLISHED for now.

There are some other articles that give pretty good advice about to trick out your profile, so I won’t cover that much.


Getting Attention
The main way to reach new people on AngelList is by becoming a ‘Trending Startup’. Trending startups appear throughout the site:

  1. On
  2. In the sidebar
  3. In a weekly mass email (every Monday)

You become ‘trending’ by having a lot of action in a short amount of time. The goal is to seed this activity from your own network until your profile gets on the trending list and starts spreading organically. Here’s how:

Levers to Pull
There are a several “levers” you can pull on AngelList that add to your momemtum to trend.

  1. Referrer
    This is the person who ‘referred’ you to AngelList. You only get one Referrer. This should be the most influential (on AngelList) non-investor you know.
  2. References
    These are people who would ‘vouch’ for you or your company. There’s no limit to the number of references you can have, but 3 to 10 is a good amount. These should also be influential non-investors.
  3. Advisors
    Your company’s advisors (duh).
  4. Previous investors
    You company’s previous investors (double duh).
    People that follow your company on AngelList. The more the better.


Prep For The Push

Timing is really important as you’ll see. So you want to do some good prep before hand.

We started out by making a spreadsheet of EVERYBODY we personally know that has an AngelList profile. Put everybody on there.

To find people you know on AngelList:

  • Connect your LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook accounts:
  • Look through your personal AngelList followers
  • Do an AngelList search for your city. You’ll then be able to filter by ‘Investors’ and ‘Followers’ to find more people you know

Once we had our list we went through and determined who would make the best Referrer and References.

At this point our list looked like this:

  • 68 total people
  • 1 that we wanted to be our Referrer
  • 5 that we wanted to have as References

You want to send out a personal(ish) email to everybody on your list. You can get a head start on this by writing the emails and saving them as drafts for now. These emails can be short but should include:

  1. A personal greeting and sentence or two.
  2. If you haven’t talked to the person in awhile, include a brief summary about what your company does.
  3. Let them know you are doing a push on AngelList and ask them to help our by following your profile and/or sharing

Here’s a sample of text that we sent:

Hey ####,

How are things going with ####? I’m going to be in the Bay Area next week. It’d be cool to grab a drink.

I’m not sure if I told you about our new company, Glider (formerly named Superbly). It’s basically a document collaboration platform to help companies streamline their contract process. Cruising along pretty well.

Would you mind following our profile on AngelList? We’re trying to add a bunch of followers so we can become a trending startup on there:

What’s your schedule like next week?



Blitz Time

Step 1: Send an email to the person who you want to be your Referrer. Wait to hear back from them.

Step 2: Send emails to the people you want to be References and ask if they are willing. Wait to hear back from (most of) them.

Step 3: Publish your profile

Step 4: Add your Referrer and References to your AngelList profile

Step 5: Add your Advisors and Previous Investors to your AngelList profile

Step 6: Send individual emails out to everybody else on your spreadsheet asking them to follow/share your profile.

Step 7: Use the ‘Share’ button your AngelList profile to share

Step 8: Post on all your personal and company social networks (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn) asking for follows on your AngelList profile

Step 9: Post to all mailing lists that you’re a part of that have high numbers of AngelList users.

Each time somebody follows you or is added as a referrer/advisor/reference/etc it show up on the universal activity stream and in the user’s activity stream.

Our Blitz

  1. Got Alex Payne as our referrer.
  2. Sent emails to our references (Noah Kagan, Matt Shobe, Mat Ellis, Rick Turoczy, Blake Robinson).
  3. Sent personalized direct emails to 60+ of our contacts who we knew had AngelList profiles and asked them to Follow us and/or Share our profile.
  4. Sent out an email to the Portland Founders email list asking for advice on how to best take advantage of AngelList and asking for follows.
  5. Sent out an email to the Portland Seed Fund alumni list asking for follows & shares.
  6. Posted on all our personal and company social networks (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn).


Day 1:

  • Published our profile and blitzed all Steps 1 – 9
  • Verified our referrer and references
  • Got about 60 followers on our profile
  • Reached #5 on the Trending list
Trending On AngelList: Tactics & Results

Day 2:

  • Organic followers and attention began to take over
  • Got to #1 trending with about 120 followers
Trending On AngelList: Tactics & Results

Day 3-7:

  • Remained in the #1 spot accumulating about 250 followers

Day 8:

  • Still listed #1 and featured at the top of the weekly AngelList Trending Startups email

Day 9-15:

  • Finally unseated from the #1 spot and fell to #7 by Day 15 (294 followers)


  • 10 investor intros
  • #1 trending startup for a entire week
  • #1 in the weekly email
  • One of the biggest results was the social proof. During investor meetings there was definitely a sense of urgency they wanted to know who else we were talking too.



Becoming a Trending Startup on AngelList is very doable, but it takes a concerted effort. This is just one data point, but I’ve been giving this advice for the past couple of months. In fact, LeanPlum was the #1 Trending Startup all of last week having followed most of this method.

Trending On AngelList: Tactics & Results

So, do you have any AngelList secrets? I’d love to hear your results!

You can expect to see new posts here each week. Be sure to check back often or subscribe by RSS.

Author: Justin Thiele

I do product stuff (development and product management) and sometimes marketing at startups. I also work on a ton of hobby projects.

12 thoughts on “Trending On AngelList: Tactics & Results”

  1. Really great write-up. Learned a lot. We actually just started trending on AngelList earlier today but this filled me in on a lot of details in the process that I wasn’t clear on! Thanks a lot

  2. Can’t thank you enough for this article! Being a newcomer into this Angel funding stuff, I’m totally lost and reading as much as I can. But your article goes right to the point!

  3. Thank you for this terrific information. I am always trying to build my AngelList presence and I will definitely put these tips to work. It would be great to see follow-up articles that add to the knowledge base here. AngelList and other fundraising sites change their formats periodically, so references to new functions will help.

  4. I loved your stuff Justin!! Absolutely good job. And to be honest you inspired me. So thank you.

    One quick question. What about if we had published in our beta and now we are getting ready for the big launch, what effect would that have on our efforts? Do you think we still do have a chance for organic jump or not?


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