Among the new accelerator programs launching in 2015 in Silicon Valley was NFX Guild. Focused on marketplace and digital network startups, NFX Guild was founded by James Currier and Stan Chudnovsky who had previously worked together and invested in startups through their Ooga Labs venture. Also part of the founding team with NFX is Israeli angel investor, Gigi Levy-Weiss.
Among NFX’s differentiators is that it is an invite only accelerator, with company ‘scouts’ reviewing for possible candidates for the three month program. With the founder’s roots in both Israel and Silicon Valley, the program includes startups from both regions.
Having completed their Summer 2015 class earlier in the year, NFX is starting its Winter 2016 program. Participants are provided $120,000 in equity based funding. In addition, for the Winter 2016 round, NFX Guild has partnered with Israeli based equity crowdfunding platform, iAngels, to allow their customers to invest in the class.
Speaking with Mor Assia, Founding Partner at iAngels, she provided more information to Finance Magnates about the partnership. Assia explained that iAngels will be investing in the entire portfolio of companies participating in the round and use similar valuations to those of NFX when valuing the $120,000 in funding they provide. Open to their members, the minimum investment size to participate in the portfolio is $50,000.
Explaining the rationale behind the decision to open up investment opportunities beyond just those on their platform, Assia stated that iAngels believes it is “a unique opportunity for investors”, offering “access into deals that have been vetted by NFX partners” in one investment.
Speaking with Assia, she also addressed some of the transparency concerns brought up in a Fintech Spotlight column published earlier this month. Among the issues with the industry cited in the article are crowdfunding platforms that announce that their portfolio companies have achieved exits, but withhold details of the returns.
Assia explained that for them as well as other crowdfunding platforms, details of individual exits can be difficult to provide due to the companies involved requesting privacy in these matters. She added that the same applies when startups get funded, with very few firms ever publicizing the valuations of those deals.
In terms of their own platform, Assia explained that iAngels takes a portfolio approach, and marks to market their portfolio of companies that have raised money on the platform and provides updates of the overall valuation and return. Assia added that the goal is to be “a good investor” which is revealed through an entire portfolio and not individual exits.