Stonks Y Combinator Access Fund Portfolio Announcement
We’re thrilled to announce the Stonks YC S22 Access Fund portfolio. It has been an incredible experience and we plan to do more YC Access Funds like this in the future.
Here's a quick rundown of what you'll find below:
- The Portfolio: Who we invested in with links
- The Who: The team behind the fund
- The What: Specifics on the fund strategy itself
- The How: An explanation of how we deployed the fund
- The Why: Why we did all this in the first place
Before we dive in - I want to thank our LPs for making this possible. We raised on a short timeline and it was awesome to see the tremendous amount of interest roll in. One LP I’d like to point out specifically is Sweater Ventures, who by being involved here has also opened up this unique opportunity to unaccredited investors. Sweater is no stranger to great content and they’ve put together their own announcement for you to see here. We look forward to a continued partnership towards the shared vision of more transparent and accessible private markets.
If you’d like to be involved in our next YC Access Fund please fill out this form. We will prioritize returning investors, but are always looking to expand the Stonks investor network.
Without further ado - below you’ll find a comprehensive list of portfolio companies with short descriptions and relevant links. Further down I’ll also explain a bit more about the who, what, how, and why behind the fund.
We invested $50K into each of the companies you see below through the Stonks YC S22 Access Fund that was created specifically for this batch. We
Arranged Alphabetically: Company Name (linked to website) - Company OneLiner (linked to YC company profile page)
AccessOwl - SaaS account provisioning & permissioning for any tool
AiPrise - Identity Verification & KYC Orchestration Platform
Array Labs - We're building satellites to create a real-time 3D map of the world
Boostly - The SMS marketing platform for restaurants
Cambio - Mobile app helping financially responsible consumers repair bad credit
Clinikally - India's Telemedicine Platform & Online Pharmacy for Dermatology Care
CodeCrafters - Programming courses for experienced engineers
Delight - The dating app where you date only one person at a time
Derisk - Key custody software that secures crypto assets for businesses
Dr. Treat - One Medical for pets
Evoly - Smart electric & water meters as a service
Fetii - Transport groups and businesses together, on-demand
FoodCourt - Virtual Restaurants & Stores for Africa
Fynn - SoFi for trade students
Garage Mobility - Auto parts marketplace for Africa
Kamion - Uber for Trucks for Turkey
Kashin - Square for micro-merchants in LATAM
Knowtex - Making doctors 2x more efficient with AI note-taking & charge capture
Landeed - India's fastest property title search engine
Lumo - Residential building manager in Europe with automated operations
Metriport - Open-source universal API for healthcare data
Momentu - Corporate mental health platform for LATAM
Oneleet - Pentesting that combines AI with human expertise
Pilot AI - Turns your sales calls into CRM data, automatically
Pulppo - Shopify for Real Estate Agents in LATAM
Rever - Return in 2 clicks and get refunded in 24 hours
Roforco - Game studio that creates consistent hits
Shinkei Systems - Fish processing robotics to quadruple fisher and farmer revenues
Taro - Premium membership for ambitious software engineers
Tranch - Buy Now Pay Later for B2B SaaS and Services
TrueBiz - Instant Background Checks for Businesses
Ult - Uber for gamers (still stealthy)
For anyone tuning in for the first time. At Stonks, we’re focused on building the absolute best demo day experience in the world. We host nearly 200 demo days a year with partners like 500 Global, Techstars, Tachyon & others. Over 100 Unicorns have come from these partners’ demo days in the past — startups like Uber, Dropbox, Canva, Sendgrid, Carta, and Paypal. Since launching in September of last year we have facilitated more than $1B of investor interest from individual Angels and Venture Capitalists. There are now over 50,000 people signed up for Stonks with roughly 25K Accredited Investors, 5K VCs, and 10K Founders.
Stonks was founded by Ali Moiz who is a Silicon Valley Veteran with two exits, Peanut Labs (acquited by Dynata) and StreamLabs (acquired by Logitech), and over 70 angel investments including AngelList, Gumroad, and Jar. With Ali at the helm, Stonks raised $15M from investors such as a16z, 500 Global, Yes VC and Matrix Partners.
Ali led the YC S22 Access Fund and I jumped at the chance to execute on the idea. My name is Adam Hardej and I’m the Head of Private Markets here at Stonks as well as a co-lead on this Access Fund. Before Stonks, I was an Economics major at Princeton where I thought I was going to be a banker, but started my first business instead. From there, I graduated, got rejected from YC, worked on that business full time anyways, sold my stake to my partner (do not recommend as it was a messy process), co-founded OnePager, and was acquired by Stonks. This marks my first time on the other side of the table and I can’t say enough great things about this group of founders.
Last, but absolutely not least, none of this would have been possible without Eric “fastest e-signature in the west” Swanson on the legal side for always keeping us on track, Adam “how can I be helpful” Valenta for running a buttery smooth process with LPs, and Tom “a wise man once said” White for advising on all of the above.
The Stonks YC S22 Access Fund is a $2M fund that deployed $50K checks into the most recent Y Combinator (“YC”) Cohort. Since 2005, YC has brought together biannual cohorts of startups in order to support talented founders through funding and mentorship. To date, it has funded over 3,500 startups, assembled more than 9,000 founders, and attained a collective of companies with a combined valuation nearing $1T. It’s no secret that YC has claimed its place as one of the most competitive and successful accelerator programs for early stage founders.
Given YC’s prominence, investing in a subset of companies from YC demo day has been a common strategy for a while. You will see traditional funds like Soma Capital and Goodwater Capital invest broadly across batches as well as a handful of access funds set up for each batch run on platforms like AngelList. Deployment strategies for each of these funds vary, but can generally be characterized as taking an index approach by investing multiple small checks rather than fewer larger ones.
As mentioned above, YC access funds aren’t new and there are a variety of options available for this strategy as an investor. What is new is that we didn’t charge any fees and we may have broken the land speed record for speed-to-close on our investments.
No fees was an easy one. No carried interest. No management fees. Just the legal setup cost. We’re a startup ourselves with founders and investors as two key stakeholders on our platform. For our investors, this was a straightforward way for us to bring them value. By investing with Stonks they were able to avoid fees. For founders, it’s a bit more nuanced. These are not founders that were active on Stonks already, but by investing in the best founders we can find fresh out of YC we’re able to pull together a group of target customers. These are founders we want to build for and by investing in them we’re able to get closer to their process in order to better understand their needs (more on that later).
Land Speed Record
The land speed record for speed-to-close with founders isn’t something we set out for, but is the byproduct of wanting to run as founder-friendly of a process as possible. Here’s how we did it:
- We made our investment decisions based on our own research beforehand and the Demo Day pitches. Small checks (ours) need to be especially mindful of founder time in order to access the best deals.
- We handled the process completely asynchronously if the founders preferred. This was almost always the case. In case of interest, I included the actual email copy of our modus operandi below.
- We stayed on top of the closing process and wired funds to founders immediately. This sounds obvious, but is actually a differentiator for founders who are juggling a lot of new investors.
- Our median Turn Around Time (“TAT”) from introduction to completion (signed and wired) was 3 days. Our fastest TAT was less than 24 hours.
- We have received the top BookFace investor rating. BookFace is Yelp for investors as rated by YC founders (only YC founders can access it).
- Generally founders have been very complimentary of our process and speed when we have requested feedback. I’ve included a few of those quotes below.
The offer email:
Hi Everyone - Super excited to get connected and congrats on an awesome Demo Day!
We’d love to invest $50K and we’re happy to follow whichever terms have already been set.
As a quick intro, my name is Adam Hardej and I’m the Head of Private Markets here at Stonks. I help run our funds as well some of our Stonks events and investor relations. Adam Valenta (lots of Adams) is an associate and will help with ops on all this.
A few different flavors of how we can proceed:
Speedy - Just let us know where to sign and send the money. We’ll copy Eric from our legal team and get everything finalized from there.
Asynchronous - Review the information about us included below and ask any questions you might have by responding here. We’ll follow up quickly with answers and can figure it out from there.
Classic - Schedule a time to jump on a call to say hi and talk through everything with us. You can just send us a calendar link and we’ll make it work.
We'd love to get on a call, but we also know that this is a super busy time for you and we're a small check. We want to do this in whichever way is easiest for you. We’re confident that our value-add to cap-table-space ratio is fantastic and we hope you’ll let us join you on this journey :)
Check out the extra information below and let me know what you think!
I think a lot of this was included in Ali’s profile on YC so you may have already seen it, but here’s some extra info on what we’re up to.
- “Stonks has been the fastest-moving investor on our cap table, the ideal investor. They move quickly, and then offer support from their network and distribution. We love having Stonks on our cap table as we build!” - Rahul Pandey, Taro
- “Easy, simple and straightforward process in working with the Stonks team. Love how founder friendly Stonks is with their process and they understand the time scarcity most founders face, would highly recommend!” - Blesson Abraham, Cambio
“This was awesome! Smoothest process I've run as you can imagine. Also, appreciate you brainstorming about potential fits with us. Hope we can work together again and that you continue for the sake of the other founders!” - Saif Khawaja, Shinkei Systems
First thing to say is that we are not a fund by trade. Stonks is a venture-backed startup that serves some of the best accelerators, founders, and VCs in the world with the larger goal of making private markets less private.
So, what’s the point of running a no-fee fund?
Given our goal, it’s incredibly important for us to deeply understand the founder process and to be as close as possible to the best founders we can find. What we don’t earn in fees we more than make up for in insight . By investing in founders fresh out of a YC we buy a front row ticket to their post-demo day experience. We hear about what fundraising is really like and look to be on the shortlist for asks of all kinds. Ultimately, we believe that by listening closely to these founders we will more intimately understand what the best founders actually need. This will help guide what we’re building and is not dissimilar from classic “design partner” strategies on the enterprise side.
Ok, but why YC specifically? Two reasons:
- Investors want access to YC and we can give it to them.
- Given the attention YC founders get both within the program and from the larger market they are uniquely aware of the latest and greatest tools for founders.
YC has always made a point of providing best-in-class resources to founders. From building their own internal networking tool (BookFace) to the Startup Library to their in-house live demo day platform. On top of the tools they provide directly, the attention they receive during the program and then from the wider market after demo day is such that they’re generally on the inside track when it comes to the best new tools available to them. This is extremely important to us as we look to build something new.
Put simply, if YC founders are having trouble with something and their demand has yet to be met, it likely indicates a real need in the wider market.
If you’re interested in learning more about what we’re up to here at Stonks, head over to the website here, or check out our blog, or subscribe to our newsletter, or watch our YouTube channel, or listen to our podcasts… we’re everywhere :)
And a final plug: If you’d like to be involved in our next YC Access Fund, please fill out this form.
Thanks for reading! We’re always looking for feedback and if there’s anything you think we’re missing or can do better please let us know.
To many more,