Among the many complaints about Silicon Valley, one of the biggest is that insiders have access to investors that outsiders lack.
VentureFund.io, a venture fund with an interesting approach to finding startups to invest in, says it has a plan to help break down this barrier, and that starts with the launch of its Traction API today.
The Traction API enables startups, wherever they are based, to connect to VentureFund.io and start sharing metrics about their user traction, such as user numbers, growth, engagement, and so on. The platform comes with a dashboard that shows them how they’re doing over time and compares their growth to other startups in their category (anonymously). VentureFund.io will also use the data to give them custom tips to help them improve their metrics, such as how to increase engagement, convert paying customers, and so on.
The idea is that startups should be able to let their achievements speak for themselves when it comes to seeking funding instead of spending countless hours and resources courting investors, which is even more challenging for non-Silicon Valley insiders.
Much of VentureFund.io’s design comes from cofounder and managing partner Clarence Wooten’s background. Wooten got his start building Internet companies back in 1998, eventually selling his first, ImageCafe, for $23 million before founding Groupsite in 2006. After many years in Maryland, Wooten moved to Silicon Valley in 2011, where he saw the vast difference between being an insider and an outsider of the club.
Today, technology and tools make building a software or web product incredibly easy; so much so that investors are no longer impressed by the simple fact that a startup has built a product — they want to see which ones have been able to capture users’ attention and engagement.
“They want to see you stand out from the crowd and [see] that you’ve built traction,” Wooten told VentureBeat.
After tracking the startups on its platform over time, VentureFund.io will be able to offer investments to the ones with impressive traction numbers. Wooten declined to share any details about the fund, except that it will be “$100 million plus” and that he’s still in the middle of raising the funds.
Wooten also said that the firm might open up the platform to other investors. But at the moment, the payoff for startups using the platform seems to be the tips VentureFund.io offers, not access to large numbers of investors.
If more investors are allowed in, the tool could finally solve that very problem Silicon Valley outsiders have in accessing the area’s investors. In the meantime, VentureFund.io’s model will certainly appeal to some startups, especially those seeking to experiment with new tools and approaches to spur growth.