What is Spearhead?
Spearhead gives founders their first fund and teaches them the craft of angel investing. Founders get capital, mentorship from leading angels and access to a community of elite alumni.
Why should I apply?
Entrepreneurship is a career that goes from founding startups to investing in them. You may start one or two companies over your career—but you can invest for a lifetime.
Most founders invest in companies they’re already helping, so they get compensated for their time and align incentives. Founders also get better at running their company after sitting on the other side of the table.
Who should apply?
You should be:
- A current founder of a technology company with deep knowledge of your market; the typical founder has raised a Series Seed or later from notable VCs
- Spearhead is focused on founders in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, and their surrounding areas—but we will consider exceptional founders from other cities
- Passionate about learning the craft of angel investing and helping other founders
We’re particularly interested in technical founders who have access to compelling early-stage companies due to their reputation and expertise.
What’s the time commitment?
The time commitment is about the same as taking a board seat at another company. There’s no pressure to invest—you can invest at your own pace and remain focused on your own company. Most participants invest in companies they’re already helping.
How is Spearhead different from scout programs?
Spearhead puts you in the investing business with a fund of your own. You can also invite other investors—including venture firms—to invest in your fund.
VC firms, on the other hand, use scout programs to generate dealflow. Typically all the capital comes from the venture firm, investments require the firm’s approval, and follow-ons must come from the firm.
In a scout program, you work for VCs. In Spearhead, VCs work for you, providing capital and mentorship to put you in the venture business.
Is Spearhead free to join?
Spearhead is free to join—there are no fees of any kind. If you are an accredited investor with enough capital, we suggest you invest in your fund to align incentives.
Who is in Spearhead?
The first four cohorts of Spearhead include 68 founders. Together, these companies are worth over $75B, and 17 of them are unicorns. The companies include Near Protocol, Neuralink, Segment, OpenDoor, PillPack, Shippo, Rippling, Twist Bioscience, Scale, Sourcegraph and Vercel.
Who is on the Spearhead team?
Jeff Fagnan and Naval Ravikant founded Spearhead in 2018 to democratize angel investing. AngelList provides legal and back-office services for the Spearhead funds.
What are the terms of this site?
Please see the Terms.
When is the application deadline?
Applications for Spearhead Cohort 5 are closed. Sign up to be notified when applications open in 2022.
How many people will be selected?
Spearhead typically accepts 10-15 people in each cohort.
Do I need to be an accredited investor?
You do not need to be accredited to participate in Spearhead. If you are an accredited investor with enough capital, we suggest you invest in your fund to align incentives.
Do I need investment experience?
You don’t need investing experience, but you should have access to high-quality, early-stage dealflow. We’ll teach you how to invest.
Can I have other jobs while participating in Spearhead?
You should have a full-time position as a founder of a company. You can invest at your own pace and remain focused on your company. Most participants invest in companies they’re already helping.
Can I apply if I live outside the United States?
Spearhead is focused on founders in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, and their surrounding areas—but we will consider exceptional founders in other cities.
If I am already a scout for a VC firm, can I still apply?
Yes. We can help you determine if your scout program is compatible with Spearhead. You can also invite VC firms to invest in your fund.
If I am not selected can I apply again?
If you are not selected for Cohort 5, you can apply to Cohort 6 in 2022. Sign up to be notified when applications open in 2022.
What is the process after I apply?
We will review your application and, if you are a fit, we will invite you for an interview.
Will I need to travel for the interview?
No, we are conducting interviews remotely.
When will I find out if I am accepted?
We will let you know if you have been accepted approximately three weeks after your interview.
When will programming for Cohort 5 start?
Programming will start in January 2022. There is minimal programming because founders are busy running their own companies. They don’t have time for lectures or get-togethers, nor do they learn much from them. You will learn by making investments and getting real-time feedback from the Spearhead team.
How much capital do I receive?
Each founder starts with a $2M fund, with a first tranche of $1M. After investing the first tranche, you will receive a second tranche of $1M, if you have adhered to the contract and investing guidelines.
A few founders who make great investments will receive a second fund up to $10M. There’s also capital available for follow-ons in breakout companies in your portfolio.
What do I earn on the fund?
You earn carry on the fund, which means you get a share of the fund’s profit.
Can I raise money from other sources?
Yes. You can invite other investors—for example, friends, family, VC firms, LPs—to invest in your fund. They must be accredited investors.
What types of companies should I invest in?
See the investing guidelines.
How often must I update Spearhead on the portfolio?
We will discuss your portfolio once a quarter—on the phone or in person.
Will my Spearhead investments be made public?
Your investments will not be made public unless you announce them publicly. The Spearhead team, Spearhead’s investors and any other investors in your fund will know about your investments and will be subject to non-disclosure agreements.
Can I invest in deals with other founders in my cohort?
We discourage you from co-investing with founders in your cohort unless you share domain expertise or you both know the team well.
Can I take advisory shares in companies where I invest?
In the rare case that you take advisory shares, they should generally be pledged to your fund.
What am I agreeing to by joining Spearhead?
You agree to the Spearhead contract. You also agree to not “cherry-pick,” which means that you will make all your tech investments from your Spearhead fund while it has capital.
Will I be listed publicly as a participant of Spearhead?
Some participants are disclosed. We can make exceptions as needed.
How will I know if I met expectations for another tranche of funding?
The primary criteria is investing in high quality pre-seed and seed companies in your domain or in teams you know well. Your portfolio should have an average pre-money valuation below $15M. We will discuss further on our quarterly calls.