Identifying Top Startups – Crowd-Powered Venture Capital

Ezra Roizen · October 30, 2015 · Short URL:

Announcing the Vator Investment Club

Vator has historically been a great source of startups for institutional venture investors.  At long-last, we’ve decided to take the logical next step and enable our community to invest in great new companies through the Vator Investment Club.

Bambi founded Vator in 2007, with a mission to identify world-changing startups. That goal has never changed. As the first social network for entrepreneurs, we’ve been fortunate to have built a vibrant community of founders, investors, and enablers.

Vator’s startup competitions are the flagship of a multi-channel, crowd-powered, startup filtering process, whereby Vator is able to use first its substantial community, and second its network of category experts to identify companies working on particularly novel innovations.

The roughly 175 finalists for Vator’s startup competitions, which include companies such as Thumbtack, Udemy, DogVacay, Pokitdok and Apartment List, have gone on to raise collectively over $650,000,000 in follow-on Venture Capital, after being selected by Vator.  Over the years, Vator members have come to refer to the Splash events as a launch pad for startups, much like an accelerator’s “Demo Day,” though it doesn’t require any startups to “launch” on stage. 

Indeed, Bambi has increasingly worked closely with the startups, much like a mentor and advisor.  

Vator has always straddled itself between media and investing. The creation of Vator, after all, was to help Bambi – then a journalist – filter through the hundreds of startup pitches she received. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the reason Peter Thiel invested in Vator was for that very purpose: to help investors filter the many deals they saw. It is this similarity – evaluating startups and market opportunities – that bridge what tech journalists and investors do. And it’s always been part of Vator’s DNA.

Now Vator is starting to catch its stride.  Vator’s brand and reach only continue to grow.  Vator Splash events are considered some of the best startup tech events in the world. Vator’s annual VC conference Post Seed (formerly Venture Shift), in partnership with Bullpen Capital and Venture51, is seen as the top venture conference, and Vator’s platform now sees thousands of startups and investors sign up each year.

On the investment side, our primary strategy is to invest a few hundred thousand (typically $150,000 to $500,000) into rounds of $1,000,000 to $10,000,000, alongside institutional venture capital firms, and notable angel investors. 

Through many years of working with startups, and selecting them for the Splash events, we’ve concluded that our sweet spot are companies that already have a product and some meaningful consumption and/or engagement.  

On the investment club side, we are looking to keep the investment hurdle low, and enable club members to build a portfolio of startup investments.  We ask each club member to make a commitment for the number of investments they would like to make each year (minimum of four), and the minimum investment amount they would like to reserve for each investment (minimum of $2,500 per investment).  So, the minimum pledge is just $10,000 per year (4 investments of $2,500 each)!

There is no money due when you join the club and no obligation to invest. You are free to stop making new investments at any time.  The one thing we ask is that you elect to invest in at least one in three investment opportunities offered by the club.  It’s important that Vator be a reliable source of capital, and as such, we need active club members!  For now, the Vator Investment Club is only open to accredited investors, but someday we hope it can be opened to all investors.

If you would like to invest with the Vator Investment Club, please send us an email at and we’ll send you a link where you can join online.

We’re looking forward to having you in the club.  Be part of the innovation community!

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Ezra Roizen

Advisor-to and commenter-on emerging ventures

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

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Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.