AngelList Acquires Product Hunt to Form a Startup Discovery Powerhouse

December 1, 2016, 4:00 PM UTC
Product Hunt screenshot August 21 2014
Product Hunt screenshot August 21 2014

Product Hunt, an online community of tech product enthusiasts, is no longer going at it alone.

On Thursday, the three-year-old San Francisco startup said it is being acquired by AngelList, a popular crowdfunding platform for startups and angel investors. Product Hunt declined to share financial terms of the deal, but it will continue to operate on its own as it does today.

Though Product Hunt is still a very young startup, it’s not hard to see why it made the move to sell to AngelList. Product Hunt debuted three years ago, almost to the day—founder Ryan Hoover and a friend, Nathan Bashaw, put together the original version of the website during the Thanksgiving weekend. Hoover had initially experimenting with sharing apps and other tech products with a small group of friends via email newsletters. The site quickly grew in reputation among Silicon Valley insiders and tech enthusiasts everywhere as a place to share and find new or interesting apps, gadgets, and tech tools. It even had a small job board, which was Product Hunt’s first source of revenue.

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Since then, Product Hunt has expanded to include other categories such as games, books, and podcasts as well as question-and-answer sessions with tech industry bigwigs.

AngelList, meanwhile, which began in 2010 as an online introduction board for startup looking for seed funding, has grown into a veritable engine for startup job recruiting, networking, and crowdfunding. AngelList pushed into the latter in 2012 when it let startups raise seed money from angel investors through its website. By the following year, it introduced the ability for well-established angel investors to lead so-called “syndicated” investments, or pools of committed capital from other individual investors on a deal-by-deal basis.

But both serve as meeting grounds for folks and companies building tech products, and others interested in using and even investing in those products. Just six months after Product Hunt’s debut, SV Angel invested in a startup it noticed on the site.

AngelList co-founder and CEO Naval Ravikant is also an investor in Product Hunt.

Up next, we’ll likely to see a big push into monetization from Product Hunt. The startup recently began to dabble with revenue models, such as making it easier for visitors to purchase products they find on the site and taking a small cut from the proceeds. Last month, Hoover told business news site Business Insider that it’s gearing up to debut its first significant revenue-generating source in next year’s first quarter. He didn’t provide much detail, but pointed to his website’s enthusiastic audience that’s actively looking to download and try new apps and tools.

To date, Product Hunt has raised roughly $7.2 million in funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, and Ashton Kutcher’s A-Grade Investments. In the summer of 2014, it participated in Y Combinator’s startup accelerator program.

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