Raising VC is tough. Submit your investors today to our first-check database, The TechCrunch List

Danny Crichton and Arman Tabatabai

When we announced the formation of The TechCrunch List last week, we had no idea what response we would get to our proposal for founders to recommend their “first-check” investors. While plenty of founders over the years have told us that they wanted such a database to rely on or to refer to other founders who are raising for the first time, there is always something nerve-wracking about launching a new product and waiting for feedback.

Who’s writing first checks into startups?


Well, the TechCrunch community came through, since in just a few days, we’ve already received more than 500 proposals from founders recommending VCs who wrote their first checks and who have been particularly helpful in fundraising and getting a round closed.

If you haven’t submitted a recommendation, please help us using the form linked here.

The short survey takes five minutes, and could save founders dozens of hours armed with the right intel. Our editorial team is carefully processing these submissions to ensure their veracity and accuracy, and the more data points we have, the better the List can be for founders.

We’ve gotten quite a few questions about this new initiative, so we wanted to answer some common queries.

First check into each round: We want to know who wrote the first check that helped catalyze a round at each stage of a startup. So it’s okay to submit a name for each round.

Only one recommendation per early-stage round: We are holding the line on only allowing one name per round though. We realize that party rounds are not uncommon at the angel and seed stages, but a list of 30 people who all “led” a round is precisely what we are trying to avoid with the List. So keep the recommendations to one name, please, or if you can’t, it’s best not to recommend anyone at all.

Deadline: There is no single deadline. We intend to publish a first draft of the list in the next two-three weeks, so earlier submissions are more likely to be processed in time for the draft list. Our goal with The TechCrunch List is to make it an up-to-date and living product, and so we intend to update it regularly with new information as we learn it. So it’s a rolling deadline.

Founders only: While we certainly appreciate VCs offering to humbly submit their own names for consideration, we really want to hear from the founders themselves who did the fundraise. Feel free to reach out to your founders to submit — many firms have already done so if our early data is any indication.

People not firms: We are obsessed about moving beyond firm brand names and instead identifying individual partners on recommendations, since ultimately, founders work with a person and not a brand.

Weighting: We’ve been asked how we are “weighting” the submissions. The simple answer is that we are (mostly) not weighting them. In addition to fact-checking and verifying each submission, our main consideration is a basic assessment of a startup’s quality — what was the size of the round, has it raised any follow-on financing and any other public displays of performance. The TechCrunch List isn’t assessing investor quality (there are plenty of other lists in our industry for that), but rather assessing the willingness of an investor to write a “first check.”

Keep submitting those names, and reach out to us if you have any questions.

How we’re rebuilding the VC industry


More From

  • LA-based Replicated adds former GitLab head of product as its chief product officer

    Replicated, the Los Angeles-based company pitching monitoring and management services for Kubernetes-based applications, has managed to bring on the former head of product of the $2.75 billion-valued programming giant GitLab as its new chief product officer. Mark Pundsack is joining the company as it moves to scale its business. At GitLab, Pundsack saw the company grow from 70 employees to 1,300 as it scaled its business through its on-premise offerings.

  • HBO Max is making a Gotham City police series with the director of 'The Batman'

    HBO Max, the WarnerMedia-owned streaming service that launched in May, announced today that it has made a series commitment to an untitled TV show tied to the movie "The Batman" (currently scheduled for release in 2021). The show will be set in the Gotham City police department, with a creative team that includes Matt Reeves, the movie's co-writer and director, along with "Boardwalk Empire" creator Terence Winter. This sounds like familiar territory — the police department of a city overrun by colorful criminals was probably perhaps best explored in the "Gotham Central" comics series (written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka and drawn by Michael Lark), but it was also the focus of the recent (bad) Fox TV show "Gotham."

  • Rackspace preps IPO after going private in 2016 for $4.3B

    After going private in 2016 after accepting a $32 per share, or $4.3 billion, price from Apollo Global Management, Rackspace is looking once again to the public markets. First going public in 2008, Rackspace is taking second aim at a public offering around 12 years after its initial debut. The company describes its business as a "multicloud technology services" vendor, helping its customers "design, build and operate" cloud environments.

  • Fringe pitches a monthly stipend for app purchases and subscriptions as the newest employee benefit

    Fringe is a new company pitching employers on a service offering lifestyle benefits for their employees in addition to, or instead of, more traditional benefits packages. "We didn't think it made sense that employees need to be sick, disabled, dead or 65+ to benefit from their benefits," wrote Fringe chief executive Jordan Peace, in an email. The Richmond, Virginia-based company was founded by five college friends from Virginia Tech rounded up by Peace and Jason Murray, who serves as the company's head of Strategy and Finance.