After deploying over $1 million of my own conviction into some pretty awesome companies, I've decided to share that access with people outside of my personal algorithm.
I'm raising my first venture fund, Trust Fund, and have reserved up to $1 million to allow a more diverse set of founders, operators, and smaller-check investors to join as limited partners with check sizes ranging from $2K to $20K.
Trust Fund is focused on early stage consumer businesses that make people's work and personal lives better. Think: cheaper, faster, richer, healthier, more fun, more connected, more productive, more sustainable.
We've begun deploying capital as we fundraise, and just wrote our *first* seed check into a creative collaboration platform that's yet to be announced (thanks for the intro, Alexis Ohanian!)
Our LPs... so far
Trust Fund is backed by some brilliant folks, including Marc Andreessen, Ev Williams, Paris Hilton, Andrew Chen, Chris Dixon, Naomi Gleit, Andrew Wilkinson, Jeff Jordan, Carter Reum, Rob Hayes, Niv Dror, Sam Parr, Siqi Chen, Ryan Hoover (who pioneered the community fundraise), and others.
Now, we're cracking open access to the deal flow that comes with over a decade of meeting, networking, and forging friendships with top investors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders who share our excitement for young companies building big, game-changing businesses.
Why a community raise?
Yeah, I know. After living through pure stakeholder hell as an entrepreneur, I swore to myself I'd have as few as possible for the rest of time. Well, here I am, inviting strangers to invest in my fund.
To expand access. Through the community raise, we'll bring access to venture investing to a network of talented founders and operators, creatives and creators, marketers and product leaders who otherwise wouldn't be invited to participate in these deals.
To increase diversity. We invite all accredited investors to apply, regardless of age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or ability. It's important to get a diverse range of people on the cap tables of our companies as possible.
The strategic advantage. Our founders will have access to the LP network, who we'll occasionally tap to make intros, share expertise, help with fundraising, and recruit.
More deal flow. Our LPs will come with their own network of founders and soon-to-be-founders building interesting things we'll want to take a look at before anyone else.
It's kinda punk. Right?
How we get into deals
We're a familiar name. For better or worse, Sophia was the poster child of entrepreneurship. Because of that, many founders have followed her trajectory over the years. The smart ones know they can likely learn a lot from what worked... and didn't. Long story short, they pick up the phone.
We're one click away from pretty much everyone, have an impressive LP list, and still get invited to the occasional dinner. The rolodex runs deep (also, if you're building a personal CRM that actually works, hit us up).
We're rare. In fact, only 8% of partners at venture firms are women. That's not good, but it is good when founders realize all of their investors are Chads and they need more ladies on their cap tables.
We're resourceful. For our investment in Kindbody, we went straight to the DMs. Within a day we were connected to the founder and received allocation in a frenzied round.
How we're helpful to portfolio companies
We help founders see around corners because we've been around them. If you can name it, we've probably dealt with it. Founders have found us particularly helpful with:
Fundraising, vetting, and choosing the right investors
Knowing when to hire, who to hire, where to find them and how to close them (happy to get on a call!)
Navigating the media when they love you and when they don't
Dealing with down rounds, layoffs, and lawsuits, oh my!
Building a non-shitty culture because we've done it wrong... and right
Product feedback & strategy, from copywriting to pixel-perfection
GTM, marketing, & influencer strategy
We have a megaphone and amplify our investments. Between my 120,000 newsletter subscribers and 600k+ Instagram followers, 230,000 LinkedIn followers and 105,000 Twitter followers, Trust Fund's portfolio companies reach over 1 million people across Sophia's channels who trust her taste, are often the target demo for our companies, and are curious about what she's into.
We're connectors. Businesses are built on relationships, and one introduction can change a founder's trajectory forever. Potential investors, influencers, creative agencies, recruits, vendors, collaborators... if you can name it, we likely "know a guy".
We're brand genii. Yes, that is the plural of genius. Perhaps it's the name of your next brand.
Back to first person here...
I've got a really long bio, but the gist is that I started a direct-to-consumer fashion business in 2006 that grew to over $100 million in revenue. I then wrote a NYT Bestselling Book called #GIRLBOSS about being the unlikely community college dropout to do such a thing. It filled another whitespace, this time in the business book section, and spent 18 weeks on the list. Then Charlize Theron made a series about it for Netflix (weird!), but it got canceled after a season (relief, that was weird!). After starting and selling my second business, I've devoted my time to focus entirely on supporting early stage founders, both through Trust Fund and my online course, Business Class.
If you care about accolades, I've been on the cover of Forbes, Money, Inc., Entrepreneur, Success, and named on all the "x-age-under-x-age" lists, which, thank God I did early. Sadly, at 38 years old, I am no longer considered precocious.
You're right. It's not the best time to raise a fund. What it is a good time to do, however, is invest.
The correction has come: smart founders raising money in 2023 know that profitability is paramount. They'll be building scrappily, with economic uncertainty forcing innovation at speed. They'll optimize for the right investors over valuation or ownership as they watch overvalued startups around them raise flat rounds, down rounds, and run out of cash. It's like a Heironymous Bosch painting out there.
What we're looking for
We're looking for people that are excited to:
1. Be helpful to portfolio founders.We may ping you as they recruit, raise, go to market, and scale for strategic introduction requests.
2. Share deal flow. We have a new generation of founders to fund and can't do it without introductions.
3. Lend expertise. We value people with deep experience and knowledge in specific industries or domains.
If you want to follow along as we build an army of amazing founders, creatives, industry experts, and influencers with the Trust Fund community, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Are you a founder raising capital? Submit your pitch here.
“Sophia is a force of nature. From the moment we met her, she has been a continuous stream of positive impact – from her ideas to product feedback, connections and real talk. She was the first person we sent our Matcha Latte to and her feedback helped make it our #1 product today. Unlike most investors, she regularly checks in to see how we’re doing and whether she can genuinely be helpful. A++ investor who understands the realities of being a founder.”
"Sophia has been helpful at a high level and a low level. She rolls up her sleeves and is ready to do the work and help founders. For example, she impacted our product UX by providing actionable, direct feedback in addition to providing investor intros and key insights for our go-to-market strategy."
Trust Fund is structured as a 506(c). This requires LPs to provide proof of accreditation but enables us to talk about our raise publicly while complying with SEC regulation.
Why are you raising publicly?
The venture capital industry is opaque. To invest in a fund as an LP, you typically have to "know a guy". We want to make Trust Fund more accessible to people that may be less networked and outside our immediate community, even if this is their first fund investment.
How large will the fund be?
Trust Fund One will be a $10M fund. Our check size will be around $175K but can flex up or down depending on the opportunity. What’s most important is finding great companies with strong founding teams. From there, we determine check size on a portfolio company by portfolio company basis.
What check sizes are you accepting from LPs?
We are accepting investments above $50K. We set a low minimum so that we can partner with several amazing operators and founders. We are also capping the check size to ensure our fund remains small as we bring on several new LPs. Want to write a larger check? Email email@example.com
Will I get rich?
Venture investing is risky. It's important to know that you could lose your money.
What are the fees and carry?
Angel Funds have no up-front setup costs. Ongoing charges include administrative fees to AngelList Advisors (1% per year for up to 10 years, capped at $25K per year) and management fees to Picking Winners Management, LLC (2% per year on average for 10 years). Investors only pay carry (20%) if the fund is profitable.
How are you selecting LPs?
We have a limited number of LP spots. We're looking for people that come from different communities or professions than our own to compliment the support we provide to founders. It's important to us to onboard LPs that are genuinely motivated to get involved and support the portfolio.
Do I have to be accredited?
Yes. This is an SEC requirement. More details about accreditation here.
When are you finalizing the community raise?
We are reviewing applications over the coming weeks and will be calling capital by the end of February.
The fun fine print:
Investing in venture capital funds is inherently risky and illiquid. It involves a high degree of risk and is suitable only for sophisticated and qualified investors. There can be no assurance that any investments made will be profitable, not lose money or achieve the other intended purposes for which they are made. Investors must be prepared to bear such risks for an extended period of time. Past performance is not indicative of future returns.
This presentation does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to purchase interests in the Trust Fund (“Interests”). Any such offer or solicitation will only be made pursuant to the Private Placement Memorandum of the Fund. Information on this page is qualified in its entirety by the Limited Partnership Agreement, Private Placement Memorandum, and Subscription Agreement (the “Fund Documents”), which should be reviewed carefully prior to making an investment decision. Before making an investment, review these documents for full details regarding risks, minimum investment, fees and expenses which will be provided to those invited to invest. The fund uses AngelList Venture (“AngelList”) to provide many of its back office services. Returns are partially unrealized. In addition, returns do not reflect the deduction of fees and expenses that would otherwise be charged by a venture capital fund (which will reduce returns to investors).
Valuations are calculated as of January 11, 2023 and have not been audited. Previous investments included above are chosen on the basis of their notability and do not represent a comprehensive list of Sophia Amoruso’s angel investments. Such information is not necessarily comprehensive and investors should not consider such information to be a guarantee, projection or prediction or otherwise indicative of the possible future performance of the fund. There is no guarantee that the Trust Fund will achieve its investment objective or carry out its investment strategy. For a full list, please reach out directly. Limited Partners included above are chosen on the basis of their notability and total amount invested in the fund (and predecessor funds, as the case may be). Their inclusion above does not represent an endorsement of AngelList’s advice, analysis or other service rendered to its clients. The Interests will not be approved or disapproved by any securities regulatory authority of any state or by the Securities and Exchange Commission or by any securities regulatory authority in any other jurisdiction, nor will any such authority or commission pass on the accuracy or adequacy of this presentation. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense. The Interests will not be registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), the securities laws of any other state or the securities laws of any other jurisdiction, nor is such registration contemplated. The Interests will be offered and sold in the United States under the exemption provided by Rule 506(c) of Regulation D promulgated under the Securities Act and other exemptions of similar import in the laws of the states and jurisdictions where the Trust Fund’s offering will be made.